Saturday, October 02, 2004

hawking my ticket to the wine train

So we go to Napa Valley during harvest season. Let me repeat, so the stupidity of my adventure sinks in for y'all.

We go

to Napa Valley

during harvest season.

I thought the woman in the Italian restaurant was going to collapse horror-stricken when I turned down the wine list. My seat on the wine train remained a dream. The map so dotted with vineyards and tasting rooms it blurred your vision, sat quiet and flat next to the hotel stationery. But hey, I love lemonade with my spinach salad and still-warm carmelized walnuts.

I did, however, take a lovely bike ride down country roads while my husband presented to his newly-designed website to a room crowded with oceanographers in button-down, short-sleeved shirts and khakis.

The very helpful bike rental guy and I shared a conversation about our respective tourist towns, their conference-goers and bike trails before I headed off on my Fuji mountain bike, pretending to be sporty. It could have been all that reading I'd been doing about labor and other horrors that did it, but as it turned out, I found many applicable lessons on my journey.

My first lesson came even before I found the bike shop. I had found the address of the shop without a problem, but lost the trail to which little warehouse it was in after numerous confusing twists through a really big lot of various little warehouses. "I could use some help here," I say into the air. And my eyes settled on a half-hidden yellow sign pointing the way.
Lesson 0: It's good to ask for help sometimes.

Now with bike, I comfortably traverse residential Napa following careful directions drawn for me by the bike guy. Then, one street seemingly ends before my next turn appears. I circle, cutback. Nada. I end up asking two different people before I find the highway bridge I hadn't seen before that continues my street.
Lesson 1: Some paths are discontinuous.

I ride further, headed for the vineyards. But at the end of Laurel, instead of Browns Valley that bike guy told me to look for, I find First Street. My first instinct is to continue and see if things straighten out. But I don't. I circle back again and drag a man out from under his truck to ask directions. First becomes Browns Valley just after the intersection.
Lesson 2: Listen to instincts, push on, sustain faith longer.

I find my way to streets of mailboxes whose houses hide somewhere back in the golden grass. I find the grapes. It is beautiful and hard. It is all uphill. My pulse races and I can't remember the safe maximum before baby might complain. A bee decides the design on my shirt looks good and lights on my left nipple again and again.
Lesson 3: I can look like a flower.

I'm in love with the sound of acorns popping under my fat tires. Overly confident, I try to roll over a large unidentified ball still attached to part of its branch. My front tire goes up and over it without the satisfied pop. My back tire rejects it completely, spitting it out to skip wildly across the street.
Lesson 4: Some hurdles are best avoided.

I have to pee. I am still going uphill. A little further. It is beautiful (and hard). I wonder what the bike guy will say if I come back so early. I think about how nice it would be to tell Mike I made it the whole way (to an arbitrary stop mapped out back at the shop). I realize I'm being an idiot.
Lesson 5: This is for no one but me.

I decide to go a little further. I make it to my "little further" point. My butt hurts. I get off my bike and plot my options.
Lesson 6: Rest.

I suddenly feel satisfied with how far I've come. I turn around. The downhill goes on and on. I am jubilant in the wind.
Lesson 7: After the work, accept your reward.

I make it back quickly and spend only a brief time defending my short trek. I leave the bike and head downtown with a lunch spot recommendation.
Lesson 8: Walking is also good.

3 comments:

ruby said...

sounds like a great ride, but lesson 0? how about lesson -1: still-warm carmelized walnuts - very good idea. lesson -2: button-down short sleeve shirts - very bad idea. i have a real predjudice against those shirts.

Kitty said...

Of course you do, everyone has a prejudice against those shirts except scientists, engineers, and IT guys. Lesson 0 because it was prior to my ride. Keep up chicky.

K3rM1t said...

wow, I was going to say I love short-sleeve button-down shirts. I guess it's either the IT engineer or the So-Cal slacker in me.

Lesson -1: When going to Napa, call k3rm1t. Ex-locals know the places to go.

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