Cheese With Your Whine . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There's nothing like returning from vacation and finding a stack of work and emails to deal with to remind you that play time is over.

It's an ugly reality, but my head is still drifting towards red wine and coastal hikes, cooler climates and fresh seafood and miles of driving roads flanked by redwood trees. If your digestive system can handle eating your body weight in cheese and your liver can process copious amounts of red wine, then I would heartily recommend a trek through northern California, especially if you live somewhere miserably hot - like August in Austin.

There were lots of moving pieces to this trip, but luckily, everything worked out perfectly. Booming around in a rented Dodge Charger, I managed to:

* Visit more than a dozen wineries and buy exactly a dozen bottles of wine which are currently being shipped to Austin

* Take in the Chihuly blown glass exhibit at the De Young museum in SF

* Stay out until 3 am at a SF rave located in some warehouse

* Hike through Jack London, Russian Gulch and Van Damme state parks

* Urinate outside in 3 state parks as well as various turn-outs among redwood trees on Highway 128 without being ticketed

* Sip Roederer champagne (not technically champagne, but still . . . The company that makes Cristal) at 10:30 a.m. at their tasting grounds

* Drive more than 800 miles through beautiful country

Even staying at a Bed & Breakfast in Mendocino worked out well. In general, B & B's make me uneasy as I think of them as a place where erections go to die. I firmly believe it is the high doily quotient that kills them.

But B & B's are the main lodging in Mendocino, and ours featured great breakfasts, ocean views, fireplaces in the rooms and hosts who are genuinely some of the nicest people I've met in years.

The only thing that went sideways was the flight home as I managed to spend 3 hours stuck in Las Vegas when my connecting flight got delayed. The Vegas airport is a horrible place under most circumstances, and this was no different.

The air conditioning was barely functioning despite the temperature hovering at 107 degrees outside. The human circus was making me uneasy too as amateur hookers walked past sun-burned guys in tank-tops who looked like they just lost their mortgage payment.

Those few hours were a small price to pay for an excellent trip that surpassed my expectations. Now, I simply need to sit in a steam room for about 3 days to sweat out the cheese and wine that still lurks in my system.

Or maybe I just need to skip out of work early and grab a beer.



  1. Heff Says:
  2. I hear ya, 2Dollar. Glad you had a good time.

    Ps - I would have rented the Dodge Charger under an assumed name and kept the motherfucker.

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. I echo most of Heff's comments. Good to hear you had a good time.
    If I had to rent a Dodge Charger, I do it under an assumed name, but not to keep it. I wouldn't want my real name attached in any database to a Dodge Charger. Then, I'd find a nice, steep cliff and a cinder block. You can figure out the rest.
    Only reason to rent a Dodge Charger is if it's the only rental car available.

  5. Heff - Thanks as it was an excellent time. I enjoyed the Charger because I needed some power driving up through the steep hills on the coast and I had never driven the new version. I liked it fine, but it was a bit too long for me to want to drive on a regular basis (that looks pretty awful on-screen.).

    WhatIgot - It was a hell of a good time, and I got the Charger because they were out of Maxima's and Cadillac's which were my other two options. It wasn't half-bad (see above description), so driving off a cliff might be a bit extreme and the insurance would be hell without an assumed name.

  6. I've seen that piece of Chihuly at the De Young and it is a beauty.

    As for B&B's - I can't agree more. We typically stay clear and opt for someplace that has a mini-bar in the room, but there are times when locale is more important than privacy.

    As for the rave - what happens in S.F, stays in S.F?

    Welcome back! I'm sure you'll be enjoying your vacation everytime you open one of those bottles of wine. Now go to the gym.

  7. The Troll Says:
  8. NoCal would be nice if 90% of the residents weren't fucktards. Vegas is Hell but since they won't move the World Series of Poker, I'll have to go there again.

  9. BostonPobble Says:
  10. That blown glass piece is remarkable. I had no idea something like that could even be created.

    I'm right there with you on B&Bs. When I'm on vacation, I don't want to talk to strangers. I don't want strangers knowing my schedule. I don't want to mingle with strangers. I don't care that they are called "innkeepers." They are strangers. Give me some place with 15 or more rooms and a real restaurant and I'm good. Otherwise, leave me the hell alone.

  11. Anonymous Boxer - I couldn’t agree more about the Chihuly stuff as I really dug the work and variations were pretty astounding to me. I wish I could afford a piece, but I can't even imagine what the price tag would be. As for the rave, yes - it had a certain enhanced quality to it that made you want to dance. And I rarely want to dance. Ha. Finally, I've been to the gym the past two mornings - it feels good to get back to the weights as I hiked around quite a bit, but it couldn't keep up with the cheese.

