THE 2019 CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP: DAY 3 (FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO NAPA!)

So, Day 3 held a promise. A promise of something wonderful. Something beautiful and awesome. Something both the Goodreaus and Nerneys hold very dear to their hearts.

Alcohol.

Well, specifically…wine. We were heading to Wine Country. Specifically, we were heading to Napa.

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Eeeeeeasy there. We still had a couple other things to handle before heading into Napa. Namely, breakfast.

We woke up on Day 3…surprise, surprise…early. We were up at around 6AM, packed and ready by 6:30. Breakfast on Day 3 was down in the Holiday Inn Express lobby. On account of it was free.

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So many breakfast puns.

Now, there is a lot of talk on the street about the Holiday Inn Express’s cinnamon roll game. Like, I can’t go two blocks without some fool coming up to me all in my face bout these cinnamon rolls. So, naturally, we were all excited.

And I mean. They were cinnamon rolls. But this here ain’t no Cinnabon. Here is a picture of my plate, with a bite taken out of everything I ate.

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So like…I obviously ate the cinnamon roll. But I am not going to be writing about it in my diary or anything.

Hm? This is NOT a diary. This is a blog. My diary is where I talk about my most inner personal feelings. And draw pictures of unicorns.

After breakfast, we walked out to get our cars from the valet and I got my first look at the Suburban the Nerneys rented. Thing was a BEAST.

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I placed a Matt in this picture to show scale.

The plan was to switch off here and there so everyone got turns driving in both the Mustang and the Suburban. Democracy at work.

And in that spirit, Matt joined me for this ride in the Mustang. Don’t think we were being selfish though. It was a little chilly so no one else wanted to ride with the top down. Wusses.

So we all hopped in our respective modes of transportation and we were off.

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Ha, that’s so Raven. But not yet. Our next stop was a little over 30 minutes away. We were heading to Muir Woods!

The drive there was pretty great as well. Lots of winding roads and what not….And I mean, vistas.

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At one point, I stopped on the side of the road to let the girls and kids catch up with us and take the picture above. I parked the Mustang, walked across the road, took the picture you just saw, and then looked back to see Matt heading up some trail and out of sight. The girls pulled up and I was like, “I don’t know…he just disappeared.” And the fact that no one batted an eye at this shows you just how often stuff like this happens with Matt. Classic Nerney.

He did finally make it back, though.

And we made it to Muir Woods.

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We had pre-paid our parking so we were able to just show our tickets and drive on in. We weren’t planning on spending a ton of time there so we decided to do the 1 hour loop through the redwoods. Sort of a morning constitutional. We had a lot of fun saying that all morning – “constitutional.” It made us feel both active AND patriotic.

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These were some trees, man. It was really cool to get some time in with the redwoods, especially since we weren’t going any further North than Napa.

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This was a pretty amazing way to start a day. Why can’t every day start like this?

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“Where do those stairs go?” “They go up.”
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I think this is the best I look in any picture taken on this trip.

There are some that think this was where the speeder chase scene in Return of the Jedi was filmed. While that’s not correct, you can definitely see why this thinking would catch on. I did find myself feeling like a small, furry, Muppet…er, Ewok.

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Plus, some scenes for the two TV Ewok movies were filmed nearby. So I guess we got that going for us?

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Urgh.

Also, if the boys ever get the band together, we totally got their album cover photo taken.

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So what? So what? So what’cha want?

What? They could totally get a band together. They already bicker like bandmates. All they need now is the talent.

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These trees though. Legit large. We could like live in some of them. I mean, not comfortably. But still.

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And that was the last time we saw Matt. Some say you can still hear him if you listen closely. To the trees.

Muir Woods was great…definitely an awesome place to stop on the way from San Fran up to Napa. You know, to preliminarily walk off all the wine.

Speaking of, let’s go to Napa!

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We had two nights planned in Napa – one staying in Napa proper and one staying in Calistoga. Today, we had about a 1.5 hour drive to our hotel in Napa – The Hilton Garden Inn. Look, here’s the lobby. And Laura.

