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  • Spontaneous Cruise: Napa

    Posted on October 21st, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Since returning from my Road Trip I’ve spent the past few weekends “recovering”… which is another way of saying, sitting on my butt watching TV. This weekend I decided to be spontaneous and lead a cruise with the NorCal GOATs up to Napa!

    After some deliberating on the details, I came-up with several different potential routes and posted the event info. I arrived at the starting location early and waited to see what the turn-out was going to be like. With these sorts of short-notice events it’s always a toss-up when it comes to participation, but it would have been nicer to have a couple more cars… none the less, those of us who came out had a total blast!

    The group decided on my “Short Route” (~2.5hrs) and we headed out…

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    Our first stop was at the Monticello Dam for some photos. I drove past here on my road trip without stopping, but I’m really glad we did this time… I’ll need to keep this on my list of potential photo locations.

    We then proceeded towards Lake Berryessa, which I only recently learned was the site of one of the Zodiac killings (remind me not to stop there for a picnic!). Before turning off onto Knoxville Rd. we stopped at the Turtle Rock to stretch our legs… boy were we surprised at what we found!

    This is the sort of place I love to find on drives. Just like The Junction out past Mines Rd. in Livermore, it’s the sort of “hole in the wall” watering hole only known to locals. There is a certain type of “character” in these places that makes them fun. I will for sure be stopping here again the next time I come through (I hear they have “world famous egg rolls” too).

    The road to Lake Berryessa was nearly devoid of traffic, which made the drive very enjoyable. I didn’t want to loose the cars behind me so kept the speeds reasonable. It would have been nice to get a little more “spirited”, but the relaxed pace added an extra element to the cruise. It was nice to just slow down to just enjoy the atmosphere…

    Since we started the cruise early today the sun was still fairly low in the sky by the time we arrived at Lake Berryessa. I knew finding a good location for photos would be possible, but also a bit difficult. I didn’t just want a photo from the road with the lake in the background, but rather something that would really allow the cars to standout. I spotted a deserted picnic area and pulled over to try and find a good shooting location. It was a bit awkward to get a clear view of the lake, and there were quite a few nasty speed bumps, but we found a decent spot.

    After taking far too many photos of the individual cars, then group shots, we eventually got back on the road. The rest of the drive was nice, but the road started to get a bit more rough/bumpy so wasn’t as much fun. We also started to get more traffic, including a semi hauling grapes who had zero respect for the center-line, so the speeds slowed dramatically in some places. Fortunately the views of Lake Hennessey and the various vineyards around the area made-up for it.

    The final destination for the cruise was the Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) tasting room. When proposing the spontaneous cruise I figured having the option to stop for lunch or wine tasting would be nice, but today everyone seemed to have more pressing engagements. I get the feeling that most people aren’t really into that aspect of a cruise… oh well.

    Overall the day was a success. It was great to see some friends and spend some time cruising on the backroads of California’s wine country. With all the positive comments about the route and scenery I’m sure we’ll be back up here again soon!

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