Excerpt from Wine & Dino II

Day 8

A good day today, until we got back to our room and the computer died.

Slept in, did laundry, drove up towards Kelowna, but only went as far as Naramata, because cousin Brad, who lives in Kelowna says that’s where he takes people. At his recommendation we headed straight for Hillside Vineyard, where they have a nice bistro with a patio. Caroline actually got a little too much sun. I sat in the shade, which was too cool until I had soup and quiche to warm me up. Ordered the wrong wine with lunch, choosing the recommended Pinot Gris. Should have had the Gewurtz, because when we got to the tasting room, they weren’t offering it.

Next stop Red Rooster, but we their wine style wasn’t ours. Then La Frenz. We bought some Chardonnay there, and left a postcard for Jeff, who is a friend of friends.

Then we headed towards home and made a stop at Blasted Church. This winery is on the old site of a church that was relocated. The building was so strong they had to use dynamite to take it apart. The church survived this treatment, except for the steeple. They had a nice chocolate lab that apparently thought I was the kind of guy who must have bacon in his pocket. Luke warm on Caroline, though.
Nice wine, and much admired the little ‘sermon sign’ at the entryway that said ‘Covet thy neighbours wine’!

Passed some two to three hundred motorcycles driving back to Osoyoos. Some ones and twos, but several groups of a dozen or even a score. Warm weather and a twisty road, what more could you ask?

Then when I went to upload the day’s photographs onto Caroline’s laptop, it suddenly BSOD’d. It will not reboot, even in safe mode. It insists that there is a Page Fault in a non-paging area or words to that effect. Since we have not ever installed any optional hardware, and run it with only Family Tree Maker and a couple of simple games on top of it’s default software, we are at a loss to understand this. Memory failure perhaps, or some major corruption of important WinXP files.

So I am writing Day 8 on the hotels public computer, which is located in a hot stuffy closet, and has a nasty flickery 17″ monitor.

We will check email each day, but won’t have constant access as before. Linda, please call us in Yakima on Sunday.

Day 9

I forgot to mention a highlight from yesterday. Somewhere in Naramata area we passed a greek restaurant called Theo’s. In huge letters, a banner screamed at us to visit eatsquid.com ! Haven’t yet, but I like the domain name.

Quite a bit of driving today, and we began by sleeping in an hour. We thought we’d be spending our whole vacation in Mountain Time, but after wondering for a couple of days why all the clocks were wrong, it dawned on us today that we must have slipped into Pacific Time somewhere without a handy sign by the highway. Anyway, easiest Customs passage yet. Only one guy on duty, and no line up at all. No problem with our BC wine.

LLPOD: North Carolina. Have seen about thirty five of the states so far, and the missing ones are all from the deep south or eastern seaboard. Or Hawaii.

Long drive on small highways through the mountains to reach Chateau Ste. Michelle. Arrived famished, and no restaurant at that winery. Cheese and crackers from the deli didn’t really seem like the answer, plus you had to buy a whole bottle of wine. The wines available for tasting were all from some particular slope we never heard of, so we bought a few bottles and asked Lara to take us to Subway before hitting the highway back to Yakima. Interstate past Seattle busy, but middle day of long weekend probably much better than a work day. Two hours saw us back to Yakima. Most restaurants closed, so Mexican food tonight. Huge population of Latinos here; you can get Mexican beer at the gas stations. We hope this means Mexican food authentic.

Day 10

A pretty good day today, with an undemanding schedule. We slept in and then toured vineyards all the way down the Yakima valley to Prosser. Didn’t really know any of the vineyards, so we picked one at random. Well, sort of random: the name Silver Lake may have sounded inviting. The people there were very friendly and helpful, and suggested some other wineries we might like. Some were already behind us, so we saved them for later and travelled mostly south.

No LLPOD today. Temperature about fourteen when we got up, twenty nine this afternoon! A lovely day here for Memorial Day, and every cemetery looked like a park, filled with picnickers and flowers. We got lost today, as Lara kept insisting we take the Interstate, but we wanted to cruise gently down the Yakima Valley Highway, which is calmer and easier to get to wineries from. At one point we had to stop while a ranchhand guided a whole herd of cows across the road, moving them from one pasture to another. To do this, he just stretched a string from the gatepost on one side of the road to the gatepost on the other side. One string, not two, but the cows seemed to understand. He retracted the string to allow us through, and the cows just stopped: six that had crossed, and the remainder that hadn’t. After we drove through he ‘restrung’ and the crossing resumed. Caroline went back and took pictures. One cow didn’t want to cross, she just wanted to look at Caroline. Never saw a Canadian before, maybe. Then on a side road, while I was gazing off into the grapevines, I ran over a piece of metal on the road. A flat strip of aluminum about the size of my forearm. Probably a piece of Lockheed L10-11, but luckily, it did not puncture my fuel tanks or my tire, or even scratch the paint. Gave me a hell of a start, though. Also ran over a trailer hitch, but that I sawcoming and I managed to straddle it without contact. I hope nobody needed a two inch ball on a drop tongue, because I didn’t stop to pick it up.

Went to Bonair Winery at noon, because they had tapas. Had a glass of wine each on the patio by their duckpond, and ate lamb meatballs, smoked salmon, bread and a little cheese plate. This area is so Hispanic they had Manchego
[a Spanish goat cheese]. Anyway, that was an interlude of great tranquility, and Tim got his mellow back.

Continued down the valley to Prosser. Dove into Hogue Cellars pretty much tasted out, and just bought a box of their wine. They offer a very nice discount on their variety packs, and their ‘Genesis’ label is one of our favourites. Strangely, before we got out the door, another guy came in, declined to taste anything, bought a box, and made tracks.

That was as far down the valley as we needed to go, and we just stopped at one last winery on the way back to Yakima.

Most restaurants in Yakima close on Mondays, it seems, and many more closed today for the holiday, so we ended up going back to El Mirador for Mexican food again. I got to practice my Spanish a little, and drink Jamaica [pronounced Hah MIKah by Mexicans]. Technically, this is a beverage made from Hibiscus blossoms, but if I told Justin he was drinking Crystal Light or Kool-Aid in their
new strawberry blend flavour, I expect he’d believe me. He might remark that the strawberry flavour is kind of fake, to which I’d probably reply that the bright crimson colour is pretty unrealistic, too.

Must find car wash tomorrow, as we drove on lots of gravel roads today, and she is very dusty. Our string of equipment failures is not over. Yesterday Lara had two seizures when I missed turns and rapidly turned around before she could recalculate a new route. We had to switch her off and on again because she just froze up completely. Today the Sirius [which is still sticking to the windshield
on the second dose of Krazy Glue, by the way] quit. Turned out it was just a loose connection at the cigarette lighter plug tucked into the head liner. I guess it got so hot up there that the electrical tape just softened up until the sticky wasn’t. Still losing things, too. When we checked in here and I reached for my credit card, my debit card was missing. Turned out my wallet had fallen on the floor in the CRV, and two cards flew out. Found debit card and driver’s licence on floor of car, so no actual loss at all.

Did I mention that it’s really hot and hazy and sunny here, and not cold and rainy at all?

Tomorrow we’ll sleep in and maybe shop a little here in the morning. I could use something else to read. The drive to Walla Walla is only about three hours, and we only plan to visit about three wineries there, so no rush.

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