I am sure that everyone thinks that in the summertime, orange barrels are a rite of Spring. In Michigan they have become our State Flower, our State Tree and our State Bush. We had a change of regimes in our fair state and one person ran on the platform of “fix the damn roads” not a nice slogan for children to hear, but today’s society is not as genteel as when I was growing up, not that there wasn’t anything ever said, that I never heard at home, as I have stated, we had a colorful environment. Anyways the politician that claimed that catchy phrase, promised no new taxes, was elected and decided that Michigan needed to surpass all the other states for gasoline tax, and the senate and the representatives gave her a budget which is mandated with a larger amount earmarked for road construction so as to avoid an onerous new tax, the new governor vetoed and slashed almost the entire budget and now we are “not fixing the damn roads.” We got a chance to enjoy road construction in Ohio and Kentucky and to be fair, I think I-75 in Ohio has been under construction ever since the road was built, but at least they have joined the rest of the country and allowed drivers to do seventy miles per hour away from the major cities. We made a little dash down to Louisville to see the family, a week after some family members had made the same trip, only because it was going to be a bit calmer in Louisville and would give the sisters a chance to relax and catch up.
There was a made-for-television movie in 1971 starring Dennis Weaver, famed from Gunsmoke and McCloud, depending on your age and it was directed by a newcomer that was just starting to get noticed by the name of Steven Spielberg and the movie was called “Duel.” Dennis Weaver plays a businessman driving along the road, who ends up being stalked by unseen driver after he passes a slow and old tanker truck. It was a white-knuckle road trip and extremely scary film that would have made Hitchcock proud. I know that by now you think I have lost it, but I bring it up, because the entire trip down and in fact the returned trip, I kept thinking of this movie from my youth, because of a quirk in the laws of the road in Ohio and Kentucky. In Michigan, trucks cannot be in the passing lane, except to pass and get back into the right lane. In Ohio and Kentucky trucks routinely stay in the passing lane to pass vehicles for long stretches and they normally wait until a car is attempting to pass them to change lanes, so that cars can hit the breaks on the freeway. One other thing that I noticed about the trucks in those two states, is that while they drive the vehicles like they are a Mini-Cooper, they feel that there is no need to use turning signals, except after they are half-way into the next lane.
We did make it to Kentucky, as you may have surmised and we unloaded the car of its luggage, a portable refrigerator and a six-pack of wine, since we were only going to be there for two nights. Our hosts immediately produced a couple of wine glasses and poured some chilled white wine. We started off with some Banter California Chardonnay 2017. It is one their go to everyday whites that is produced with Stainless Steel and French and American Oak. It appears from the winery’s webpage that the biggest buyer of the wine is Total Wines and that can be a major buyer, especially in popular priced wines. The wine was easy drinking with a taste of stone fruits and a little oak. The name of the wine is good, because that is what we were doing while we started to relax. In our car refrigerator we had chilling a wine that I was holding, until we could share it with them. We opened up the bottle of Diving into Hampton Water Languedoc AOP 2017, a Rosé wine that has a very limited market area of New York, New Jersey and Florida, from what I understand. The wine is a joint business venture of Jesse Bongiovi, who is the son of Jon Bongiovi the singer and the French winemaker Gerard Bertrand of the Languedoc. The wine is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre and Syrah. The bottle did not have a cork, and it was not a screw cap, there was a glass stopper with a rubber base that fit very tightly in the neck. There were two old geezers trying to get the almost invisible plastic wrap off and then figuring the right way to leverage the stopper out, I am glad to say that we finally accomplished it, but it was one of the hardest bottles that I have ever opened. The wine had a pretty color and it was fresh and fruit forward with the spice from the French Oak that it imparts and a mineral terroir finish. It was an interesting wine and we finally calmed down and we started talking about dinner.
‘Duel’ is one of my favourite films; it’s so clever in the way it takes hold of your imagination. I’m sorry to hear that you had to live Dennis Weaver’s nightmare in real life, though! Hopefully, the wines you drank were a tonic for the nerves.
Some years back, I bought some wine in that type of bottle with the glass stoppers. The bottles were dark green, and I saved them to use for olive oil dispensers. Very pretty.