The Traveling Steve's

Work-week in Calistoga

As I posted on Facebook, finally I have a fun business week of work!  This week I’m working in Calistoga, California, which is located in one of my favorite place – the Napa Valley area.  I flew out yesterday (Monday) from Orlando to Los Angeles on a delayed American Airlines nonstop flight from Orlando.  After lining up to board the early 7am flight, the flight time suddenly changed to 9am – nearly two hours later!  Apparently it was a maintenance issue, which although is good for safety, is never good for stranded passengers.  I was connecting to an Alaskan Airlines flight later in the day to Santa Rosa, and I worried about my connection.

Meanwhile, a story within a story, Steve (DOS) is heading to San Juan and ultimately Honolulu!  We stayed at the Hyatt last night as we both had early flights; mine at 7am, and DOS’s at 7:30am to Miami/San Juan.  DOS is doing another ‘mileage run’,  (I know he misses flying now that he’s no longer a Pilot), and I’m traveling for work.

We had a quick and exclusive breakfast in Hemisphere’s at the Orlando Airport Hyatt on Monday morning, before heading to our respective flights.  As it was 5:30am when they opened the restaurant, we were the only diners there.IMG_6822 IMG_6823

We headed to the airport security, and as I wrote in my last post, we’re both so glad we purchased CLEAR at the Orlando airport, which expedites the screening line thru security.  The TSA Pre-check, which we both have, has gotten so long since they let too many ‘random’ people thru, it’s no longer reliable in terms of getting thru security quickly – thus defeating its original purpose.  Fortunately with CLEAR, we were thru security quickly, and I can’t recommend them enough.

As my flight was delayed a couple hours, I had a quick breakfast in the airport, while Steve (DOS) caught his flight to Miami.  When I finally took my flight to LAX, it was after 8am, and fortunately only an hour or so late leaving.  I had a good and uneventful flight in seat 3D, First Class, on this brand new Airbus 321 jet with ‘sharkets’, referring to the tipped wing spans.

I slept most of the 5 1/2 hour flight, although there were personal TV screens with lots of movies and TV choices to chose from.  I did us emu iPad for a bit of work as well as web surfing along the way.  As always, I like to watch the TV screen showing our flight progress along the way.

When I got to Los Angeles, I arrived at American Airlines terminal four.  I went to the Admiral’s Club for a couple hours as my flight to Santa Rosa on Alaska Airlines did not leave until 2:05pm. While waiting I caught up on my work email, and did a bit of web surfing to pass the time.

My connecting flight to Alaska Airlines (operated by Horizon Air) left out of terminal four, which is connected to terminal six (and five) via an underground tunnel system.  While they have a bus shuttle as well to transport you, I decided to walk the 10 minutes for a bit of exercise.


My Alaska Airlines (Horizon) flight was on a prop/jet plane that was quite comfortable.  For a prop plane, it was quite large, with two Flight Attendants.  It offered quite scenic views from my window seat taking off out of LAX over the ocean.IMG_6832 Although I didn’t partake due to working and driving, Horizon Air actually offered complimentary beer and wine on the flight, as well as pretzels and soft drinks.  And they even came by for a second beverage service on this short one and a half hour flight!  Now how is that for service!  I’ve always said that – good service is FREE to a company, but means a lot to the customers.  Bravo Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air!  As we descended to land, I got a pic of the landing gear overlooking the wine country.


Once in Santa Rosa, I arrived at Charles Schwartz Airport, named after the famous cartoon creator of Peanuts fame.  I absolutely LOVE small airports, and this airport was extra special with the Peanuts-themed decor, and especially the 5 cent information booth that was staffed by an actual airport employee.

Peanuts held desk (1) Shultz airport (1)

After getting my Dodge Charger at National Car Rental, I drove a half hour or so to Calistoga thru the mountainous terrain, which was actually quite a pleasant drive.  I then checked into the EuroSpa and Inn, a short walking distance to downtown Calistoga.  While a bit rustic appearing at first, it was actually a very nice and quite property with a dozen rooms, clean and comfortable with wifi-fridge, microwave, robes, and a pot-belly stove! Best of all, it was walking distance to downtown Calistoga!


After showering, I headed towards ‘downtown’ Calistoga which was only a couple blocks away. I then quickly fell in love with the quaint downtown Calistoga area!  Quiet, and charming, casual and rustic, it was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the local environment.

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Although I was a bit tired from the trip, having left my hotel at 6am EDT, and now at 6:30pm PDT I ventured out to the nearby Romeo tasting room.  Although I got there right before it closed, this charming establishment really made my day, not to mention a warm welcome to Calistoga.  The Romeo tasting room was an absolute delight with outdoor seating amongst the California redwood trees, and meticulously landscaped arched walkway with roses and other flowers – really an awesome setting!  IMG_6889

I had a wonderful tasting, graciously and leisurely serviced by Nate, who was a pleasure to talk with, and offered insight to the wines of the region as well as advice on local places to see and eat.  IMG_6893The wines were excellent, and I only regretted that I couldn’t take more wine home as I’m flying back to Orlando on Friday, and then immediately heading to Virginia for Mother’s Day on the weekend.

I did buy a nice bottle of their Sempre Vine Napa Valley Merlot, which I brought back to my room to have a bit each night for the next three nights. Thanks Nate for staying late to accommodate me; I really enjoyed your service, and it was a pleasure talking with you!  So here I sit on my open porch area enjoying some wonderful Merlot as a nightcap.  With the three hour time change from the East Coast, it’s still early, even though it’s after 10pm back home.


So now a week in Calistoga begins, and I’m so looking forward to it.  Meanwhile Steve (DOS) has flown today from Orlando to Miami, Miami to San Juan, and San Juan to Dallas, where he is overnighting tonight before heading off to Honolulu tomorrow!  I try to get DOS to blog, but he says he’s too busy – imagine that!

Anyway, good night from Calistoga!  Blessings to all!

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