As I write this blog, sipping a cool rosé wine just outside of Walla Walla on an impressive compound once owned by a cell phone magnate, I cannot help but think how wonderful it is to have a job that allows me to work anywhere in the world almost as easily as when I'm home.
With a laptop, my new Asus second full HD monitor that is not any thicker than an iPad, and seemingly ubiquitous fast Internet/WiFi, working on the road is both comfortable, productive and liberating.
Summertime in Walla Walla is hot, in the 90s today, but all of the wineries and tasting rooms make you forget about the ever present sun beating down on your head. This is a special place, so close to the Oregon border, but with rivers and mountains (mostly high hills for those who live near the Cascades and Olympics around Seattle), you almost forget that most of the land is flat and dry. Walla Walla is home to their namesake sweet onion, but wineries have taken over. You can't take a step without coming across another winery's tasting room.
I drove south today to see where the grapes are grown, and the vineyards are impressive. It seems this has been a good summer and will yield a bumper crop. The grapes are smaller compared to those we snack on, but they pack a powerful punch in the hands of talented vintners. Amazingly, I've not tasted a "bad" wine, with whites, rosés and reds all in great form.
It's a real shame that this part of my trip was marred by the tragic news of the earthquake in Napa that did considerable damage, including the oddity of seeing red wine flowing freely -- sadly down the gutters -- the result of broken barrels that tumbled. The losses to Napa businesses and families is felt here in Walla Walla, showing that competition doesn't have to trump compassion.