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June 18, 2006

Daytour to Napa and an real gun show

The Travel Channel

Yesterday half of the Norwegians here took a road trip north to visit a Napa valley, the most fameous winery-district in America. From Mountain View it is about a two hour drive to the city of Napa, so we arrived there just before noon. There we were advised at a bike rental-place to go a bit further into the valley and rent bikes in the township of a Yountville instead, as it was supposed to be a much nicer and more rural area compared to Napa itself, and that was good advice indeed!

In retrospect we should have left earlier in the morning so that we could have spent more time in Napa, because biking around the valley was completely awesome! We got a type of hybrid-street bikes and simply navigated a square along Yount Street, Yountville Cross Road, Silverado Trail, Oak Knoll Avenue and up the St.Helena highway bringing us back to Yountville, and stopped at the wineyards Goosecross, Stag's Leap and Monticello on our way. With flat terrain, around 38°C and blue skies it was a beautiful warm and sunny day on the bikes, and the physical activity just made the stops we did really refreshing. Five of us decided to drive the car around instead of biking, and they really missed out on the best of the trip! While the wine wasn't superb the beauty of riding through the area more than made up for that, so this is a trip I can recommend completely! In total we used about 4 hours to complete the trip including the stops, and it was probably a good thing that we finished when we did because a few of us started to get some bad sunburns by then. After we returned the bikes around 5:30p.m the original plan was to locate a motel and stay overnight to check out the neighbouring Sonoma Valley the next morning, but most people wanted to get back to Mountain View right away so all of us ended up following suit, so we got home a lot earlier than expected.

As we hadn't eaten much all day I joined Marthe, Arthur and Eivind to have dinner at Cascal, a very good spanish tapas place just down on Castro St. While not beeing authenticly spanish the food was great, and afterwards we headed towards San Jose to meet up with the rest of the crowd that had gathered on Santana Row. Unfortunatly noone knew exactly where that was, so we ended up spending almost two hours looking in downtown San Jose before figuring out we should go to the other side of town. That was a real bummer, but at least we eventually got over to Santana Row and caught up to the others at the Hotel Valencia VBar. It was small, crowded and very expensive ($18 for double drinks!), but we still had a great time there and it kept great at the following nachspiels in various apartments around Park Place afterwards.

I had planned to spend all of sunday by the pool and finally getting through some of the required books for our classes, but just after finishing a nice long talk with Carina after I woke up, Øystein came and asked if I wanted to go to a real american gun show at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. I couldn't let that chance pass me by so we went over there and checked out plenty of special forces knives, classic swords, hunting rifles, M4 assaults and a wide range of other hand-guns and related items. While not as big as expected it was still pretty cool to go to such a show, even if I didn't end up buying anything. Everything at the show closed down around 4p.m, so then we headed into San Jose where ended up having lunch a SubWay and then just going back to Park Place where I finally got in some hours by the pool to read through most of "Marketing Warfare". And now after another eventful weekend I'm going to bed early to be up and about for a new day at work tomorrow morning.

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