Sunday, September 23, 2012

DAY 33- From Goodbye to Wineries...

It was tough saying goodbye to Aunt Lindy in the morning.  I had stayed a week and she had made me so right at home.  I limited myself to hugging her twice and could’ve hugged her more.  It had been 8 years since I last visited her and I really hope that I get back again before another 8 years pass by.  There are always so many excuses not to do things; why do we do that to ourselves?

Photo- A painting someone did of Aunt Lindy's house.

I headed west on Hwy 140 over to Medford.  I had covered much of this drive when I took that scenic drive on DAY 30- the Rogue- Umpqua Scenic Byway.  The plan was to end up in Roseburg which is north and west of Klamath Falls.  I know some of you out there are saying she’s heading the wrong way, but there’s a bit of reasoning in my slight madness; or I would like to think so.

I saw a wonderful sight about 20 miles outside of Medford; 10 cyclists zooming right along in a tight straight paceline next to HWY 140.  I slowed and gave them plenty of room and so did the car in front of me that had 2 road bicycles on top of it.  I wish I could’ve gotten a picture but it would’ve been too dangerous to the cyclist for me to stop along that section.  I also shortly after that got followed closely by a Sheriff’s car for about 2 miles.  But what a wonderful sight those cycilts were!
Photo- Store sign in Grants Pass.

I barely clipped the corner of the larger city area of Medford before turning north on to Interstate 5.  I headed over to the town of Grants Pass where I ended up having lunch.  I got out of the car and walked around Grants Pass’s historical downtown area.  I took several pictures and just explored.  I also watched this lady that was standing on the corner demonstrating about the war on drugs.  Grants Pass seems to be an interesting melting pot of all types.  I was getting a kick out of some of the signs and names for shops.
Photo- Another store sign in Grants Pass.

I stumbled upon a place called the Laughing Clam.  The Laughing Clam is a small pub that has a very unique flavor.  The beer changes from moment to moment; and in fact, there’s a board that states the beers of the moment with a clock in the corner.  They cross off a beer as it runs out and then when they can they switch it out to another beer.  The gal at in the bar said that there are so many great northwestern micro brews that it seems a shame to stick with just one.  There’s old taps with the names of microbrew beers in frames up along the wall opposite the bar area.  The bar area is an old antique bar with wood and glass mirrors and you pull up to a nice wooden bar that fits it.  The rest of the inside is a rough red brick and there’s a light worn wooden floor.  It just has a wonderful feel.  I had a wonderful Irish stew which was the special of the day with a glass of – you guess it—Heffie!  It also came with a nice salad too.  Yes, I do every now and then eat vegetables!  All of that was at the reasonable price of $11.
Photo- Window of the Laughing Cow.
Photo- The Beer of the Moment Sign.
Photo- Old microbrew beer taps that line the upper wall opposite the bar.

Interstate 5 zigged up and zagged down through a few mountain passes after Grants Pass.  The funny thing was I kept seeing cars with green flags and yellow paraphilia going by me.  There were even some rear windows with yellow duck foot prints.  I kind of found it amusing but there must have been a game nearby or maybe they are really serious about showing their team spirit in this section of the state.
Photo- The Grave Creek covered bridge.

I took a quick stop off when I saw a sign about a covered bridge.  This area has 7 covered bridges in the area and I had hoped to see a few of them.  This covered bridge was a very well-maintained white painted beauty that was about ½ mile off of the Interstate.  The name on it was Grave Creek.  I wasn’t the only one that was visiting it; there were three other cars and I ended up parking and walking up to read the sign information and to take pictures of it.

I got off at Roseburg, located my hotel but it was too early to check in and besides which I was hoping to get a couple of wineries under my belt.  But first I wanted to swing by the Oregon Visitor’s Center that I saw signs for.  Well, I finally found the center after driving by it three times.  They have all of these colorful signs about the center up high and then the actual sign for the center is low and rather obscure.

I talked with the lovely older lady at the center about visiting wineries and she told me about a few that she really liked, and I also grabbed a brochure about the covered bridges in the area.  I was off real quick because it was now about 4pm and most of the tasting rooms close at 5PM. 
Photo- The wonderful landscaping at Melrose Winery.

The first winery I stopped at was the Melrose.  The tasting room was in a rustic barn.  There was a table out front where they were saleing tickets for a BBQ- Wine Stomping event they were having from 4 to 9 PM.  It sounded like fun and was a reasonable price but all I could think of is I would’ve had purple feet and I really wanted to try to visit 2 wineries.  Oh, and did I mention that they were also doing a Lucie lookalike contest too.  Sorry I left my Lucille Ball costume in my 5’x5’ in SLC!  No, just kidding!  I went into their tasting room and I was the only one.  I was wondering if it was closed it was so quiet.  They had three wine tastes for free or 6 for $10 that included the wine glass.  I opted for the 6 for $10; though, I’ll probably break the wine glass in my car.  I like the Riesling because it was very sweet, and they had an award winning red blend that was very nice too.
Photo- Galser's Winery where there's a tasting room in the rear.
Photo- Just off of the Glaser's tasting room a wonderful area to spend some time and taste wine.

Next I went to the lovely little winery of Glaser.  There was a lively bunch in the tasting room here.  I ended up finding out that one of the couples was from Billings, Montana and that they had a daughter that used to work in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA; small world!  They had a set price of $5 for the wine tasting and he started you off with the whites and worked you to the reds; the older gentlemen kindly explaining each wine as he poured.  He also had you taste vodka after tasting the wine for no charge.  They were all sold out of a butterscotch and limo cello vodkas; but the vodkas were wonderful!  Also, their Cab-Franc was wonderful too.  It really had a nice mouth feel and I thought it very smooth.  He had me taste it with chocolate and it was even more wonderful!

I then asked the gentleman where a good place to go for dinner locally.  He got out a brochure and proceed to put “x” by several places and explained what to expect at each place.  He was just a wonderful warm and genuine person.  I thanked him and went to check into my hotel.  I got checked in and changed to a bit warmer clothes.  The sun was going down and the temperature was definitely dropping; Fall season is here.

I jumped in my car and found three of the places that the gentleman had directed me to; but Italian just sounded good to me.  I went to Dino’s Ristorante Italiano located on Jackson Street in the old historical downtown section.  It has a warm welcoming atmosphere with pink table cloths and candles.  There are a few different styles of chairs and tables and photos/replica art of Italy that hangs on the walls.  The server just invited me to sit where I wanted and followed up with a menu and water.  I ordered one of the specials of the day… a Pork Milanese which I just ended up adoring the sauce that came on it.  The sauce was a ricotta cheese, lemon, with capers blend that was amazing.  The pork was served with asparagus spears and a thinly layered potato casserole that had a wonderful light creamy flavor of lemon.  The whole meal was a delight and the server suggested a Pino Nior to compliment the meal which was an excellent choice.  I ended the meal with a slice of a Grand Marnier cheesecake and coffee.  What a wonderful way to end the day!  Yummy!

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