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Upon checking in, the woman at the front desk informed us that if we liked the hotel on Facebook or followed on Instagram, we could get a free bottle of wine. So I liked AND followed, getting two free bottles of wine. Well, one per room. But still. I was the one that liked and followed. So, I am the true hero.

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You know that Cab is fancy. Because its not only written in cursive, but in BOLD cursive.

It was around lunch time so we decided to visit V. Sattui for some lunch. And wine. And lunch wine.

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Sattui isn’t only a winery, but they also have a market/deli where you can pick up snacks, cheese, sandwiches, etc. and some food trucks outside serving barbecue.

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Mmm, cheese.

The place was pretty packed so we decided to forego a wine tasting.

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We instead got a bottle, some food, and found an area to picnic outside.

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I got a spicy Italian sandwich. Y’all know how I feel about sandwiches. You don’t? Well, I love them. Sorry. I LURVE them.

And this was a pretty tasty sandwich.

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While I don’t have pictures of what everyone got, I did take a picture of Myles’s meal as he was the only one that went for the BBQ. Dude was messy.

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Ain’t NO shame in Myles’s game.

Since we didn’t get to squeeze in a wine tasting, we wanted to try and get one in soon. On our way TO V. Sattui, we drove by The Prisoner Winery, which kind of called out to us. I mean, most wine calls out to us. But The Prisoner holds a special place in ours and the Nerneys’ hearts. We both tried it for the first time together at an Inn in New Hampshire and it sort of became our wine. We didn’t even know The Prisoner had a winery in Napa so just driving by it seemed fortuitous.

A call was made to the winery to see if they could fit us in and they said to just drive by and see if there was an opening. Unfortunately, when we got there, the man working the front rushed out to our car to let us know they didn’t have any room at the moment. But…they did have an opening for later that day at 3:45. Which, in some (lame) circles is a more appropriate time to drink wine. We put our names in and headed back to the hotel for some pool/hot tub time.

Once at the hotel, we headed up to our rooms to change.

And here is a glimpse into what our hotel rooms looked like immediately after we got into them. It’s like our luggage just sort of explodes.

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No, no. Make yourself at home.

We got our suits on, grabbed some wine, and headed down to the pool.

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It was a good day at the pool. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and we had packed an inflatable basketball net (you can see it up there in the pic), which we made good use of on Day 3. Well, I didn’t make good use of it. I missed pretty much every shot I took. But some made good use of it.

The kids made it pretty clear they did not want to join us for our wine tasting so we let them have some down time in the room while we made our way back to The Prisoner in St. Helena.

Matt and I were very excited to not be driving, I guess.

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WE’RE FRIENDS!!!!!!!

And soon enough, we were at the wine.

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Napa is apparently the romper capital of the world.

They really do up the whole goth feel.

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Turns out man actually cannot survive on wine alone. But A for effort, buddy.

Upon arrival, they greet you at the front with a glass of their Syndrome Rosé. I am all of a sudden a fan of Rosé, thanks to Laura. I mean, it was only a matter of time. It’s pink. So. Plus, this one is named after the bad guy from The Incredibles. I am not 100% on that, but it makes sense.

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Our tasting was $45 a person and included the following.

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We were seated outside and Matt was crowned Wine King.

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Oh, sorry. That should read Whine King.

As you may have seen, the complimentary pairing was a black bean dip with queso fresco. This is, in fact, that dip.

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Matt didn’t want his. And thus began the “give Wayne all the food we don’t want/finish” tradition.

It was cool trying all The Prisoner wines because when we were first introduced to it, The Prisoner was simply a single wine and it was actually in danger of disappearing. It has since grown though…and it’s like all delicious.

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In addition to the wines listed, we got a bonus pour of Derange, their highest priced bottle.

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And I mean, of course we ended up joining their wine club. They plied us. With WINE!

