10 Oct 2012
When I was a young adult my favorite vacations were those when I camped in a tent and then stayed in the most luxurious hotel I could afford. I loved the contrast.
Yountville is quite perfect. Everything is just so. Nice. Delicious. Tasteful. Chill. It’s all bathed in great wine and surrounded by beautiful countryside.
I was encouraged to eat at Redd, which I did, and which turned out to be a very good thing. My writing about it would be unjust. I’ll just say my crisp chicken thigh with lemon bulgur, tomato sauce and picholine olives was barely surpassed by the sole with coconut risotto, clams and chorizo. All served exactly right in a tranquil, minimal setting.
After dinner I strolled ten blocks back to my hotel, walking along a quiet and dimly lit residential street. A light breeze of crisp air suggested fall though the crickets chattered like it was July.
My room is so very placid and comfortable. When I returned from dinner, I found it staged for nighttime retreat. The lighting was meant to relax, the music to sedate and the cotton mats placed bedside to call me hither.
It’s all so different from where I’ve been the last few days. I’m grateful for the comfort and the incredible food. In a way I feel sad, though, because I have left behind the Wild West with its expanse of untamed land, unpretentious living, and exposure to the forces of nature.
My transition took me around the south side of Lake Tahoe before crossing the Sierra to Sacramento. There I stopped at the well-known A&S BMW to refresh a headlight bulb and replace a damaged visor. Then, west of Davis, I picked up SR128 and crossed the Vaca Mountains--riding around one end of Lake Berryesa on winding, narrow roads before descending into Napa Valley a few miles north of Oakville. The Vaca are small mountains but they are beautiful and lush. They are covered with grass and trees and vines with little exposed rock--quite different from desert mountains. From a distance they project a golden fall color; as you approach you find their air sweet and fragrant.
I’m running out of steam. In a day I’ll park my bike at Dubbelju and hop a plane to Sedona. I have no plan for tomorrow but I’ll be somewhere between here and San Francisco. I will write my last post on this trip from wherever that is.