August 12, 2006 Calistoga

August 12, 2006 Calistoga
The announcement
Ok, one last easy hike, then we’ll think about going back to hard hikes. Not “Tom Mangan” hard hikes, if any of you keep up with his blog at , but much harder than the last few weeks. Until then, though, this weekend is one of self indulgence. If you’d like to join in, meet us up at Bothe Napa Park at about 10 am on Saturday.

The plan is to do some winery stuff in the morning. Maybe a tour of the caves at Beringer, maybe a tour of the fields at some other winery, maybe a ride on the gondolas at Sterling, maybe viewing the art at Peju, maybe sampling champagnes at Mumms. You get the idea. Maybe Mr. Snuggles has better suggestions. Bring stories. I love your stories.

I’m thinking of lunch at the All Seasons in Calistoga—a five star hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

In the afternoon, at some point we’ll move the self-indulgence into high gear. Maybe a massage. Maybe a mud bath. May a soak in the pool. You get the idea.

And if you’re still around for dinner, maybe we’ll go to one of the other spectacular restaurants in town. Consider hanging around until 5 or 6 for dinner.

The hike

Tom has already blogged last week’s hike at . In my version of the tale, 9 of us headed from the camp sight to the Sterling Vineyards. We paid our $20 to take the 3 to 4 minute gondola ride to the top of the hill, looking over some of the grounds along the way. At the top, we began with a wine tasting right away. Then we went along the tour route, looking at the signs and getting a lot of good extra information from Gary. At the far point, we had another wine tasting. Then, nearly back to the gondolas, we had one last wine tasting. It was actually a very nice place to visit, very beautiful with lots of information. One we’ll do again.

From there, it was on to Food City, also known as Calistoga. We had lunch at the Calistoga Inn. After that, we split into 3 groups. Five went to further wine tasting. Two went back to the camp sight. And Kathy and I went swimming. Around 4:30, four of us got strangers to grope us for a while before we went and did more of the food thing. Finally, it was back to camp for more bizarre card games.

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Tom shows us how to properly clean up for a visit to a winery. Very dapper.

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Looking out of the gondola onto the grounds of the Sterling Winery.

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Joanne demonstrates how when I point a camera at you, you should do something exciting.

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Gary tells us about the cost of the French oak barrels, how long they last, and how the toasting of the barrels affects the flavor of the wine.

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This is the second wine tasting station.

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This is looking back towards the winery from the atrium.

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The last wine tasting station. The more wine we taste, the happier everyone gets.

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After meals and massages, it’s back to the campground. Our tent is on the right, and Tom’s tarp is on the left.

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