We also bought a couple bottles for the trip – a bottle of The Prisoner (for nostalgia’s sake…and because its awesome) and a bottle of Headlock (which was our favorite.) The Prisoner was for dinner that night and the Headlock was for later in the trip, when we had a bigger crowd.

Then it was back in the Mustang.

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Nickie especially enjoyed the whole convertible thing.

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For everyone who asked for a picture of Nickie. Hair it is.

When we arrived back at the Hilton Garden Inn, we were there just in time for the wine social. Which was good. Because we hadn’t had ANY wine in like 10 minutes. We each grabbed a glass from the bar (for free, I should add) and walked up to the room.

The kids were happy to see us, but not so happy to know we had another wine tasting before dinner they had to attend. Whatever, man. I mean, we were taking them to Disneyland later in the trip. They can deal.

Because more wine was in store, Ubers were in order. We ordered up two of them to bring us into Downtown Napa and drop us off at the Vintner’s Collective.

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I called this place a while back and let them know we would be coming. It’s a really neat idea. It’s a tasting room with a bunch of boutique wines available for tasting. We opted for the $40 tasting, which included 5 wines based on our personal tastes.

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We’re kind of a big deal.

We checked in and looked around while we waited for the tasting to begin. Their taste in reading material had us feeling pretty optimistic about the whole thing.

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I wish I could remember the name of our host. But things were getting a little blurry about this time. He was great though. We let him know what kinds of wines we were most interested in and he took us through our five tastes.

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For some reason, this looks like an infomercial to me. “Wouldn’t you like to be successful…like us?”

The kids, meanwhile, took a seat on the couch and…I don’t know…played on their phones? I wasn’t paying much attention.

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This picture pretty much sums up the family Napa experience.

I wish I could remember everything we tasted. But you can’t get too mad. I did drink a lot of wine. We did try one we especially liked – Ellman.

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It was a really neat experience though. Cool to try wines we probably otherwise would not have tried and the atmosphere was super chill. Plus, it was right across the street from dinner. Which is something I really like. Being right across the street from dinner.

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Dinner was at Napa Valley Bistro. I booked this place a while back for dinner on Day 3. Well, actually…eh. I had mistakenly booked it for dinner on Day 2. They texted me while we were at Alcatraz saying they were looking forward to seeing us that night so I had to call and reschedule. Thankfully, they were super accommodating.

But yeah, I picked this place for two reasons. For one – the reviews looked great. And for two – no corkage fee on the first bottle. Win. One downfall? They didn’t have actual cocktails. They had Soju cocktails, which are made with this rice and grain alcohol infused with different spirit flavors. Meh.

But that was really its only downfall. And they made up for it with pictures of Mario to color.

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Since they didn’t have actual cocktails, I stuck with a beer for my first drink. I went with a Drake’s “Best Coast” IPA. I think?

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Beer? In wine country? What in the blazes?

For starters, we ordered the Ahi Tuna and the Petaluma Chicken Spring Rolls. Both were delicious, but the edge goes to the Tuna.

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Ain’t no tuna like an Ahi tuna and the Ahi tuna don’t stop.

For dinner, they uncorked our bottle of The Prisoner.

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This was one of those occasions where I only took a picture of my meal. Like I said in my earlier posts, I apologize for that but it was both difficult and awkward to always take pictures of everyone’s meals. But I can pretty much guarantee I always got a pic of mine. And I often win meals anyways. Also, I’m pretty sure in this case, Nickie got the same thing as me – they had a short rib special running that night. And I mean, short ribs are already special enough. But these were rull good.

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Nickie was a tad disappointed because instead of “vegetables” she heard “risotto.” And I mean. Well. I can definitely understand that level of disappointment.

But overall, it was a great meal for sure.

We Ubered back to the hotel. Some of us put our suits on and headed down to the hot tub. And then, afterwards, we all met up at the fire pit to hang out for a little bit.

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Apologies for the blur. But again. Wine.

Our first day in Napa was a success -full of family, friends, laughter, and of course wine. But to be honest, our next day in Napa Valley kicks this one in the face. Stay tuned for Day 4!

 

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