The Napa Valley welcomed us with some overbearing heat temperatures of 42C or 108F as well as the pretentious wineries that boasted of their best Cab Savs and Pinot Noirs. We have visited wineries in Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia and our own Niagara and was very surprised to find many here in the Valley required reservations as well as $20./per person tasting fee. Being the economical, unemployed travellers we did our homework, read the reviews and purchased some of the better ones at local stores.
However, how could one travel the Napa Valley and not visit at least one? So we did. August Briggs, our recommendation to anyone who travels here, turned out to be a hidden treasure. Tom, our host, treated us with enthusiasm. Maybe it was a quiet Monday afternoon or maybe it was the couple that were partaking along with us. It turned out they were Canadians living in the Bahamas and sent to California on a scouting trip to select wines for a resort owned by Tiger Woods and opening next Spring. What luck for us! Tom treated us to approximately a dozen samples, as well as seldom offered barrel tastings. We spent a good hour learning all about August Briggs as well as the other 660 wineries in the Napa Valley. Thank goodness we biked from our trailer site.
The Valley was also the perfect opportunity to run our 34 km. training run. We left early in the morning to stay ahead of the heat and ran past many vineyards where workers were commencing their day of picking the last of the season's grapes. Hoping for a flat run I was surprised to find rolling hills but the scenery of the Valley kept me distracted.
Calistoga, our base, was a quaint little town and we took the opportunity to bike and tour it's downtown main street. This store sign caught our interest for obvious reasons.
Time to move on and enter the remote Yosemite National Park.....