We met up with Kati in St. Helena and drove together looking for photo opportunities. We took side roads, shot along the road and returned to St. Helena for lunch, taking photos around town and looking like photo-tourists. Late in the afternoon we stopped at St. Supéry, a winery that Kati has visited before. It was that stop that made the day memorable for me.
"What can I do for you?"
"I would like to purchase three tastings."
He smiled. "There is only one of you. It is better to taste with friends."
"Oh, my friends are still outside taking pictures."
That is how I met Joe. He set out three glasses. By the time Kati and Tom came in, Joe and I were already good friends. Joe is beyond retirement age, wears a mischievous grin and enjoys his part time job more than anything he could do in retirement. It shows.
I asked him why we sometimes saw red rose bushes at the end of a row of vines.
"Well, there are folk tale reasons, some reasons that might be true and then, of course, you can make up your own. One is that they are pretty. Another is that they are very sensitive to aphids and serve as early warning sentries for growers of an impending problem. They are said to be useful to tractor drivers as they navigate narrow rows in the dark hours of the wee morning, letting them know that they have enough clearance to go down a new row."
So many more questions and answers were shared. Before leaving I asked if I could take his picture. "Sure" he said. As long as I would join him. Kati did the honors.
Joe made our day. By the time we left I was ready to return and apply for a job to work with him.
Between questions, answers and tasting, we took a few photos. These will bring back memories of the place more than anything else.
I remembered Cory's advice. "Don't overlook the small things." This one is for Cory.
Our hope of finding a road up a hill that would offer a great view of the valley was only partially met. There are few public roads up the hills and vegetation right up to the road made a clear panoramic view impossible. We spent a lot of time driving and little time photographing. The following will give you an idea from the one site that we found.
Entry driveways are quite photogenic.
This is the old family house on the Supéry Winery.
This was once a winery owned by a Christian monastery. It is now a branch of the Culinary Institute of America.
Vines are used to cover old buildings. This time of year they are colorful.
Only one shot of our stroll through St. Helena is offered. We may be able to creatively rescue some more photos later. The best time to shoot in St. Helena is very early morning before traffic and people start moving about. The story on this one is that it is of a car that Tom did not recognize!!! Do you know what it is? It is a rather classy car that impressed even Tom from an unlikely manufacturer.
Today we are leaving the Bay area and headed for Yosemite. We are told that we can drive through the park but we cannot stop anywhere along the way. Thank goodness Tom is now a seasoned photographer in the rare genre of car window photography. Our goal is to overnight somewhere near Mono Lake. We are indeed on the home stretch of this trip.
We are glad you are part of our journey. We hope you can get out and do some clicking on your camera.