After days of stressful Stevie driving, sketchy neighbourhoods, and unscheduled mechanical adventures, we finally got to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labours. Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have landed in wine country (JB: Yay! We love wine.)
As Jenn has noted previously, we considered briefly going to Tuscany for our celebration of my unemployment, but we ultimately wanted to be with our puppies so we chose the FreedomAdventure with Stevie instead. A key factor in deciding our route was one particular winery. We had the pleasure of tasting wines from Hedges Family Estates in our wine club in the middle of winter at home Calgary, (OB: that wine tasting event was probably in April, it’s Calgary after all, and the winters never seem to end) and knew we had to go visit their location on Red Mountain. We were not disappointed, let me tell you!
The tasting room at Hedges is lovely, with the shaded garden patio and fountain overlooking the rolling hills of the vineyards providing a stunning backdrop. I imagine they have replicated Tuscany in a small way. They also keep chickens on site, as they use them to eat insects that are harmful to the grapes. They practice biodynamic farming and wine-making on much of their property – very cool. Their wines are an absolute treat, but we helped ourselves to only 2 bottles as Stevie just doesn’t have the capacity for much more ☹ .
The folks at Hedges recommended several other wineries to visit, and we hit up Tapteil Vinyards for our next stop. They also had some excellent wines, and yes, we may have come away with a couple more bottles 😊 . Even better, they recommended a place in Richland where we could eat on the patio with Saela and Pepper. We were hot and hungry by this point, so we took their advice and drove over to Lu Lu Craft Bar and Kitchen. What an outstanding pub! The location was excellent, the food was superb, and best yet, they loved our dogs! Heck they served Saela and Pepper water before Jenn or I could order anything 😉 . (OB: Side note – apparently there is a campground in Richland that offers limo wine tours…. But, WE stayed at a local RV site that was easily 70% permanent residential. Great choice, J&J.)
After a late lunch and the heat of the day, it was nap time – because who doesn’t want to take a nap after food and wine, right? We had a relaxing final evening in Washington, then packed up and started the next leg of our adventure into our 4th state of the trip. We chose to take Highway 14 West (instead of the interstate) from Benton all the way to Portland. Man, what an amazing road! The change in landscape from farmland to mesas to forested mountains all along the Columbia river is simply breathtaking.
And best of all, there are wineries there too 😊 We stopped at Maryhill winery planning to have just a quick taste – it was super hot out and we didn’t want to leave the dogs in Stevie for more than a few minutes. (We pull the blinds and crank the fan for them if we have to leave them in Stevie). Turns out they don’t just encourage dogs, they demand you bring them inside 😊 . So Saela and Pepper were once again the stars of the show. The folks at Maryhill dressed them, fed them, and made them feel very welcome. Great for us, as we were able to sample 13 different wines! The selection is excellent, and they do great Mediterranean styles including Spanish, French and Italian grapes like tempranillo and sangiovese – 2 of my all time favs! They also had a stunning patio so we decided to stay for pizza. To our surprise and delight, one of our favourites wines here was a sangiovese rose – we had half a bottle with lunch and took 2 more for the road.
Finally, we continued our journey through Portland and on to the hills just before the coast. It was a great couple of days, and we look forward to seeing the ocean tomorrow.
JB: Hang on, they story isn’t over yet. Jer failed to mention that his intrepid exploration skills landed the crew on a remote gravel road in the middle of nowhere! My god, he is trying to get us all killed! There was dust and skidding and swearing like you wouldn’t believe!
Jer: Yah, but we made it.