All posts filed under: Small Towns

Vignettes of Yountville, Day Two

Day two in Yountville didn’t start out well for us. We came out to one of the vineyards up on the hills early Saturday morning with Napa Valley Aloft for a hot air balloon ride (and a champaign breakfast after), but the weather had other plans. We were hoping it would clear up, spending our time taking photos of the fog-covered vineyards and half blown-up balloons while waiting. But the fog just got thicker by the minute. Our guides were very apologetic though (although it’s hard to blame them, the weather can be unpredictable), and they made up for it by having unbelievably delicious Bouchon chocolate cupcakes waiting for us when we got back. And we still enjoyed the view. Bicycle Ride Around Yountville With our hot air ballon ride canceled and it being too late to go back to bed, we had to find another way to spend our Saturday morning. Luckily our hotel (North Block Hotel) lets guests use their cruiser bikes for free, so we decided to explore the town on them. We rode …

Mountains to Sound: On the Road in the Pacific Northwest

The landscape shifts from dominantly dry golden hills to the lush, rolling green of valleys and mountains punctuated only by little towns, rivers and farms as we make our way from California, land of sunshine, to the Pacific Northwest, always wet and ever gray. The stark contrast and apparent transition may shock at first, especially when you’re used to eternal sunshine, but it never fails to astound, no matter how many times it’s witnessed. It is to Portland and ultimately Seattle that we are headed, but with a few planned and unplanned stops along the way because you just can’t help but. It is, after all, an eventful drive in a stunning country from Southern California to Washington, a journey that spans more than a thousand miles, traverses the western most part of the United States from north to south, and passes irresistible wonders. Morro Bay, San Simeon, Big Sur on the coastal road, Sequoia, Yosemite, Mount Shasta on Interstate 5 – and that’s just in California! We’ve been to all of these and more, …

Destination: The Big South

The massive and powerful waves of the Pacific and the jagged rocks at the bottom of the California coast constantly meet with such intensity and force. To say that the fate of any poor soul who gets caught in between is bleak is a great understatement. But from the safe and distant haven above, atop the cliffs, this dangerous scene transforms into panoramas so stunning, so breathtaking that one might be inspired to risk descending down to it just to experience its beauty at close range. Such is the magic of Big Sur. And one could not look at its beauty without trembling with inspiration. It was here in the Big South where I decided to celebrate (or lament, depending on one’s perspective) my thirtieth year of being alive and find some calm. Or perhaps just buy myself time to lick my wounds. Whatever it was I was trying to find, I couldn’t tell you for sure. And whether or not I found whatever it was I was trying to find, I couldn’t say either. …

Destination: Darwin

“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?” – Jack Kerouac, On The Road * * * * * It was the first time I had heard of Darwin, that one uneventful morning at work when I picked up a copy of the Los Angeles Times. There on its front page sat a very sympathetic article about the small, desert town’s residents’ technology-related plight. Apparently, the reclusive folks of this virtually unknown town to the west of California’s Death Valley have been fighting for their right, despite their geographical seclusion, to high-speed Internet. A necessity to the rest of the world, broadband connection remained an extravagant luxury to them, at least as far as the Internet providers were concerned. My heart went out to Darwin’s residents, possibly cursed to forever endure their sloth-paced Internet made worse by the 90s robotic squeals coming out of their modems; really, it did. I still …