I was bummed that unfavorable weather prevented my hot air balloon ride in Sedona, but I wasn’t willing to throw that item off the list in favor of something easier to check off. Sure it was a setback, but this was something I could and would do. For years I had wanted to experience a balloon ride, perhaps even ending up in the Land of Oz. Hell, I would have been excited for a trip down a yellow brick road.
It’s fair to say that I love wine. Though I’m by no means a wine snob and my palate rarely detects the “subtle notes of cherry/hickory/peach/etc,” I do enjoy celebrating the return of the weekend with a bottle. Or two. Whether it be a pinot grigio on a warm afternoon or a cabernet sauvignon on a stormy night, those fermented grapes are darn delicious and have been an integral part of many a fun night or heartfelt chat. And more than one game of Guitar Hero has been played with my mom while sipping vino.
When coming up with my 30-before-30 list, I knew I wanted to incorporate some time in wine country. Luckily, California has quite a few wine countries to choose from. I toyed with the idea of going up to Napa or Sonoma, but those proved to be too far away for a weekend. I briefly entertained the idea of going to Temecula or Paso Robles, but neither panned out. So I ended up revisiting the old standby: Santa Ynez Valley. Though I didn’t spend a complete weekend there, I figure one overnight plus another full day more than count for checking the item off my list.
We’ve been experiencing a bit of a heat wave here in Southern California. Not exactly feeling like winter when it’s too warm to wear sweaters and boots. It was noted that my hometown was the hottest place in the country last week (take that Florida!) and I for one am eager for things to cool down. Christmas didn’t quite feel like Christmas with the warm Santa Ana winds rattling through the house making it necessary to run the air conditioner all day. Nevertheless, this weather makes for perfect exploring and that’s just what Karen and I did this past weekend.
When we drove up to Santa Cruz to visit Rose in September, part of our journey included passing through Santa Barbara’s wine country. It was there that we decided we needed to plan a weekend and come back for some tastings, our own PG-version of Sideways, which we had every intention of watching the night before, but we were so busy chatting and scouring for discounts on Groupon that we didn’t get around to it. Nevertheless, after a breakfast of eggs and bacon made by yours truly, we settled on Los Olivos with Groupons for two tastings and the planless plan to just see where the day took us.