Walla Walla Washington, Aug. 23

Tuesday we finally injected some serious activity into the trip!

After the wonderful breakfast discussed earlier, we mounted up and rode to the airport wineries, visiting Dunham Wines for a tasting…

 

1

20160823_164123

…and on into Walla Walla for supplies for Tuesday night’s dinner. About ten or 11 miles into and around town, we were to be congratulated at the ease of the ride – our bikes were smooth and fast!

2

Finding some great stuff and wonderful greek Olive oil at Walla Walla Gourmet, we headed back to Abeja for our 2:15 wine tasting appointment. Amazing how poorly those same bikes ran on the way back, as we realized that the entire trip into town was gently downhill…the return trip ended up being pretty strenuous (but wouldn’t be for Mw3H)

The tasting at Abeja resulted in the purchase of three cases, which will make Bruce & Randy happy.

3

4

Afterward, Kathleen suggested a ‘short walk’ along the creek and up the hill which ran behind the winery. About two miles in, and after a near-fracas with an excited German Shepherd, we were befriended by a cyclist – named Jeff. 50 years a road cyclist, and a 26-year veteran of the Air Force, Jeff was a walking (rolling) encyclopedia of interesting facts and history about Walla Walla, including its cycling significance. Anyway, he pointed out, quite pointedly – that the view from the ‘summit’ of the hill we were on – was well worth the climb. And he seemed most willing to stay with us to the very top. So the short walk turned into about an eight-mile round-trip, and the day’s second work-out. But well-worth it, and Jeff was a great guy.

5

Back at Abeja, we decide to drive into town for another look around and an early-evening beer. By now you’ll know that we really like this town and this area. But on the way, driving down a street called East Isaacs Avenue, we noticed a gathering of a few Entrepreneurs who either had a keen sense of Irony, or (more likely) were Brain-Damaged.20160823_134831

The first – and best – example was ‘New York Store’ – Western Outfitters. We couldn’t help but imagine some of the dialogue leading up to this bold marketing move:

“I’m going to open my very own Western Wear store, right here in Walla Walla. I shall invest my life-savings into this venture. I shall name it ‘New York Store’. ”

“I don’t think that name’s a good idea.”

“Shut up! You always have to ruin everything! It’s my store, and I’ll name it whatever I want. You’re stupid!”

“OK”.

As we moved down the street, more popped up: The car wash business (there were dozens of car washes on this particular street. You have to wonder about the business acumen of the owners of the most recent dozen….) where you had to go inside to get the full run-down of what they do…

6

Then came Sour Grape Frozen Yogurt.

7

You can make up your own script, probably centered around a good friend telling their brain-damaged-entrepreneurial friend that “Sour” and ‘Yogurt” used in the same sentence usually means “bad”.

And our Yogurt-Peddling friend’s response: “Shut Up! You always have to ruin everything! That doesn’t count when it’s grape!……”

Finally, we encountered a Hawaiian-Themed Thrift/Vintage/Antiques store named: “Yeehaw Aloha”. In Walla Walla, Washington.

8

I had no words. This store-naming is just an awesome tribute to zany, no-reason reasoning. I love it, but I don’t really understand it. That’s the way it goes with true craziness.

Back at Abeja, we had a wonderful picnic dinner, and the next morning we headed for Golden, British Columbia. (after another incredible breakfast al fresco)…

Monterey to Bend, Or. Aug. 21 + Bend to Walla Walla, Wa. Aug. 22

Sunday morning:

In the Passat by 6:15am, and Headed for Bend Oregon.

Beautiful sites on the way and a lot of wonderful roads. Headed north on the maze of interconnected interstates, till reaching California Hwy 97 and the Oregon border.

 

DSC00073

Found the detour to Crater Lake National Park – Massive volcano caldera (happily dormant) filled with beautiful, crystal clear water.

DSC00077

DSC00078

DSC00075

Pulled into the B&B at about 5pm , and went to a great little Mexican place a mile down the road for dinner, the El Caporal. Wasn’t allowed to have my first cigar of the trip outside – because of the FIRE Hazard !!

DSC00087

The Juniper Acres B&B was in a lovely spot, but was held back in a couple of its Primary Missions by bad beds, ridiculously thin pillows and a Shit Breakfast.  All this was compounded by a hostess who was, simultaneously: very talkative, opinionated, and Ill-Informed.

Tuesday August 22nd:

We set off for Walla Walla Washington and The Inn at Abeja filled with mis-givings, as Della (our hostess the night before) had given us a pretty good run-down as to what we might expect:

“I’ve been going there 30 years….my sister lives there you know….nothing much there…..not really anything to do…..why are you stopping there for two days??? I practiced doing her voice on Kathleen for much of the drive.

DSC00094 DSC00091 Louis and Clark Country – and the Mighty Columbia River…DSC00093

 

Arriving at the Inn at Abeja at around 4pm, we were immediately stunned by the stunning beauty and quality of our surroundings. I cursed Della out-loud as Kathleen admonished me for being unkind. “It’s not my fault. She’s stupid!!!”

t1

t2

 

 

20160823_090844

20160823_09504220160823_09514820160822_194314

 

20160823_095128

20160822_194306

Into town (also gorgeous) for a wonderful Farm-to-Table at The Ox & Cart, and back to the beautiful outdoor deck for that cigar that I’ve been carrying around for a week, a nightcap and bed.

