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ScruzCon report...

I was, unfortunately, unable to join our intrepid oenophiles until Friday evening, too late for tasting but just in time for a bit of grilling.

The Guesthouse Pacific Inn is a wonderful example of a vintage Santa Cruz motel. The rooms open inwards, either on open-air hallways or on a small courtyard overlooking the pool and hot-tub (which take up the whole first level). Somehow or another kproche and I were upgraded to a jacuzzi room, for which I was thankful later...

Spring & Dave had reserved the "Getaway" cottage, a small house adjacent to the motel for our hospitality area (which is how we got a grill among other things), and arrived back with the van and the gang shortly after I got to Santa Cruz. Burgers and veggie burgers were had and we played a few games of Apples to Apples before galtinel and I headed back to Mountain View and the King of Clubs for kproche's "Emperor's New Clothes" show.

We didn't make it until the second set, and bailed shortly after it was over, but it was a worthwhile side-trip; K's "Le Jazz Hot" was fabulous.

Got back to Santa Cruz late, but had a chance to taste a few zinfandels that were opened for the "Deadly Zins" tasting. K was about an hour behind us since he had another set to finish; he finally caught up with us at about 2-ish in the morning.

Saturday morning we hauled up to Felton and Roaring Camp so we could take the train through the Redwoods to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Sounds a bit screwy, yes? The train ride was nice, and we spent about an hour at the Boardwalk. Some folks went on rides and played games, but Spring, Dave and I took the time to look over the cars at "Hot Rods at the Beach" (an annual car show that benefits the SC Police Officers' Association). An old truck (fire truck? cement truck? semi? couldn't tell) converted into a giant boat-tailed roadster was perhaps the wildest thing there.

After a ride back to Roaring Camp we had a picnic lunch and went to Storrs Winery to do some tasting. The tasting room is tiny; we practically overflowed it. Got a few bottles of delightful Chardonnay and a few bottles of Grand Noir (a relatively rare varietal). Continued on to Pelican Ranch for more tasting; the winery was smaller but there was a touch more space in the tasting area. Picked up a few bottles ofa very nice Pinot Noir from them. All in all rather nice little wineries.

Hauled back to the hotel, where it would have been smart to catch a nap, but instead many of us decided to play more games of Apples to Apples and a few games of Flux before going to dinner at the Brookdale Lodge's infamous Brook Room. Dinner was a good but definitely a kitschy and surreal experience in a faux-chalet exterior interior with a real brook (Clear Creek, actually) flowing through it and an old gent playing pop tunes on a kind of cheesy synthesizer on one of the balconies. We did get him to play a few good selections.

Back at the hotel we started the Sweets party. I played the part of John Hertz, and totally screwed up the order of the first few wines (then again, only a few had the level of residual sugar listed). John would have complained anyway; over half of the selections were fortified wines with a few liqueurs thrown in for variety. All were well received except for Frank & Allison's "Deco" chocolate port, which was likened to both tobacco and dirt. Kurt and Cobbit threw in a fabulous cherry-wine port with chocolate that was strangely delightful (or was it delightfully strange?).

Sunday morning took most of the gang home. The rest of us walked from the hotel down to the boardwalk for brunch (see "screwy" comment above) and saltwater taffy, relaxed some and finally went home.

Oh, and Spring... I don't care how much popcorn you give me, you can't have my liver.