Monday, July 25, 2005

Road trip!

Fortunately, Teresa was able to take Friday off so the three of us head out for our road trip to Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe. It was great to be pretty leisurely and spontaneous; on Thursday night, Teresa researched the directions while I researched some vineyards... but we were to leave only after we had breakfast at Cheesecake Factory (which unfortunately, was at 11am -- should have researched that one more.)

We drove pretty much over the three days, taking the scenic routes (including going around for the Golden Gate Bridge). Finally, we arrived at our chosen winery at around 4pm, Sterling Vineyards. We chose this one mainly because it was well advertised and boasted a gondola ride up to the main building for the winery tour and tasting room.

[Finally, a picture with the three of us.]

The "impressive" presentation at the bottom of the gondola ride to attract tourists.

The winery tour was... okay. It was mainly self-narrated, but the view of Napa Valley was so nice. As an aside, for winery tours, I do highly recommend the Jackson-Triggs tour (one of the bigger producers in the Niagara region). When I went we had a great tour guide -- and all of the tours are led by a tour guide! The admission is also less expensive. =p

Of course, Niagara doesn't have *quite* the backdrop as Napa Valley:

We tasted five different wines... all of which I didn't like except for one, the lightest sauvignon blanc, which I did end up bringing home! My pallet is weird -- if I don't like the taste of something, I physically can't swallow it. So that's the main reason I don't drink alcohol... and that also goes for a lot of wines. Oddly, that also goes for milk.

After the tasting, we head out for Lake Tahoe, which was a great mountain road drive. We were working the poor Pontiac Vibe pretty hard! TOO BAD I didn't have my own car, it would have been *so* great to take those turns with it. ;) I'm not sure about the elevation of Napa Valley, but Tahoe's at about 8000 ft. It was quite a drive. =) [Haha.. I love driving...] We drove into Lake Tahoe just as it got dark. Fortunately we found an open hotel room at the Best Western for a good price! Great timing!

Lake Tahoe is popular for its ski hills in the winter and watersports in the summer. The three of us, being difficult Chinese females, didn't want to get wet. =p So we mainly enjoyed the sights (including walking through some of the casinos that were right on the California / Nevada border line), [the Lake is split up the middle between the two states,] and waited to take a short boat cruise into the lake.

The boat cruise was... okay. =p The three of us also went to the Dominican with another friend, and our best boat cruise was there. Of course, *that* was labelled as a party boat and being in the Dominican, alcohol poured freely and some people were pretty crazy. =p The crowd here was more family-oriented and definitely, wouldn't be called crazy. It was a nice ride nonetheless -- just slightly windy though!

The drive back was much easier going downhill and we safely made it back to San Jose in good time. Oh yes, a picture of Teresa's one-bedroom apartment -- it was such a blessing to stay there for free, haha... very spacious with high ceilings. [I don't think either of us knew Joyce took this picture...]

Until next time, this is Gladys Yam.

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