    TheTroll - I'm not overly familiar with California, but I would venture that the people from SF up the coast are fairly reasonable on the whole. I especially liked it as you got to the less developed areas around Mendocino as people were laid-back and respected your ability to do whatever the hell you wanted. I liked that. As for Vegas, I do agree, although I think it does seem appropriate for the WSOP so good luck in advance when you do get back to the desert.

    Bostonpobble - I agree completely as small talk with strangers is something I generally leave behind while on vacation. That's another reason these people were good because they left you alone unless you asked for directions/reservations/etc. And they made really good breakfast and chocolate chip cookies. Ha.

  12. JLee Says:
  13. Welcome back and it sounds like you had a great time all around. I love the blown glass...very cool.

  14. Chihuly is from the PNW and there was time when you could afford his work... nowadays his students make most of the stuff and he's ... the designer? Doesn't matter - he changed the way people look at glass art and a cool guy to have up here. Everywhere you go, there is a Chihuly. *sigh* wish I had bought some, but back then I was a poor student.

  15. Jlee - It was cool in weather & deed, which was a nice break. And yes, all the glass was very, very cool and massive.

    Anonymous Boxer - I didn't know that about Chihuly's PNW connection but I loved the picture of him at the exhibit - eye-patch and wild hair - as it was awesome. Ha. And that is too bad about not being able to grab a piece when it was cheap as I've been there before and I wished I had more money around college and just beyond. Ha.

  16. nobich Says:
  17. Good to see you back

  18. Gypsy Says:
  19. Hey B, glad to see you back and that you had such a great time.

    What does everyone have against B&B's? I hear you on the doily thing but you can't beat them in Australia for being left alone to enjoy your peace and privacy. Maybe they're a different kind of thing over there in the ol' US of A.

    That glass sculpture is truly AMAZING.

  20. Linda Says:
  21. Welcome back! No shame on the Charger rental. Aren't those roads great? Designed for driving. That glass piece is gorgeous, an exhibit worth taking note of. One of the most romantic vacations I ever went on ended up at a B&B, and no one bothered us. Don't remember any doilies, but I do remember the tub ...hmmm. Thanks for the memory.

  22. Nobich - Thanks as it's good to be back - sort of. Ha.

    Gypsy - It may be different as your pics looked very good to me. I think the main fear - or at least mine - with those places is the forced comradirie (sp?) and having to constantly chat up the innkeepers and other guests and I simply don't want to feel bad for not partaking. As for the glass, there were several that were simply stunning scope and once I get my camera back, I'll try to post some ones that I actually took (if the lighting worked out).

    Linda - I liked the Charger as I thought it was a fun rental for the week, and you nailed it about those roads - loved them. I think you can spend quality time at a B & B (tubs being one outstanding quality along with fireplaces in my book), but the odds of something going a bit sideways are much higher than sticking with a good hotel. But I loved our one in Mendocino.

  23. Good to hear that you had a nice time. Except for the Vegas part. This city sucks, doesn't it?

  24. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time but more than that I'm glad you're back!

  25. Wendy Says:
  26. Welcome back! NorCal does have its merits. Vegas, however, sucks. After not going for years, I went recently and hated it. Although it's fun to try to discern the hookers from the regular young women who simply dress like hookers.

  27. Miss Ash Says:
  28. Love the blown glass!! I saw them make some in Venice and it was just beautiful!

    As for the rave....really??? I remember wanting to go to one when I was quite young....haha!

  29. Native Minnow - Thanks, and as for Vegas, I can't really make a good call on the city itself as the only times I've been there were for bachelor parties and trade shows. The airport, however, sucks. Ha.

    TrinabeingTrina - Thanks on both counts as I'm starting to get back in the swing of things again. But it wasn't easy.

    Wendy - I liked norther CA quite a bit, and plan to pick up Big Sur and further south some other trip. And I'm taking my wife to Vegas for her first trip next month as I figure everyone needs to see the spectacle at least once. Your hooker game could provide an endless stream of entertainment and challenge in the desert.

    Miss Ash - I dig blown glass, and just wish it wasn't so damn expensive as I'd like to have a big piece of it sitting somehere in my place. As for the rave, I was coerced into it, and I'll file it away as a scene to use in a future post, book, screenplay, etc.


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