Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have you ever started up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on the airplane? Last spring Eric started up a conversation with a couple (Dona &Dave) on a flight who live in Sonoma and they exchanged contact info. So, when we where in Sonoma we met up with them and they spoiled us! First stop in Sonoma is Nicholson Ranch for a wine tasting ......

 (From left: Deepak Gulrajani, Dona & Dave Payne)
Our amazing new friends in Sonoma. Thank You so much guys for such a memorable day!!

A photo of us with Deepak, owner of Nicholson Ranch

We did the full tour of the Nicholson Ranch and learned how wine is made. Deepak even let us sample the wine right out of the barrel... it was out of this world amazing, not to mention some of the best wine I've ever tasted!!!  Thank you so much to Deepak & Dona & Dave for an unforgettable day.

Tasting right out of the barrels, the way it should be!
Deepak is very serious about Pinot Noir and upon us questioning the differences in vintage: he decided to show us instead! 

Wouldn't you just love to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the photo above sipping a glass of wine?!!

PS Another wonderful winery that we visited this day was Homewood check them out online HERE.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

 When Eric and I first started planning our trip to California we realized that there was a lot that we wanted to see and thought the best way to do this would be a road trip. I had never been on a road trip; I think the longest drive I’ve ever been on was from Maine to New Jersey, which doesn’t really count. So, I thought the road trip itself would be exciting!

We found a company located 10 minutes from the San Francisco airport called California Campers. California Campers is own and operated by a husband and wife team that is wonderful to deal with and run a great business. The Westfalia Camper that we rented was fully equipped with bedding for us to sleep comfortably in the van, everything we needed to make coffee and cook, and ran well without any issues.

I found the VW Van a lot of fun to drive with its oversized steering wheel! I was surprised at how many highways CA has and how much time we spent driving on the highway! The highway was my least favorite part of our trip. The fastest the Westfalia could go on the highway was 55 to 60 mph but other drivers recognize this and just go around. I think if I was to do another road tip in a VW Van that I would plan the trip to avoid any highway driving (if this is possible), mostly because there aren’t many scenic options to pull over and make photos.

All in all the VW RV is an amazing way to experience a new place and see as much of it as possible. 
There is a company called Happy Campers Hawaii that also rents VW Campers, I think this is next on my list!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recently Eric and I went on a grand adventure to California. I'm a little overwhelmed with all that we did and all the photos that we made, so I'm going to try and start from the beginning (seems logical, right?) Here is the basic layout of our trip; I will expand on each part with more photos and the highlights in additional post.

Living on a little island like St Thomas a road trip is really not an option, so when we thought about our adventure to explore CA it seemed like a brilliant idea to rent a VW Westfalia Camper. Above is our VW, home for the week, and one of the funnest things we've ever done. More photos HERE of the VW.

We flew into San Francisco and headed north to see wine country. We spent a night in Sonoma (photos of our vineyard tour HERE), Calistoga (photos of the amazing spa we went to HERE), and Napa. The landscape was amazing, the people were so generous, the wine was out of control delicious, and we where in heaven to be on the road exploring!

Then we drove back through San Francisco to pick up our friends, The Bobs, that flew in from Washington State to join our road trip. We all headed south to camp in the Big Sur and see the Pacific Ocean (Big Sur photos HERE). 

Above is Big Sur, isn't it breathtaking?! Big Sur was amazing, foggy, chilly, and a little too much driving... more on this later.

We ended our trip in San Francisco in a fancy hotel for a few nights so we could check out the city. We drove around 800 miles in the VW Bus, experienced a bunch of firsts, laughed, shivered, ate amazing food, drank incredible wine, met wonderful people, caught up with lifelong friends, and had a vacation that was completely different from our island lifestyle! We feel refreshed and happy to be back on St Thomas.

PS Next up more on our VW Bus that made our California Road Trip possible.

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