Where Did I Park?

You’re ready to fly out for your next adventure. You’re excited…

Everything is ready to go…luggage, passports, tickets, camera. You park your car at the airport and head to the terminal. At some point, it dawns on you that you think you remember exactly where you parked. It was Section D 21. Right?

Or, was it G 21?

I used to take a picture of the sign in that section. But, then I’d have to scroll through my vacation pictures to find it. Someone suggested writing the section on the parking ticket. But, what if you don’t take the ticket with you? Or, you left it in the car? Not very helpful.

Here’s a better tip I learned from an airport shuttle bus driver.

Put the section number in your phone’s calendar on the day you will be returning. All you have to do is look at your calendar…and there is the section where you parked.

The things I’ve learned…

Pantai Inn

Peaceful…relaxing…pampered

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These are the first words that come to mind as I sit in a private courtyard, watching the ocean meet the sky. Oh yeah, I’ve got a glass of wine in my hand and I can’t believe I’m a few feet from the street.

I could be on a tropical island…this place is like that.

Stay tuned…

Napa Valley

Perhaps you’ve read about or watched the news regarding the devastating fires in northern California over the past weeks.

So, what’s going on with wineries? Are they open, should you go, what do you need to know?

Yesterday, we toured though the areas of Napa Valley, the town of Napa, the town of St. Helena, and just north of there. We have not seen Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Glen Ellen, or other parts of the fire damaged areas.

Damage is real in the Napa area. Much of the fire damage is in the hills, on the hillsides, and above the valley floor…especially in the southern area of the Silverado Trail. Signorello Winery is completely gone and many others have damage, some extensive, all important. There is other damage to homes and areas we didn’t see.

But, Napa and St. Helena wineries and businesses are open for business. In fact, we were told they welcome visitors.

Some things we discovered:

Smoke still lingers in many areas. If you’re going to be outside for any length of time, wear a mask. But, it’s not solid smoke. You can still see the vineyards and hills. Also, if you have trouble breathing, a mask is a good idea. We didn’t have any problems breathing.

When the wind shifts, the smoke clears in one area and drifts to another area.

The hills are blackened in many areas. You can see where the fires burned the hillsides and stopped a few feet or less from a vineyard.

For the most part, the vines are not burned. There are some areas where they are singed, but not destroyed. Most of the harvesting of grapes was finished, with some crushing finished as well. We were told it’s a ‘wait and see’ about this year’s vintage.

Dozens of signs, if not more, thanking fire fighters and first responders line the streets and highways. Every business, every home, every corner has a sign. The work of the fire fighters and first responders is not taken lightly. It is all appreciated.

There are thousands of folks working to get these fires under control.

Restaurants and cafes offer free meals to fire fighters, first responders, and those who have lost their homes. In some cases, those restaurants deliver to fire camps or individuals. Everyone is pitching in.

Wineries and restaurants are open. If you plan to go, you’ll probably have your choice of appointment to taste wine and your choice of seating in most restaurants.

We had a fantastic tasting at Stony Hill Winery north of St. Helena. Sitting outside, enjoying the view was not much different than other times we’ve been there. Off in the distance wisps of smoke could be seen, but nothing that bothered us or hindered our tasting.

Lunch at the Goose & Gander in St. Helena was terrific, if not a little quiet. They thanked us for coming in and appreciated our business.

Tasting wine at The Terraces, along the Silverado Trail, we saw smoke in the distance. Business must go on. These people are all working hard to reestablish their livelihood.

Everyone is still vigilant. Fire is not something to ignore, even when it appears to be out. The winds can change, sparks can fly. But, Napa Valley is surviving this and wanting to get back on the road to recovery.

Bottom Line: Take a trip to Napa Valley and see for yourself.

 

Flying Alone?

Let’s say your grandchild wants to come visit you. Maybe you want to send your child to visit their grandparents.

Do you know what to do if your child or grandchild needs to fly somewhere alone?

You can get a Gate Pass. But, there are things you need to know.

Each airline has requirements for “unaccompanied minors.” Airlines may require you to use their special services for children flying solo. This depends on your child’s age and the additional fees may vary.

Another thing to keep in mind…not all flights are available for children traveling alone.

