I am sitting poolside in Carefree, a relaxed little town north of Phoenix in the desert foothills. I left St. Louis a week ago intent on seeing as much of the American wine industry as I can and to search for work.
I began in Kansas City with friends from high school and barbecue at Arthur Bryant’s, which had the highest great food to griminess ratio I’ve seen. Definitely worth checking out.
Whoever said that getting there is half the fun didn’t have to drive through Kansas. The landscape is boring and it smells horrible. It was a nine hour purgatory. The brief time I spent in Oklahoma was no better.
Not five minutes into New Mexico the sky grew much larger, the speed limit soon jumped to 75 and the roads were great. The land rose and took on some character. I made it to my friend Kerrie’s place and stayed an extra day. She has a mountain near her small adobe home, so we drove into the cool evening to watch the sunset. Once the sun had disappeared behind the hills, we descended to Ziggy Stardust and pulled into her driveway as the album was winding down.
Traveling note: My four-cylinder Honda Accord handles the mountains like a champ. Whether I am going up or down, it is nimble, controlled and a lot of fun to drive.
The next day I headed for Carefree, which also described my state of mind by this point. To be on this classic American trip that so many have made before me is humbling and exhilarating. I intended to be up to my gills in wine from Santa Barbara by this point, but the trip instantly begged for a more leisurely approach. My friends Simon and Annie have kindly let me stay here four nights to recharge and figure out where I go from here.
Thus far I’ve been to the Gruet winery in Albuquerque. That deserves its own post, so I’ll work on that next. This week I’m planning to hit the Sonoita AVA outside of Tucson and the Ramona Valley near San Diego before going to LA and Santa Barbara for a few days.