One would think that when a wine enthusiast enthusiastically shouts 'ROAD TRIP!' in the middle of a discussion about wine, that friends would line up to jump into the back seat of her band wagon. One would think. But after years of suggesting this I am still stuck in my small town nowhere near the wine regions I so desperately want to visit. In cases like these one must take matters into one's own hands. I believe in flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to travel but have a vague idea about driving southeast and exploring Washington's Columbia Valley for a few days. Then I would zag my way west to experience Oregon's Willamette Valley and finally drive nearly due south into one of the most famous wine producing place I could conceivably drive to, the Napa Valley. What do you say? Will you join me even if it's only in our conjoined imaginations?
DAY ONE: ABBOTSFORD B.C. TO YAKIMA WASHINGTON
We will meet at Whatcom Wine & Spirits where I'll leave my car so that you can drive. I will ask you to head to Timmy's for what will be my second of about five cups of coffee for the day. Once at the border crossing you will have to listen to me fret about choosing the wrong lane and try not to snap at me. Once across the border we will find a place to enjoy brunch. It will probably be in Bellingham but be prepared to stop in Lynden if the border traffic has been particularly horrendous. I guarantee I will be hungry and grumpy. At this point you might begin to ask yourself if it was a good idea to go on this road trip with me. After brunch we'll hit the road again with a much happier, highly caffeinated version of me. Expect to stop at a few of the rest areas along the way. When we pass the outlet malls at Burlington and Tulalip, I will beg you to stop and let me buy things. It is your job, as the driver, to move us towards our destination in an efficient, timely manner. I will tell you that I can be quick, but be assured that this is an untruth. Be firm. Consider it a good thing that I have stopped speaking to you for a while.
Just south of Everett we will make a detour to visit our first winery, famous Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville. We will make sure to taste all of the really expensive wines. After enough tasting I will whip out my MasterCard and attempt to purchase a few bottles I cannot afford. Another one of your jobs as my travel companion is to monitor how often the credit card is extracted and to caution me about buying too much wine. Cite reasons such as trunk space and exorbitant duties at the Canada-USA border to keep me in check.
Continuing south we will eventually reach Seattle where I will make you go downtown to eat a few Top Pot doughnuts with me. This will only make sense to you once we walk into the establishment and you see the dozens of handmade doughnuts on display and breathe in the aromas of fresh dark roast coffee. You will understand why we need to walk up to the balcony and sit down amongst the book lined walls; you may even thank me for the enlightenment. Once we leave Seattle we will be driving into uncharted territory and this is where the real adventure begins. On the road to Yakima we will look for interesting places to stop. This will certainly delay our progress and we can expect to arrive in town at dinner time. We will find somewhere to eat dinner, and (hopefully) over delicious Mexican soul food we will plan out our winery visits for the following day, making sure to solicit the recommendations of everyone we meet.