We traveled to wine country recently. No, not Napa Valley, although I have been to that beautiful area, the wine country I am referring to is in the south central region of New Mexico. Even though California is renowned for producing wine, according to the New Mexico Wine Growers Association, New Mexico is the oldest wine growing region in the United States. (Incidentally, another bit of trivia I picked up is that there are wineries located in each of the fifty states.) The first stop of the journey was in Deming, New Mexico at Luna Rossa Winery. The location of this winery was a surprise because this area is arid and appears to be too much of a desert to sustain grapevines. None the less, Luna Rossa Winery is the larger, multi-staff winery of the two we toured. It has a large mail order enterprise, which bodes well for my future cravings. The other winery we visited is La Esperanza Vineyard and Winery, located in the beautiful Mimbres Valley. It is a small, family run business on the owner’s homestead. It is named after the daughter of the original landowners and is run by Esperanza and her husband David.
Both wineries had wine to my liking and while I am no sommelier, the wine I sampled was just as good, if not better, than the wine I sampled in Napa Valley. In fact, I would have to say that I liked the wine I sampled at these wineries better than the wine I sampled in Napa Valley because I purchased bottles from each winery, while I did not sample any wine I felt compelled to purchase while touring in the Napa Valley region. My favorite of the purchased bottles was a blend called Born in Space, which was purchased from La Esperanza.
David tempting us with more wine.
To my chagrin, La Esperanza does not sell by mail order and I did not have the foresight to purchase multiple bottles. More wine tours are definitely on the itinerary as we travel to various states. I definitely have to stock-pile bottles of wine that tantalize my palate due to my recently adopting the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas:“ Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath, and a glass of wine”.
The epicurean delight prepared by my sister Celeste to accompany the wine.
The weather was perfect for sipping our libations outside.
My sister Celeste supervising Jim’s wine portions.
A little back story: back in 2000 I bought “The Red Jeep” for Pamala, used, with 14,000 miles. She drove it regularly until 2004 when she got a new Liberty, but prior to this, we trailered it to New Mexico and she drove it home to Florida visiting friends and relatives on the way. While visiting my father-in-law Bill, he fell in love with the Jeep and said he wanted to buy it if we ever wanted to sell it. After Pamala got the Liberty in 2004, “The Red Jeep” saw very little use for the next two years. My father-in-law visited us in 2006 and we ended up giving it to him, with the stipulation that we would purchase it back from him if he ever decided to get rid of it. Fast forward nine years and a total of 90,000 miles, the Jeep was starting to show it’s age mechanically. Unfortunately the mechanics he was using in Mississippi, including a Jeep dealership no less, couldn’t seem to keep it running properly. In frustration he ended buying a car and the Jeep was destined to sit most of the time. Rather than let it sit, and since we needed a second vehicle in New Mexico, he returned it to us. So now I have another project. I needed that like a hole in my head! We are grateful for the gift, however and with a little TLC it will be back in service and better than ever.
So why “The Red Jeep” moniker? This was our driveway in 2005. With three Jeeps to choose from, it needed a name.
In NM in 2003.
As it was in 2006 when Bill got it.
All loaded up and ready to come home.
Bill having second thoughts about giving up his “baby”.
As it sits now.
This will be a mild build for use as a short range, dirt road/mud, run around vehicle. No crazy stuff here. I’ll “base line” it and get it running right first, then mild lift, mud tires, basic heavy duty bumpers, winch, and auxiliary lighting.
Spending time with my sister Ingrid is always a good reason to visit Memphis. Ingrid is one of the those rare people who always has a smile on her face and a pleasant disposition. She is also my biggest fitness motivator. A visit with her is not complete without our three-mile run at Shelby Farm.
To compensate for getting me out of bed at dawn for the run (she said that we had to beat the Memphis heat), Ingrid presented me with a ticket to Motown The Musical for my “early” birthday present. I enjoy live theater and don’t go as often as I would like so this was the perfect gift. Having Ingrid and my best friend Karen accompany me to the show made for a perfect girls’ day out!
I have to say hearing all those songs from my youth caused the body to rock and sway. I wish I could deny recognizing each and every song performed, but I can not. During my childhood, my mother played the early Motown songs until the lines wore off the vinyl. The later Motown releases were during my adolescence, a time when Karen and I were co-conspirators. Yes, the phase of my life has arrived where I reminisce about the mischief Karen and I were up to “back in the day” (as my daughters are fond of saying when referring to my youth) when any given Motown song was popular. They are memories that I will cherish for life. Thanks Ingrid and Karen for being a part of my birthday celebration and helping me create more cherished memories.
Backcountry Vehicles is now on Instagram! Click on any of the pictures to the right.