just got back from a very quick trip to central cali for the wine country run with my pal jason emmons who introduced me to races about 10 years ago. finished the half marathon in 1 hr 44 mins 13 secs, which is not bad at all for me (but not my best time either). the run itself is beautiful as it winds through paso robles vineyards, complete with horses, cow, and sheep (the latter of which are completely unimpressed by herds of runners, who were equally unimpressed with the sheep's odor)
we spent our evening before the race at the carlton hotel in atascadero, which is the home of "terry's bar and grill". we dropped by for a nite cap and to take in the local flavor, which i would characterize as skoal bandits, busch beer, beef jerkey and line dances. the bartender was a nice enough looking blonde lady who looked very comfortable with the drunks leaning over the bar and the toby keith playing on the old juke box (10 cents a play!). when asking for a couple jacks on the rocks, she smiled to reveal a mouth half full of gold teeth that nelly would be proud of. yeehaw! after that we snuck in the back door (by accident) of a local hip hop club which had live performances that evening. thank god we didn't pay cover. the group that stepped up 2nd was announced as being straight from ohio and filming their big music video that evening ("ladies come on up if you wanna be in the big show!"). rightttttttttttttttt... isn't p diddy from cincinatti? and snoop dogg from columbus? not even atascadero was impressed. we lasted 3 minutes, 2 of which were spent looking for the exit amongst a crowd of 18 year-olds who were pretty sure ohio was a suburb of oakland.
after the run we took in a few wineries, namely peachy canyon, linne calodo and turley. the entire region is known for their zinfandels (among other things, like pinot noir), and turley has to be one of the best. we did a tasting of nearly all zins and they were impressive. scored a bottle of their dusi zin and the much cheaper juvenile zin which was still very good. downside: they have a waiting list to get on their mailing list (!) and don't wave their tasting fee with purchase. what the hell is a waiting list to get on a mailing list? is the postage that much? someone want to tell them about this little known phenomena called email that's pretty much free? sheesh... linne calodo is freakin' fantastic. we'd had a bottle of "leona's" the nite before in san luis obispo and it knocked our socks off. it's a zin blend with shiraz and mouvedre (sp?). the rest of their wine was in the same range of fabulosity. if you ever see them around, buy a bottle.
oh, and wired did a little story on the UFO sightings from the frenchies. no smoking guns but interesting nonetheless. the most convincing of all sightings for me has always been the ones that come from the airline crew since they are up in the air all the time and see lots of things that might normally be confused for UFOs by other people. that and they have little incentive to report unless they all see the same thing, making it more convincing.