What a magical trip last week for the Memorial Day holiday weekend!
My girlfriend and I embarked on a road trip that I can only describe as an epic adventure. Our journey started in sunny Central Oregon’s Bend, Oregon. We drove to Napa California in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then on the return trip back up the iconic Pacific Coast Highway101. We crossed picturesque landscapes, beaches, and vineyards, that culminated in a three-day immersive musical experience at the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival.
Starting our journey from Bend, the path to the Bay Area is filled with stunning natural beauty and ever changing trees and landscapes, making the journey as amazing as the destination itself. The route offers everything from lush green pine forests, rivers, lakes, ocean, vineyards, rice fields, olive trees, and tree-filled valleys.
Upon reaching the Bay Area, our first stop was to visit some old friends, and we made some new ones.
Then came the live music highlight of our trip - the three-day BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival. This was an experience unlike any other. A line-up that encompassed legends and rising stars, it was a celebration of many genres of music surrounded by food and drinks and live chef competitions. The Struts delivered a hard-thumping rock performance that was downright amazing. Red Hot Chili Peppers, The National, Tove Lo, and Duran Duran (who gave an epic performance) played some of their best sets, setting my eardrums and heart on fire. The Smashing Pumpkins' performance was unusual but good. Thievery Corporation, Post Malone, Gene Dawson, and Dogstar each brought a unique style and flavor to the stage.
Carly Rae Jepsen, Leon Bridges, Billy Strings (Billy’s energy and talent were simply electrifying), The Wu-Tang Clan, Kingfish, Killer Mike, Phantogram, The Stone Foxes, and Bastille (who didn't quite live up to our live expectations) offered performances that spanned the spectrum of the musical universe. WAR, Sheryl Crow, and Caamp were also in the mix. What a great experience and a large amount of live bands although they could have been a little louder.
Our trip wouldn't have been complete without exploring the wineries in the region. We stopped by Soda Creek Vineyards in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County for a nice Zinfandel wine toast.
Driving back to Bend Oregon on the iconic and scenic Highway 101, We stopped at the infamous Russian River Brewing, home of Pliny the Elder triple IPA.
Along the drive, we had the chance to explore the amazing and huge Redwoods and the Avenue of Giants. The towering trees, and the quiet hush of the forest offered a humbling and awe inspiring experience that marked a serene end to our trip.
We even visited the Trees of Mystery with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox as well as drove our car through the big redwood tree.
Looking back, we feel not just a sense of adventure but of connection - with each other, our friends, music, nature, and life's beautiful possibilities.
Cheers, and many summer adventures to you! May we cross paths at some point.