Wine Country Shenanigans - Day 1

November 7th, 2013

There are so many reasons this trip may implode.  And they're all to do with me.

It doesn't help that I've been blessed with the Demon Cold.  This little bastard showed up on Sunday afternoon and has been killing me slowly all week.  I mean, I stayed home for work on Monday.  DayQuil and NyQuil have been my constant companions over the past few days and nights.  And I've had no appetite to speak of.  So, yeah.  Let's go to Napa.

I also seem to have thrown my back out this morning.  Or I think that's the case as I'm dealing with some sciatica pains shooting up my butt cheek(s).

It also doesn't help that one week from today, I'll be on a flight somewhere else.  Kind of a big deal trip.

I'm an idiot.

But, Napa.  And Mom needs time away.  So...let's do this.

The troubles didn't entirely stop with my Demon Cold.  Our flight left O'Hare at 6am.  Which means we leave the house by 330a.  Which means I wake up...just so early.  When you are already functioning at less than 50%, this is not a good start.  But I soldiered on with little whining (though quite a lot of nasal dripage).

Sadly, we didn't fly to SFO with American.  It was a United trip.  And...this experience is not going to make me give up my One World Gold status for Star Alliance.  The security in Terminal 1 was disappointingly long and obnoxious.  It didn't help that the entire 7th grade class from some school was in the line in front of us.  Sure, it was early in the morning, but there were few workers and only one area to funnel through.  The guy behind us said to someone else, "This is normal for United.  It's always awful."  

Early morning, the only thing we want is to find some food (McDonalds) and get on the flight.  I'm not sure what it is about United, but it was very sardine-y in this flying metal tube.  The seats were just a smidge too narrow.  There was something just "off" about them.  And there's not a thing you can do about that.  You're stuck for 4 hours and 18 minutes, so suck it up.

As we've done before, we are part of a guided group.  And as it turns out, we were the only ones coming from Chicago.  And out flight landed first.  So we made our way to the luggage area and waited to see someone from our group.  We found our guy and he said the later flight got in an hour early, but the earlier flight was going to be an hour late.  And we had one bus.  So we hung at the airport for a little longer than we'd expected.  I had plans for lunch that closed at 2p, so...chop chop, JFK flyers.  Chop chop.

Turns out I should have wanted to stay at the airport for longer.  Mom and I made it on the bus first (hey, we'd been there longer than anyone else).  And I proceeded to show her pictures online of whatever.  The bus is moving along at a good clip, when I realize my fatal error.  Focusing on my iPhone.

I'm already dealing with the Demon Cold.  And I've been up for forever.  And my back hurts.  So let's just add a bout of motion sickness to the list.  With a splash of a migraine in for good measure.  Seriously.  I'd have loved to take in the scenery like everyone else, but it was too busy sucking down water and Cheez-Its with my eyes cloed, desperately trying not to completely yack in a bus full of (mostly) complete strangers.  I did manage to keep everything down and was more than happy when we reached our destination.

Luckily, the first ones in seem to mean the first ones out.  Or it does when you listen to the guides when they say "Your luggage will be delivered to your room."  Everyone else sited around for their luggage to be taken off of the bus.  We took off and didn't have to wait in a line to check-in to the hotel.  Done.  Our room was ready and we dropped our crap and quickly went to get some food.

By this time, I had taken four Advil (don't judge...I'm heavily medicated at this point, but it is not a normal thing) and had been gulping some fresh air.  My queasiness was petty short lived.  Food would only make me feel better.  And really, we hadn't had any food since the Egg McMuffin at 5a Central time.  We were going to Addendum.

Behind Ad Hoc, we found a little shack surrounded by picnic tables.  You have a choice of Fried Chicken or BBQ Ribs/Pork and sides.  We decided on one of each and some drinks (I had a freaking Pineapple soda.  There needs to be more pineapple soda in this world.)  We got a sign with our name on it and went to the picnic tables to wait for our food.  This is kind of a big deal place so the people with the cameras at their tables were not a surprise.  And by big deal I mean...this is a Thomas Keller restaurant.  So he's the big deal.

The food came out in a paper bag to your table.  First, it is picture time (everyone did this...not just me).  Then, we opened the food and dug in.  The chicken was very good, but slightly lukewarm.  The potato salad was good for potato salad (I just don't like potatoes).  Coleslaw...it needed some sweetness to it.  We both thought there was something missing.  The cornbread was good.  We both really liked the pulled pork, but wished there was more.  And we were split on the BBQ ribs.  I thought they were good, but again lukewarm.  Mom didn't like the sauce and thought they could have been cooked longer.  Overall, I'm glad we went.  The food was a little pricey, but I still enjoyed it.  I would have enjoyed it a little more if the temperature was a bit hotter, but it was some dang good chicken.

We walked up and down the main street of Yountville to get a lay of the land.  Across the street from Ad Hoc was a beautiful sight.  Fall colors and vines.  Leaves were falling.  It was all so picturesque.  It made me really excited about my new camera.  And the rest of the weekend.

Oh, my new camera, you ask??

During my last trip to San Francisco, I had an issue with my camera midway through the visit.  Overexposure.  Underexposure.  There was a sensor problem.  Fast forward a few weeks and the decision was made that it wouldn't make sense to repair the old camera, but spend that amount on a new one.  Which means I'm now sporting a shiny new Canon G16.  Pretty snazzy.  And this trip is my testing ground for the camera before next weekend.  Oh...next weekend...

We wandered a bit more, but went back to the hotel for a break.  Mom and I had both been up for a long time.  And I was a bit of a mess (understatement).  We tried to nap, but that wasn't happening.  We just hung out for a while before dinner.

Dinner was with the group at the V Wine Cellar, a tasting room/restaurant that is a part of the overall complex where we're staying in Yountville.  And look, anytime a guy walks around with glasses of wine on a platter for you to take, I'm all in.  We mingled (slightly) with the rest of the group, while we waited for whatever was coming our way.  And what was coming our way was learning how to Saber a bottle of champagne.  The guy gave a lesson and several folks went up with the saber.  Don't use the sharp part of the blade.  That is my main takeaway.

We gathered for the food and started chatting with a pair of brothers.  One was living in Chicago.  The other in Miami.  Two good guys.  It turned into an excellent discussion about travel and family and all kinds of goodness.  The food was pretty good.  The wine was flowing, but it was nice that they didn't have massive pours.  I was still heavily medicated with the Demon Cold.  Mom doesn't drink that much.  And neither of us want to be "that girl" on the trip.  But I will say...the wine did help my slight migraine.  So, yay wine!!

The night came to an end pretty early.  Everyone had been up for forever and no one had gotten too crazy.  So we made our way back to the room.  I popped some NyQuil and hoped the Demon Cold would be better in the morning.

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