20160822_194202

20160822_194521

Wednesday August 23rd

An amazing breakfast of sour-cherry scones, quiche made with the local sweet onions Walla Walla is famous for, and rosemary sausage. Taken ‘al fresco’ , it was so good that I had to give Della a couple of extra curses , just for luck.

20160823_090747

Off out on the bikes now to ‘tour’…….

20160823_121346

Last Days in Monterey…

Took in the Russo & Steele Auction in the evening – and aside from a near-miss with a 1964 Alfa GT Junior, was generally not that impressed.

Up early Saturday morning to play golf at Pebble Beach with Massa Moro-San our new Mazda US President. Always lovely there, had a good time. Met back up with KF for a nice lunch at the hotel, Concorso Italiano then the Mecum Auction at the Hyatt for a while. Mecum have really upped there game – some fantastic stuff there.

Attended the (now-traditional) Mazda gastronome/oenophile party at a house on Seventeen-mile drive on Saturday evening – fantastic as usual.20160819_160941_7058 20160820_170613_7078IMG_20160819_195227_7071 20160819_160902_7056

Monterey = Cars

Up early Friday morning, CJ Wilson picked me up at 6:30 am to attend Werks Reunion at Ranch Canada Golf Club in Carmel. Great event, and being with CJ was like being with the Mayor of Collector-Porsche Town: he knows everyone! An added benefit was the green 675LT that he picked me up in , which natch I had to drive, and one of which I now want. Rather calculating on his part I thought.

20160819_085840_7014 20160819_095947_7027 20160819_084837_7013 20160819_090021_7015 20160819_103440_7028 20160819_103519_7029

Monterey, Ca

The drive on Thursday from Santa Barbara to Monterey wasn’t long at around two hundred and fifty miles, but was beautiful and uneventful. We stayed on 101 mostly, because of the fires.

Checking into the Clement Monterey at around 4, we had time to relax, have a walk-about and get organized before joining the Mazda folks for dinner. Had a wonderful evening with Robert & Bonnie Davis, and saw lots of Mazda/Mazda Racing friends.

DSC00082

Santa Barbara, Last Night & Departure day (5)

Last early-evening we visited The Mill having seen it on our bikes and been attracted to it architecturally. It seemed to be a super-cool idea: a craft brewery, a craft winery,and a farm-to-table restaurant all in a co-operative sort of set-up. The down-fall: A LOT of RULES! wine-people aren’t allowed to visit with the beer-people, or vice-versa. Food could be delivered into the wine area or the beer area, but you could not step into the food area whilst in possession of wine (or beer). Food could not be…well, you get the picture. When the first three choices of the (local,craft-y) wine were unavailable, we decided to move on. I think maybe there was a ‘no-talking’ rule between the various areas too.

A local recommended an Italian restaurant for dinner, Ca’ Dario. Said the food is fantastic. So we went. Forgetting the old rule that when you’re from Chicago and have been exposed to the right Italian food, why the hell would you go to an Italian Restaurant in California?? As the food arrived, we were reminded. It was absolutely……average. Bordering on ‘Orrible. The good news was that the couple next to us (having taken a rarely-agreed-to picture of us both) informed us as they were leaving that were going to see Culture Club at the nearby Arlington Theatre!

Naturally we gave chase, bought a couple of tickets ‘down the front’ from a lady selling for half price, and had a great time. BG was tremendous – he could definitely make a living as a blues vocalist if the Culture Club thing goes south. Back at the Hotel we were befriended by a couple of Mclaren P1 owners who are great fans of our Mclaren P1-driving, baseball-throwing, Mazda-selling friend CJ Wilson who we’ll be seeing this weekend. Interesting guys.

The day ended with free Mclaren hats having been delivered to our room – they’re trying to sell slots on next year’s rally I think! More anon….

IMG_2732…Culture Club & Boy George
IMG_2731IMG_2730

Santa Barbara

Arriving back at the hotel we had to navigate a minor snafu – as we met a couple of bell-boys carting all of our hastily-packed stuff; we were being ejected!! (Not really – they had us mistakenly booked for only one night, and had written down our phone number incorrectly. A comedy of errors, which they could have handled much better.) As this was happening, the first of 22 Mclarens started arriving – the 2016 Mclaren Rally was descending upon the same hotel that we’d chosen! DSC00067 DSC00065 DSC00068 DSC00070

Santa Barbara, California

Wednesday morning we were up and out, deciding to start the day at Handlebar Coffee Roasters, then parking down at the sea-front and using the bikes to explore the town for a few hours. Since the famous La Super Rica is closed on Wednesdays, we chose Macs Fish & Chips for Brunch/Lunch, promising ourselves that Thursday we’d lunch at La Super Rica on the way out of town. Mac’s was awesome! IMG_2712IMG_2707Pretty nice rig…IMG_2709