A Sunny Afternoon in Wine Country (Day 33)

Monday began with a late start. Ryan had slept poorly, I had work to catch up on, and we ended up leaving one minute before our hotel’s 11:00am check-out time.

Our original plan was to find a place to stay, then spend a half day or so in San Francisco, but our late start and some difficulty finding a campground nixed that idea. Instead we took a scenic detour through Napa Valley on our way to the campground.

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It’s kind of terrible but I was so overwhelmed by how many wineries we were passing that we ended up stopping … at none of them. I know. But it was fun to see some familiar names on the signs we were passing (Bonterra, Beringer, and Robert Mondavi, to name a few). I think I didn’t want to stop at one of the big wineries, but at the same time I was afraid I’d choose to stop at the one bad winery in all of Napa Valley. That’s how my mind works.

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Probably a perfectly lovely vineyard.

Before setting up camp some housekeeping stops were in order: a much-needed trip to the laundromat, and a quick grocery store run for some camping essentials (oatmeal, wine, paper towels …).

This may have been the earliest we’ve set up camp yet, but we were both pretty ready to be done for the night. The campground at Samuel P. Taylor State Park is pretty nice, although it isn’t ideally set up for car camping. Most of the tent camping sites had parking spots on the road, with a picnic table, fire ring, and tent spot down below in the woods. It would have been pretty cozy if we’d been tent camping, but we had to make a few laps before finding a spot to suit our needs — somewhere we could comfortably park without being in the road.


Our campsite is off to the left, but we’d have to share the parking pad with other campers if anyone shows up for the spot on the right. (You can see the trail to their site going up the hill.) Fingers crossed no one shows up!


And here’s our little site. They even have a nice charcoal grill and a food storage box to thwart hungry animals. (I hear the raccoons are pretty bad here, too.)

And I’d like to point out that, after an afternoon in California’s wine country … I’m drinking Washington state wine. Sorrynotsorry.


I’m the oldest of 12 crazy kids and two pretty awesome parents. My love of travel developed during my early years traveling the globe as an Air Force brat. I’m a runner, a writer, and a reader, and I love cooking up good food and cozying up our camper.

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