Sun, 18 Sep 2005

Travelling Man

I’ve been neglecting this blog because, well, I haven’t been home a whole lot. In the last two weeks I’ve been offsite in Atlanta, GA, San Jose, CA, and locally.

The Atlanta trip was a real quick, one-day-in-the-field sort of thing. I visited a company in the suburbs and had a really easy time of things, work-wise. It was the classic thing where all I really saw of the town was the airport and the hotel. There was lunch at Waffle House, so I knew I was down south, at least. Oh yeah, and the Atlanta airport really sucks.

Bonneville Salt FlatsI travelled to San Jose with several cow-orkers. The flight was pretty pretty uneventful. Believe it or not, I feel comfortable in saying that, at least when dealing with the McNamara Terminal, Detroit Metro Airport is actually wone of the better, more organized airports I’ve dealt with lately. The security lines are short and fast moving, parking and ground transportation are reasonable, etc.

This was a working trip, so there wasn’t a lot of tourism, basically just a day and a half. On the spur of the moment (I didn’t even have time to grab my camera) we drove into San Francisco on the first night. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf, in particular Pier 39. In general, it’s a terrifying outdoor mall with zillions of people walking around, but the sea lions are awesome.

More grapesThe next morning, we set off for Napa Valley to see the pretty wine country and spend a pleasantly tipsy afternoon sipping. One of our sales guys is a full-on oenophile, and he supplied what was known for the rest of the trip as The Map (all around you will observe a reverent hush when you speak its blessed name) — an annotated guide to wineries in the area. Of the people on our excursion, only one was a wine collector, but he deferred to the rest of us s we could see wineries we’d heard of.

VinesWith that in mind, our first stop was the Robert Mondavi winery. We walked around the grounds, enjoying the quite lovely scenery and tasting a few wines. We had a designated driver, of course, so the rest of us were free to enjoy ourselves. :)

Niebaum-CoppolaThe next stop was the Niebaum-Coppola estates, owned by Francis Ford Coppola and family. They’ve really outdone themselves with the grounds, which are beautiful. We spent quite a bit of time here, In addition to the tasting rooms, there is a mini-museum of movie memorabilia, which includes all sorts of items from Coppola’s personal collection. There are 19th-century zoetropes, props and costumes from Coppola’s films, and even some Oscars.

We visited several other wineries that day. We stopped in at Grgich Hills, where the woman at the tasting counter was extremely helpful. I bought a bottle of unspeakably good Madeira at V. Sattui. We also made a stop at the St. Helena Olive Oil Co., which was wonderful — all manner of dips, oils, sauces, vinegars, and anything else you can think of.

Seaside restaurant, Sausalito, twilightWe stopped off in Sausalito for dinner on the way back into San Jose, and took a few more photos. This was my first trip to the Bay Area, and I enjoyed myself quite a bit. It was surprisingly chilly — in fact, for basically the entire time we were there, it was colder in San Jose and San Francisco than it was in Detroit!.

The focus of rest of the week was a series of quite productive meetings with our Mountain View development staff, but that’s nothing I blog about here. :)

If you’re interested in seeing a larger selection of the photos I took, I made a set at Flickr.

:: 16:01
:: /entertainment/travel | [+]
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