Welcome to Oakland
Welcome to Oakland: 60° and rainy. We picked up our car from Budget rentals: a lovely 2003 Red Mustang convertible with a white top and interior. "That'll do." That's the slogan of Oakland and they're holding true to form. Budget sold us on the option to bring the car back empty, citing that their gas, priced at $2.15, was cheaper than the average of $2.35 we'd find around town. As we drive by gas stations an note the price of $1.99, we glance down at the gas gauge: the tank started out half full. "That'll do."
The Crossroads Inn, where we are staying, is thankfully not in Oakland. Nancy, our innkeeper, is one of those nice old "Napa" ladies, meaning that she's outgoing if a little quirky. Our room has a private jetted tub and a big deck that looks out on the valley. The room decor reminds me of my parent's basement: stuck somewhere between the ‘70s, and ‘80s but not really using the better parts of either. Nancy, by the way, appears to collect troll dolls by the thousands.
Today was wine day. Wine day consists of a diet of wine, cheese, and bread. We were driven around in a big limo by Dave, with whom we were not impressed. I think there are people in this world who go through life rubbing others the wrong way, and I think Dave is one of those unfortunate souls. Not that Dave was offensive, wrong or any other tangible attribute. Rather, we just didn't click with him. This made for an awkward time, but we managed to make the most of it.
Dinner that evening was fantastic. We ate at an Italian restaurant named Travenia. Our waiter "Murph" gave us a mystery bottle of wine. If we could guess the grape, we got the wine for free. This kept us occupied for most of the evening. Murph kept offering clues, but reminiscent of the movie The Princess Bride, we weren't sure if we should trust him. The wine was from Trufini and the grape was called Chambono. We never would have guessed it. When we weren't thinking abort the wine, we were enjoying a fantastic meal: Travenia is a fantastic restaurant.
Before Sonoma I was under control. My journal entries were in complete sentences and made sense. But on the way to Sonoma something happened. I think it had something to do with the endless stream of wineries we visited on the way to Sonoma. Here is a transcription of my journal over the course of three days:
Tayna Redimix and I have arrived safely at Hope-Merril house, several cases of wine in tow.
Danna's Mean to she because she wants me to look like Brad Pitt. But I'm not, so I get drunk.
I do not fart green eggs and ham.
Dinner on our last night was a blast. We opted for the "kiddie Table" as did several other people who were Kids at heart. Countless bottles of wine later we were all shouting "Bonsai" and clinking glasses wildly. Through some feat of magic, I did not have a hangover the next morning. I guess the "slow pour" from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm works well for me. Danna and I won on honorable mention for our wine label: Mostly Merlot. Nobody mentioned that of the four lines of text on the label, none were correct.
We didn’t really understand the level of our wine experience until the cases of wine started to appear. Day after day new cases of wipe were delivered to my office. Seven cases to me, and nine to Mark. We won’t have to buy any wine for a long time.