Sonoma (Aug 20)

Today was our first day at the track.  It’s a pretty amazing facility.  It’s set in an area of rolling hills so the course has a lot of elevation changes and no real straightaway, which makes it extremely demanding to drive.  The Target hospitality was set up at the top of the Turn 7 Terrace and overlooked most of the track.  The only disadvantage was the long shuttle ride to get there.  We watched afternoon practice from the pits and Chip stopped by and invited us to stay for dinner.  Since we hadn’t found a restaurant on the way to the track, our lunch consisted of overpriced fast food so it was a pretty compelling offer.

Since security around the parking areas seemed pretty lax, we decided to take a chance on driving up to Turn 7 and parking next to hospitality.  Since we were early, we had the advantage of meeting a few people at a time as they arrived.  I actually managed to retain the names of 12 new people, which is probably a personal record for me.  Before the dinner started, Chip asked everyone introduce themselves and talk about their connection to him.  It was cool to meet so many interesting people, some of them dating back to grade school or high school.  We were the relative newcomers, only having known Chip for 15 years.

But the real highlight of the evening was a personal wine tasting given by the owner of Trattore wines, Tim Bucher.  He brought 4 wines from the 2008 harvest – Roussanne, Viognier, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel.  I’ve never even heard of the first two varietals (both whites).  All of them were outstanding and besides enjoying the tasting and having the wines with dinner, we were given two bottles of the Zinfandel to take with us.  SCORE!  A totally awesome evening all around.

Our cottage has a hummingbird feeder on the patio and I have been tormenting myself every morning trying to get some decent photos.  Actually I have been trying for about 10 years to get that perfect hummingbird photo, at this point I should concede that it’s an impossible quest.  Here’s one of the better ones.

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