WSU Gnome Rides Again!

Folks, this has been one hell of a long year. Due to work and a fluke in our planning, Michelle and I have not had more than one day off since our trip to Cannon Beach in April. For the record, that is ENTIRELY too long!!

So, with our Labor Weekend trip to Walla Walla in the offing, she and I have been counting down the days! Finally, Thursday rolled around, and we loaded up the rental vehicle for a trip east!

So, I don’t know how things are in your neck of the woods, but in Seattle there is NO worse traffic than a 3-day weekend Friday get away! Traffic can be backed up for hours and miles! Given this, we decided to take off Thursday morning!

We slept in a bit Thursday and had breakfast. Fried eggs and butternut squash were YUMMY! Somewhere around 9 AM we headed out the door.

Now normally, by 9 AM, rush hour has diminished.  However, out of nowhere, the clouds opened up and the rains came. SOMEHOW, my people in Seattle flat forget how to drive in the rain over the summer! So, the 12 miles it is from our house to I 90 took 45 minutes!

Once on 90 though, we flew! We got past Bellevue and onto Snoqualmie Pass. All was good until a construction truck kicked up a rock and chipped the windshield! Now normally I’d be mad, but I made sure to buy the damage waiver when I rented the Jeep! Hell, a steam roller could flatten it and it won’t cost me a dime! I just smiled and kept us going east!

As we traveled, the temps started rising. Summer has NOT released its hold over here and we will be in the 90s to 100!! UGH!!  Luckily our A/C worked well.

Along about Prosser (A little town east of Yakima) we got hungry. We turned to Yelp and came across Wine O’Clock. It is attached to the Bunnell Family winery. We got there, and were seated immediately! I ordered half a pizza and Michelle the Risotto. As we were waiting, she got a glass of their Syrah.

As we were sitting there the older couple next to us had a million questions for the server. What is your sweetest wine? Can I taste that? What is this? How is this made? What is sangria….  On and on.  Meanwhile the group of 4 to the other side were trying to make tweaks to the menu to make themselves happy.  It was high maintenance hell!!

Our food finally arrived and I REALLY wish I could tell you it was good… WAY too salty, and Michelle’s wine was pretty much tasteless. All in all pretty much unsatisfactory, but at least it filled our stomachs!

We decided to stop at Chandler Reach a few miles down the road for a relaxing sit on the deck, a GOOD glass of wine and the sound of a fountain!

 It was a good half hour away from the road, hight maintenance people and the stress of the west side.  I think our vacation officially started on this deck!

We made it to Walla Walla about an hour later, with the sun blazing. It was in the mid 90s! We made it to our little VRBO. It’s the perfect size for just two of us. HOWEVER, we are here for about 5 days and there is only 1 yep roll of the toilet paper in the whole place!! Yeah, we put it on our shopping list….

We headed for town, and stopped at Bledsoe Family Winery (owned by one of the best WSU quarterbacks ever Drew Bledsoe!)

Now both Michelle and I had heard his wine was NOT that good! But, we disagreed! It aint cheap though! We bought one bottle to save for my birthday!

After this, it was off to Basserie Four (Michelle’s favorite place!) for dinner! Luckily the server was fine with my wicked french ordering skills. Just point and say “I want this cheese thingie and this here sandwich doohickey!” It never fails!

This morning we slept in until 7 (late for us) then walked to the Maple Counter cafe for a killer breakfast! We then walked around downtown for a bit, checking out bookstores, bike stores, getting coffee and ending up at the Forward Boutique where we met Daisha. (I stole this picture from her Instagram!)

She took one look at Michelle and asked, “Do you have time for me to pick out some outfits for you!??” When Michelle said yes, I found a chair and busted out the Kindle. This girl rocked it! Perfect jeans, some excellent shirts and great cowgirl boots! My wife is hotter than hell every day, Daisha made her even hotter! (Yes I may have whistled a few times as Michelle modeled for me!) She deserved to be pampered and Daisha did so!

From there is was out for wine tasting. The first stop was the old standby Dusted Valley! (The gnome made his first appearance!)

We met Evelyn there, who was working solo. My Dusted Valley volunteer mode kicked in, and I helped her entertain two couples from Bend Oregon. It is much easier on the folks behind the counter if someone else helps do the visiting and chatting!

From there it was off to Feliciana. Both Lisa and Chandler and Daisha said they had amazing sangria

Folks I am not a sangria fan, but Michelle liked it. More than just her, 3 people came into the tasting room to get a growler (or 2!) of the sangria as this is the last weekend it is available for this year!

I did a tasting of their wine AND played a pit with the giant Jenga game!

The grounds were gorgeous but it was just too hot to sit outside!

What we hadn’t realized is that when we turned left to go the winery we left Washington and ended up in Oregon! I guess State Line road really means the State line!!

The final stop was March/Vital winery.

The March winery was named for the pioneers of old. March was the last month you could leave Missouri to have a chance to get through the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains before the snow flew. The Vital wines are made from donated grapes. The money from this wine goes to a fund to help migrant farm workers in need. A worthy cause, so we bought one!

The wine tasting manager was Ashly, and a very nice lady. She did her best to chat with us even though there was a major power washing and forklift operation going on outside!

All in all it was a great day. We got back to the place we are staying (we bought more TP earlier JUST in case!) and then walked to dinner.

Now we are relaxing with a bottle of Dusted Valley Malbec and a cranked up air conditioner! All in all a great day!


4 thoughts on “WSU Gnome Rides Again!

  1. From reading this, I could tell this was a much-needed vacation. Heck, even your readers have been long overdue for a Mountainstroh vacation! Enjoy the next few days—now that you have plenty of TP!!

  2. Aah, plenty of wine and some Cougar Gold sounds like a dream weekend, Tony! I passed two cyclists in Edmonds yesterday and one had a RAMROD jersey while the other wore WSU. I thought of you and Michelle and hoped you were off to something fun. Turns out you were!

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