Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some other time, Walla Walla, Washington

We kind of disappeared for a couple of days into the Yakima Valley. We had no strong inclination to visit the region other than to head east away from the rain in Seattle. From a quick search online I decided on the town of Prosser, reportedly in the heart of eastern Washington wine country. I admit I was disappointed as to the charm of this wine region--nothing like Napa/Sonoma, but being near ignorant of wine culture I figured why be judgmental on a thing as trivial as appearances? Still, a strip mall setting does take away some of the allure of the wine tasting experience.

There certainly was plenty of sunshine along with plenty of wineries and tasting rooms. Our first day there Robert and Allison enjoyed lounging in the RV park: Robert caught up on Sunday sports; Allie tackled the playground. Me, I walked the asphalt to the closest batch of tasting rooms. I can't say I fully enjoyed the wine. Vino at noon doesn't sit well with me. But I did enjoy my conversation with the owners of the Thurston Wolfe winery. I caught them behind their building hosing down the patio looking totally unglamorous in yellow Playtex gloves and rubber boots. They'd just finished a crush and were cleaning up. We joked about my look behind the curtain. They weren't hobbyists, but the real deal. Typically, I imagine the life of a wine maker to look like the spread in a luxury lifestyle magazine: a late afternoon sun setting on people gathered around an expensive linen-covered table surrounded with wood chairs pulled from the dining room and a bounty of cheese, artisan breads, and other delectables arrayed in rustic ceramic platters.

I considered leading us into Walla Walla for more wine excursions, but it's not really the best activity for a family so we began heading southwest towards the Columbia River. Now we would refocus on scenic drives and historical sites. We left the arid Yakima Valley for a dip into the forested moist landscape of the Columbia River Gorge. It seems we are continually passing through one diverse climate to another. It may be what sticks in my mind the most: How amazingly diverse the geology and climate of the North American continent. Well, any continent for that matter. It's just that this one is the first I've ever traversed across. And we only have something like 38 more states to visit.

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