Bay Area Jaunt Part 2: Napa Wine Tasting

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to feel like you’re living a charmed life, just sometimes a change of pace will do.

The wife and I had been looking forward to our anniversary getaway to Napa, but any experience for me is enhanced when we bring our bikes along.

Or let me say not needing our car.

We woke up on our first full day on our trip how you would expect: late and exhausted.

Getting away is just the simple ingredient that gives me permission to not wake up at sunrise.

After slowly collecting ourselves, we walked over to the Oxbow Market with little R & D other than assuming there would be breakfast there.

It was an idealistic presentation of shops, eateries and food goods that you would expect for people that live better than you.

My omlet seemed reasonably priced except for the fact that it was half the size of what you’d consider a definable omlet.

Oh Napa.

If there was one redeeming feature, I scanned the beer section of the market which didn’t took like anything different than going to a typical Whole Foods.

There wasn’t anything unique there until I came across this Chez Panisse collaboration.


Does the name Alice Waters ring a bell?

If you haven’t heard of this restaurant then shame on you. It’s one of the world’s landmarks and I happened to live right behind it for two years.

Go right yourself and educate.

After making sure our loan was approved to finish this trip, we headed out on our bikes for some fine amateur wine tasting.

Heading north, I noticed on Google Maps there was a path along the Napa River. Getting onto it from the bike lanes on Lincoln was problematic, but better to be safe than sorry.


Leafy ride by the Napa River

This was a pretty segment that welcomed rustic views of the river that felt really short ride, but maybe the eagerness for the tastings had something to do with that.

We turned onto Silverado Trail hoping to have that pastoral wine country vibe, but instead felt more like riding in the valley.

Sure we had a bike lane with mini botts dots to alert drivers, but when cars are speeding past you at 50 mph you have your head on a swivel instead of imagining you’re Paul Giamatti.


The Silverado Highway…. errr Trail.

We stopped at the Reynolds Family Winery because, well, they were the first.

In my novice opinion, I’d give their wines a solid review, but really enjoyed kicking back in front of their artificial pond while taking in views of actual hills.


This looks…..spotless.

Being in good spirits we headed down the road to Black Stallion because they had a big f’n statue of a horse. Good enough for me.

Our biggest problem with the winery was that the bike racks were nearly full when we got there.


Big horse statue + little knowledge = wine tasting

Okay. That’s not really a problem in the global scheme of things, but I’m human.

We shared a tasting again, but we had only four pours instead of six, so after an extended break relaxing under an impressively concealed archway, we started our loop back.


Valet please?

Quick sidenote: we stopped at this place.


Not for a tasting, but just to ask why this?

We turned westward onto Oak Knoll Road which was labeled a bike route, but instead should be named “Relationship Checkpoint Road”.

This was exactly like riding on the Silverado Trail, but with no bike lanes or shoulder.


Que the quotation marks: “bike route”

Mrs. CV didn’t feel comfortable when the first cars came up behind us, so she pulled us over to the nearest driveway.

I knew traffic would be an issue because there was so much of it, so I convinced her to ride ahead while I stayed back, took the lane and gave drivers an evil stare down if they got close.

Happy funtime came when we reached Highway 29.

On paper, this sounds like things are getting worse, but there’s actually a bike path paralleling the train tracks.

This segment wasn’t fully completed, as there is some work needed to be completed at the intersections, but it was pretty ridable to get us where we were going.


Dedication: the bike path along Highway 29

There wasn’t a lot of the joy factor though as heavy winds outweighed away the gains from riding downhill.

I used this experience as a teachable moment experimenting the concept of drafting with my wife.

The path continued following the trail as it crossed over the 29 into a more urban environment.

Because it cut diagonally through the city, it took a long time to travel through having to wait for traffic to stop or signals to change.

With a little time to spare, we rode into the downtown area to grab a coffee and stroll around.

We really enjoyed riding through the nearby residential neighborhood looking at all the 19th century homes with their intricate details.


Now that’s some fancy architecturing!

There’s something very nostalgic about this time period and you can still find many of these pockets in Northern California.

We connected onto a bike boulevard before making our way back through downtown.

Overall, we had a great time together because that’s what we do.


These be some happy cyclists!

Still, we thought that riding through the countryside would feel more pastoral than highwayish, but that wasn’t the case today.

Seeing how bike tourism is a booming industry here, it would behoove locals to make the roads friendlier.

It would probably make it easier for dollars to exit our wallets too.