Many American carriers offer services for children designated solo fliers like select seats and airline escorts on and off the plane, and to connecting gates. Most airlines consider solo fliers from the ages of 5 to 15 as unaccompanied minors, though Southwest Airlines puts the upper limit at 11 and JetBlue Airways at 13. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines make the designation optional for children 15 to 17.

Additional fees for unaccompanied minors vary as well. It costs $25 each way for direct flights on Alaska and $50 for one-way itineraries involving connections. Southwest charges $50 a flight. On JetBlue, the service costs $100 one way, and American, Delta and United Airlines all charge $150 each way.

Different fees may apply to multiple children traveling together. For example, American Airlines only charges one unaccompanied minor fee for parties of two or more, and Delta charges one fee for up to four children traveling together.

For those fees, children are usually promised a seat close to the front of the plane. Airline agents will escort minors to their seats, again when they deplane, and to connecting gates.

Not all flights are available to children traveling alone. Many carriers limit younger children to nonstop or direct flights. Delta allows 8- to 14-year-olds to make connections, assisted by an employee. American Airlines allows connecting services, with an escort between flights, at several of its busier airports, including its hubs in Chicago, Dallas and New York.

For parents or grandparents, think about the child. Are they okay with flying? Are they okay with flying alone? Will they need any special attention? Flight attendants are not babysitters.

Parental Considerations

At the airport check-in desk, parents with government-issued identification can obtain a pass that allows them to escort the minor to the gate. Some airlines require them to stay at the airport until the plane has taken off, and most experts advise doing so in case the plane experiences a mechanical problem or delay and must return to the terminal.

At the arrival airport, most airlines will similarly issue a gate pass to the person designated to pick up the minor, allowing the person to meet the child at the arrival gate.

To better track unaccompanied minors, Delta has instituted a system that relies on bar-coded wristbands that are scanned at way points in the journey. The airline has said that it intends to make that data available to parents and custodians.

Experts recommend parents prepare children for flight as they would themselves, including sending them off with identification such as a birth certificate or a passport. Pack a water bottle to fill after passing through security; some form of entertainment, like books or a tablet computer with an extra battery booster; a fleece or sweater for chilly flights; and food.

Even consider sending equivalent of a school lunch.

Valpolicella Wines…Do You Like Them?

THE HARVEST 2017 WILL BRING THE FRUITS OF AN EXCEPTIONAL YEAR. THE 6th OF SEPTEMBER THE PRE-HARVEST CONFERENCE ORGANIZED BY THE CONSORTIUM FOR THE TUTELAGE OF VALPOLICELLA WINES

The Consortium clarifies the members of the crucial points about the new telematic fulfillment for the traceability of wines. With this aim, it will discuss the wine-growing campaign, whose harvest this year promises very well, controls and registrations during the September 6 pre-harvest meeting at Park Hotel Villa Quaranta.

The year 2017 will certainly be remembered among the best millésimes of Valpolicella. An optimal grape quality, both from the health point of view and analytical parameters. Distressed problems related to meteoric events, unlike many other Italian territories, which have been not so fortunate, with the only element of difficulty found in water shortage, caused by the low rainfall affected by non-irrigated vitrified soils.

Following the greeting of President Andrea Sartori, Renzo Caobelli, the Consortium agronomist, will analyze the climate and the course of the pathologies and highlight how the vine withstanded the warm and dry course of the season and at the same time hampered the spread of “moisture lover” diseases and insects.

The grapes ripening status, found in the vineyard stations that are monitored each year, will be illustrated, measuring the main chemical and phenological parameters.

“This year’s results show an early grape ripening, compared to last year, with optimum values ​​for both sugar content and total acidity. This is a vintage that leaves a great hope in the export, “says Olga Bussinello, the Director of the Consortium.

Moreover, Luca Sartori from Siquria, will discuss about vineyard and fruit control in relation to the harvest in progress and to conclude Roman Popa from the company Validus, will give operational indications on the keeping of telematic registers, now mandatory after the actual conclusion of the “accompanying period” and the official entering into force of the DM 293/2015. In particular, he will analyze the traceability of products that will be trademark with the RRR logo (the Sustainability Certificate created by the Consortium), starting from the 2017 harvest.