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Sep 11, 2003


The Road Trip - Part 8(California) - Napa Valley 

The day started off with us heading to Ghirardeli, America's oldest chocolate company and the creators of the legendary Ghirardelli chocolate. Across the Maritime Museum, where the Hyde Street ends, Ghirardelli is a must stop for those who are visiting San Francisco for the first time, we were going there to stock up our pantry with their famous chocolates and cocoa. Yes, today is the "stocking'-up day". Half an hour at Ghirardelli and we are off to the vineyards of Napa Valley.

I used to play a PC game, called Road Rash while I was in college, it had a couple of circuits(race tracks) which you could choose like Pacific Coast Highway, Napa Valley (these are the ones I remember) while playing a game. At that time all I knew was these were in USA but I had no clue as to whether they bore any resemblance to the real Pacific Coast US 101 or Napa Valley. Driving to Napa Valley was like playing Road Rash all over again, there were the vineyards fleeing past, two lane highway which meandered down to one lane at parts, if I remember right Napa Valley course was one of the easier courses, so the one I played more often than others, see that training has come handy.

This was not my first trip to Napa-Sonoma valley, I made one a year and half ago and fell in love with the place. Like the farms of Oregon, here again was people leading a different kinda life, so close to the city, yet so faraway. Most of the wineries in US are along the Napa-Sonoma valley, big names like Robert Mondavi, V Sattui etc dominate the region. We were heading for V Sattui winery to replenish our stock of wines. You can have free wine tasting at all the wineries, there is a wine train that'll take you across the area and some 'hardy' wine drinkers make it a day of living solely on wine hopping from winery to winery.

V.Sattui is real nice picnic spot as well as a great winery. I would recommend their Madeira and other dessert wines. You can grab a bottle of wine, find something at their fabulous deli (thats what we did) and have a lazy afternoon in the shade of Sattui's hundred year old oak trees in their two acre picnic yard. Back to San Francisco after a minor tire repair to take out a nail embedded in the tire and that wound up our day.


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