California Cruise II - the Road to Napa

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With the target weekend of May 18-19th rapidly approaching, it's time to post an itinerary and get your feedback. This is a work in progress. I intend to drive the full route tomorrow and firm up the details with Howlee when we get together in Healdsburg. I'll post more information later.

Like the Santa Barbara Cruise, we may have people coming from all directions for this one, so I'd like to propose two starting points, one for those who can assemble early on the morning of the 19th for some extra sightseeing and a second place for those who will arrive later that morning.

The first gathering spot would be the location Ford chose for their Mystery Drive last summer, the Point Reyes Winery. I'm going to see if I can get a group rate for anyone who would like to stay at that B&B on the 18th. We'll make it an early start from there and take in such attractions as the tall redwoods in Taylor State Park, Point Reyes National Seashore and magnificent Tomales Bay. Then following Hwy 1 from Bodega Bay back to Santa Rosa, it's a short trip north on 101 to the second rendezvous area.

I'll let Howlee pick the best location in his home town of Healdsburg. After getting together for introductions we'll set out on the 50-mile Silverado Trail Scenic Drive to Napa.
This quieter back road offers glimpses of the nation’s foremost wine region, about an hour northeast of San Francisco, as it was perhaps 30 years ago. Because the roadway dips and curves along the foothills, it offers gorgeous views of vineyards and mountains.
Somewhere en route [TBD] we can stop for a boxed lunch picnic or take a break at one of the 9 wineries along the way. The trail ends in Napa, just a few miles north of Hwy 80 for those with a long drive home on Sunday afternoon.

Distance will be a consideration for anyone arriving from outside the area. Estimated driving time from Napa to Fresno is 4 hours and from Napa to LA is about 7 hours. Those who can may want to make this a three day weekend to avoid back to back long distance drives and have more time to enjoy other area attractions.

I'd like to ask everyone who can to turn out for CC II. We had a great time in Santa Barbara. Everyone who enjoyed that first one and everyone who missed out should get together now and make this a memorable event! Please post your comments and tell me whether you'd rather meet at the first or second starting location.
 
I'm kicking myself that I have to work these days. I encourage everyone to get involved in this great trip!!

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RT2ESQ
Triple Black #748
 
Hopefully you have others in Northern California. I'll be out of the state that week.
 
I had a terrific preview cruise this weekend through Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties thanks to some great weather and expert guidance from John (Howlee) and his lovely wife, Mona.

The trip began with a devil-may-care ride through the streets of San Francisco. I managed to escape the license plate cops, Paula! I crossed the Golden Gate and headed down Hwy 1 to Stinson Beach. That wasn't part of the itinerary, but the weather was good and the roads were clear. I stopped off at the Point Reyes Vineyard Inn, site of last summer's Mystery Drive, and marched into the lobby with my T-bird banner in hand. Owners Steve & Sharon were delighted to greet me and welcomed all cruise participants to use their B&B as a gathering point.

I continued north to Healdsburg and had an easy time finding Howlee's place near the Simi Winery. We exchanged T-bird stories and John showed me his latest acquisitions - an EZLift top hoist and Zaino autocar products. I was really sold on Zaino. The finish looked like the car had just been picked up from the dealer.

We set off to Calistoga where we enjoyed a tasty lunch at a cozy eatery. Right next door we found a promising looking deli that provides all the makings for box lunches at the many picnic areas on Silverado Trail. One minor annoyance - during lunch a local bird found the seat of my Bird. A small cleanup chore, but I wonder if it was registering its disapproval or envy?
smile.gif


The afternoon was filled with many stops at wonderful vineyards along the Silverado Trail. It's hard to imagine a more idyllic country setting. We found a couple wineries that would make nice lunch stops. Both the scenery and wines were spectacular! Much to my good fortune, it turned out that Mona works for a wine producer and is entitled to a courtesy discount from all the retailers. I drove home several bottles richer. Sorry, folks. She'll be out of town on the 19th :]

We parted company in Napa and I found it a quick drive to Hwy 80 and a not-so-quick drive over the Bay Bridge and onto the Bayshore Fwy. Once again I managed to evade the front plate patrol. All in all, the day's trip was 250 miles and took 12 hours. The planned route would be half that long.

I have to say, I was hoping for a better response here. Is this a good time to hold a rally or should it be postponed? Maybe I ought to rename it the Greater California and Georgia Cruise, considering the enthusiasm of owners from that part of the country.
smile.gif
 
Bernie,
Month of May has turned out to be a tough month for us. We are so far from Napa that we really need a day going and coming. If cruise is re-scheduled, we will try our best to make it.
gene & karen
 
B,

I ran into the photographer from the L.A. Times who shot the photos from CA Cruise I. They still want to do the story...

I am sorry that my opponents do not see the wisdom of settling with my clients and I which means I am stuck in a 7 day jury trial -- which I really love -- instead of cruising the wine country with you all.

I am with you all in spirit and please count me in on a toast!!

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RT2ESQ
Triple Black #748
 
Bernie,

We would like to thank you and Howlee for all your efforts so far in arranging this California Cruise II to the Sonoma and Napa wine country on May 18-19.

Have we achieved "critical mass" yet? If there are no other new T-Bird owners indicating in this forum that they will attend the California Cruise II to Sonoma and Napa, perhaps we should reconsider and postpone the event at this time.

I am not sure when there will be another good time to hold this Napa cruise though. We are already heavily booked up with other events throughout the remaining spring, summer and fall months. Perhaps you or Howlee could suggest some other dates far in advance so we could let you know if we can make it?

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Gerry & Kim's
Triple Black Premium
#6831
 
by the way, my interest is extremely high on this trip, but i may not be able to do it since my work schedule has been very busy lately (just like the first trip.)

i've ALWAYS wanted to go to wine country.
 
As SugarDaddy said, I'm afraid we failed to achieve critical mass on this one. I don't know if it was the timing or the distance, but it looks like it was not meant to be. Those who are interested may want to follow up on brdman2's suggestion
The Northern California ************************ of America is putting on a Napa Valley Tour on Saturday July 13th. They are eschewing the traditional and crowded tourist spots and concentrating on "some places not on the normal tourist runs".
I don't think the route I had planned will be desirable between Memorial Day and Labor Day - there was already a lot of traffic last weekend. Maybe it's for the best. I just found out May 19th is the date for the Bay to Breakers race, and that will add a lot of congestion.

I'll be doing a non-Tbird cruise in the wine country with friends on Saturday the 18th. If anyone cares to join us let me know by email and we can still try to get together. Meanwhile, happy cruising wherever you go!
 
Thanks again for all your efforts, Bernie!

We will try to make it up to Napa or Sonoma later in the year.

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Gerry & Kim's
Triple Black Premium
#6831
 
The NORCAL club tour on July 13th will be traveling along Silverado Trail as part of the trip. I can provide more details if anyone is interested.

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Dennis Grant
1960 HT 208K
1992 Sport 237K
 
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