Getting lost in wine country

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mt-veederIt was last month during a road trip to Napa when I learned to never again question the motives of my sometimes confused, often snippy navigation system (I call her ‘Nav’).  Sure it provides directions, but it just might lead you to a fantastic experience! 

As we trekked through wine country on assignment taking photos for my new wine travel guide, we were doing great on time (made it from LA to Napa in record time on the 5).  We were on our way to Hess Winery; southwest of the town of Napa up into the hills of Mt. Veeder.   Then we went off course; almost off road.        

Somewhere after the 29, the Nav sent us on a small winding country road.  Not that unusual in Napa really.  And heck we thought that this could be a shortcut.         

Cautiously hugging the two lane road we kept on going and going through dense woods and careful to mind the flora and fauna as we drove.  (Does she know where we are going?)  After a 20 minute ride, the road then ended at a large gate with no trespassing signs everywhere. So we had to head right back to where we started.        

At the time all I could focus on was Nav and how she delayed the trip and other wineries I needed to photograph.  But then I stopped.  Looked around.  And realized that this wonderful detour put me in the heart of some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen.  There I was, right behind Mt. Veeder, looking out over vivid green rolling hills, lush majestic trees and vistas of the valleys below.  It was like a secret that we found out about.  I was so grateful that Nav took us this way.  (Did she know what she was doing?)         

Taking tons of pictures of this unexpected discovery, we slowly rolled by the landscape expecting the Von Trapps to come out at any time to sing about hills being alive.  But instead, we were serenaded by sheep, goats and cattle (much nicer).        


Mad cow by Heidi Butzine

 Then we crossed his path.
There we were.  Staring right into his dark brown eyes.  No one else but us.  On a lonely country road.  He just stared at us like he knew he was smarter than us.  And he was right.         

All I could say was, “Hi cow!” and took a snapshot.  He stopped chewing for a moment.  Gave us a very aggressive ‘huff’ from his snout which translated to, “what the hell are you doing here?  why are you talking to a cow?”  I’ve never seen a mad cow before and I wasn’t going to wait to see what it was like.  So after a few more snapshots of our new ‘friend’, we drove on knowing that this detour was better than any shortcut.         

We are so grateful for being able to see such a beautiful and quiet side of Napa that we may never have otherwise seen thanks to the Nav.        

(Contemplate deep Zen-like meaning here.  Now breathe.)

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