A Weekend in Wine Country

As promised, here’s a review of the weekend that Matt and I enjoyed in California’s Temecula wine country earlier this month!  I’ll pick up where I left off in my last post – Las Vegas, NV.

On Friday afternoon Matt and I finished up our work week at the Sands Convention Center around 5PM.  We picked up a rental car at the airport and set out on a 4 hour drive over the mountains and through the Mojave Desert to Temecula, California.  The sunset was beautiful!!

We arrived at Ponte Vineyard Inn in what felt like the middle of the night and went to sleep immediately, oblivious to our surroundings.  (Between the long week in Vegas and still sort of being on East Coast time, we were exhausted!)  It wasn’t until I woke up early the next morning and peeked out the window that I realized we had arrived in a beautiful fantasy land of vineyards, sweeping vistas, and gorgeous weather.  I snapped this photo through a crack in the drapes before going back to sleep for an hour to dream about wine and hot air balloons.  🙂

4 View out our window Saturday morning

Matt and I officially began our first day in Temecula with a 3 mile run that took us past 4 wineries, orange groves, and a horse farm.  Then we set out by car to Mount Palomar Winery where we feasted on an outdoor lunch at Shorty’s Bistro before enjoying a leisurely 6-wine tasting in Mount Palomar’s relaxing, flower-filled courtyard.  True to its name, Mount Palomar is situated on a high hill with breathtaking views of wine country.  We wandered up to the terraced gardens and took a few photos – the blue California sky with perfect fluffy white clouds was unreal!

We next visited Wiens Family Cellars, which is conveniently located less than a quarter mile from Ponte Vineyard Inn.  (Which should have been an easy walk except I was in heels and it was a deep gravel road… good thing there was wine waiting for us at Wiens!!)  We did another 6-wine tasting at Wiens while snacking on cheese and crackers before trekking back to Ponte (where I promptly changed my shoes!).  Then it was time for our final tasting of the day at our ‘home’ winery, Ponte Family Estate.  We took our time working our way through Ponte’s selections (our favorite was their 2011 Zinfandel Holiday Reserve), then headed back to the room to relax (and blog about the Security 5K) before enjoying a late dinner at The Restaurant at Ponte.  All in all a great day!

On Sunday we visited Miramonte Winery.  Like Mount Palomar, Miramonte is up on a hill overlooking the vineyards and they had a beautiful outdoor space that encouraged relaxed, comfortable wine tasting.  The Miramonte bar tender served our Sangria with a little champagne and ice and we liked it so much we bought a bottle to bring back to Ponte with us.  Once we returned to Ponte we walked over to the other neighboring winery, South Coast, where we split a few glasses of wine over lunch.  Then we took a guided tour of Ponte’s vineyards, tasted some “young” wine straight out of a steel cask, and sampled a port wine that was still in the process of barrel aging.

All of that tasting and touring made us tired, so we settled down with our books (well, Kindle and iPad, to be exact) in Ponte Inn’s courtyard for some reading accompanied by Miramonte’s Sangria.  Reading, sunshine, and sangria made for a lovely afternoon but I have to admit that by the time we made it to our 8PM dinner at Ponte’s outdoor restaurant, I was super sleepy and just felt like drinking water!!

On Monday morning we said goodbye to Ponte paradise and headed back to the real world of business meetings.  Fortunately we finished up our meetings (and made it thru LA traffic) fairly quickly which gave us time to explore the area around our hotel in Irvine.  I did a quick web search and discovered that we were fairly close to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, so we drove to the access point at Woods End Wilderness Preserve and set out on a hike on the rolling hills above Laguna Woods.

The weather was pleasantly hot (80°?) and we jogged a little before being startled by a loud noise on the side of the trail.  We stopped and discovered a huge orange rattlesnake casually sunning himself on the edge of the trail… eek! (I guess he thought 80° was pleasantly hot, too!!)  We gave him a wide berth and continued on our hike (keeping away from the trail’s sunny side), but I was a little freaked out so we didn’t make it much further before I voted to turn around and head carefully back to the car.

Tuesday marked the end of our west coast adventure.  After some meetings in the morning we headed to LAX (again, somehow managing to miss all LA traffic, which was awesome!) and returned home.  I always like arriving home after a long trip, but I have to say that California was pretty amazing.  Our weekend in Temecula wine country was completely relaxing with beautiful weather, good wine, and, of course, good company.  🙂  I thoroughly enjoyed our time there and I would go back in a heartbeat!

Security 5K in Las Vegas!

Hello blog world!  Matt and I are enjoying a relaxing weekend southwest of L.A. in California’s Temecula wine country.  We tasted wine all day and as I type this post I am sitting on our private patio at Ponte Vineyard Inn looking out at this gorgeous view of grape vines and mountains… AMAZING!

Ponte Vineyard Inn

I’m getting ahead of myself, though.  I’m sure I’ll be doing a full recap of our time in Temecula next week, but the purpose of this post is to recap the 5K that Matt and I ran in Las Vegas on Thursday!  The race was the Security 5K, a fundraiser event sponsored by the security conference/expo that we were exhibiting at in Vegas for work.  Here I am post-race, just before we jumped on a shuttle bus to get back to our hotel in time for the expo’s 10am start.

Annie Security 5K

The flat 3.1 mile course was a few miles off the strip at a local park just south of the airport.  There were 380 participants (308 men and 71 women) and the race started at 7:30am.  I typically eat breakfast 3 hours before race time, which meant that I had to venture down to the Palazzo Casino’s gaming floor to get breakfast at 4:30am.  That’s the earliest I’ve been in a casino and there were some interesting characters down there who had definitely been up drinking and gambling all night!

The start of the race was pretty chaotic.  The only other race that I’ve done with more than 300 participants was last year’s Turkey Trot.  For that race they had the 600+ runners lined up on a road that was the same width as the starting line so that start went pretty smoothly.  That was not the case for the Vegas 5K though, where all 380 runners plus all of the 2K walkers were massed together in a big, wide blob at the start line.  The crowd was significantly wider than the start line, so when the gun went off everyone patiently began to walk forward before politely waiting their turn to cross the line.   This makes sense because the race was chipped, but it was still weird not to take off running when the race started!!!

Matt Security 5K

Matt finished the race 122nd overall (113th male) with a 24:41.  I finished 146th overall (13th female!) with a 25:26.  I’ve really been hoping to go sub-25 but considering the traveling, long work hours at the expo, and higher than usual elevation, I was pretty happy with my time.  As my splits show, I felt like I got a great start (I even kept up with Matt for a while!) but then my speed sort of petered out in the last mile.  I didn’t know at the time because the race was chipped, but the 12th place woman beat me by less than a second! I’m pretty sure that I would have been able to run a little faster at the finish if we had been running neck and neck, so I’m going to use this as a lesson to always finish as strong as I possibly can, especially in a chipped race where the actual person you’re competing against might be several seconds ahead of or behind you.

Security 5K Runkeeper Stats

After the 5K we spent Thursday and Friday working at the expo.  Then we packed up on Friday and headed west to California!  I’ll wrap up this post on that note because it’s time for me to stop blogging and start reading a book while watching the sun set over the vineyards.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday evening!

Miles since last post:  20.0
Days since last post:  6
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2014 TOTAL MILES: 456.3

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