Have you been anxiously waiting to hear about Saturday's "event"? I hope I haven't kept you waiting too long with all my lazy laying about yesterday--I needed a day to recover!
We started off at the office with a light breakfast of pastries, fruit, and juice--and I stopped at Starbucks on the way there, because all the best journeys begin at Starbucks! By 9 a.m. our bus had arrived and we'd all loaded up for the mystery trip. First stop? R.P.M. Indoor Kart Racing here in Sacramento!
OMG, I can't remember the last time I had so much fun! The only drawback? It was awfully HOT and we had to suit up in racing gear, including a heavy-weight suit, head sock, neck brace, and helmet. I thought I was going to die, especially once I was strapped in and racing around the track! Before that, though, we had to watch an instructional video and divide up into teams; afterward, we each got a five-lap practice run, which also determined qualifying time. Next, the racers with the best time from each team raced to determine pole position, and finally there was a 45-minute endurance relay, in which each member of the team had to participate. Our most aggressive team ended up being disqualified for causing too many accidents! My team came in fourth place out of nine teams--pretty respectable, I think.
After the races, we stayed at R.P.M. for a lunch of sandwiches, chips, and cookes. Before loading back onto the bus, we had time for a group photo, and ice chests filled with soft drinks, wine, and beer were brought out, as were VATS of mojitos and margaritas for the next leg of the ride. After all, we wouldn't want to get too thirsty!
After about an hour on the road, driving through the Sierra Nevada foothills, our bus turned onto a small road and traveled up a hill to the C. G. diArie Winery in El Dorado County, not too far from historic Placerville. The logo for the winery consists of the two Egyptian lions and the calipers with the glass of wine--and that was the logo on our shirts of course! The calipers? The wife of the husband and wife team that owns the winery is also an artist, and her art works line the walls of the public spaces in the winery.
On the grounds of the winery, there's a wonderful tent imported from India, and tables had been set up for us under the tent.
Here's a better look at that view:
Throughout the afternoon, servers mingled among us with wonderful treats to eat. Each of us received a booklet of recipes and the caterer demonstrated several for us, and we were given samples to try.
A little later, our large group split into two smaller groups. While one group stayed for more cooking demonstrations, the other group was taken on a tour of the winery.
Because it's harvest time, these vats were being filled and the wine was fermenting--the heady scent of fermentation filled the air. Here the wine maker told us about the process--he has a patent pending on these vats.
In another room, we tasted some of the younger wines amid the wine barrels. Yum!
Dinner was served buffett style with various dishes set up at different stations. One station had green salad with gorgonzola cheese and fresh fruit, poached salmon, and black rice with mushrooms. Another station had lettuce wraps with a chicken, onion, and pepper filling. The third station had pork loin, au gratin potatoes, and different kinds of bread with butter. All of the food was wonderful! And to end the meal? The table in the center of the tent was filled with trays of bite-sized desserts! Best of all, as we dined, we watched the sun drop below the hills.
As you may imagine, the bus ride back to the office was somewhat subdued, but we were a happy, contented bunch. And as we departed the bus at 10 p.m. that night, we were each given a bottle of wine to commemorate the day. What a great time!