Our trip to Napa – that wasn’t

Heads up, this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission.

This is going to be the ultimate spontaneous trip report.

We decided that we were long overdue for a trip to Napa. Zung was going to be in northern Cali in October for racing. We decided this was a great time to make that trip. I would join him when the racing was over. I’d fly into San Fran and he’d pick me up and we’d drive to Napa, our second most favorite place in the world. Actually, I love Napa as much as I love Mexico. Although it did kick my ass when we were there last month.

On a side note, Zung was racing in the Western States NASA championships. He races his BMW M3 on a road course. That means there are lots of turns, as opposed to an oval. Not to brag, but he took first place.


Monday arrived and I got up at o’dark o’clock and turned on the news, like I always do. I was getting ready when I heard something about a fire in the Napa valley. I only paid half attention to it. Okay, maybe it was a quarter of attention. You know how it goes “that’s not where I’m going.”

I got to the airport and got a message from a friend with a link to an article about the fires in Napa Valley. It was five miles from the town of Napa, which is where our hotel was. These were some big, nasty, take no prisoners fires. I sent Zung a text asking if he knew about the fires and suggesting that he should call the hotel,

Then I boarded the plane.

I chatted with my seat mate about where we were going in Cali and she shared that she was going to meet her nephew who was getting out of prison, which he had been in for second degree murder. Geez! How do you respond to that? I was glad when we landed,

Zung had not replied to my text, so I called him. He said that all the roads going to the Napa area were closed and the hotel was not checking people in. Although they had not been evacuated yet. He had gotten us a room for the night at the Grand Hyatt in Union Square. We’d stayed there before when we’d been in San Fran, visiting our son, Nicholas. It’s a great location when you want to visit San Fran. Which was NOT what we had planned.

We had to quickly come up with a Plan B.

He picked me up and we drove to the hotel and checked in. It was crowded! The lady who checked us in said that a lot of the people had been evacuated from the Napa Valley hotels. She kindly asked if we wanted to book a room for the following night, since they only had 2 left. It was available for the bargain price of $719. No refunds. The first night was $500.

This was killing me because the hotel in Napa had been paid for with credit card points. We didn’t see any alternative though.

We finished checking in.

In the elevator, I could smell the smoke from the fires.

We took our luggage to our room and then went downstairs to the restaurant for lunch.

I didn’t want to stay in San Fran. Been there. Done that. Don’t like this city. It’s too big, too crowded and not enough sunshine.

I suggested that we drive to Las Vegas. I was thinking it was a 4 hour drive, like it is from LA. Wrong!

We went back to the room and turned on the TV. The coverage of the fire was constant. It was so sad to see the devastation of a place we loved so much. If that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t get ahold of my brother, who lives with his kids in Santa Rosa. There had been 7 deaths there.

I finally heard from him the next day.

We booked dinner reservations on Nicholas’s recommendation. It was ok. Big and noisy. Mediocre service, better food. Not a place I would return to.


We had to stay the two nights that we had paid for. After that, we were flying to Vegas.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Congrats to Zung.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
%d bloggers like this: