Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Goodbye Black Pearl

The Black Pearl was my first car. She was a coal-colored 1999 Honda Civic gifted to me from my family in the Bay. I am a huge Batman fan and wanted to drive a Batmobile since I was a kid. I'm not a billionaire, nor a resident of Gotham City. So the closest I could get to having a Batmobile was owning a black Honda Civic. I took two driving tests before I brought her down to San Diego my junior year in college. I loved the Black Pearl. She wasn't a luxury car but I didn't care. The Black Pearl was an answer to my prayers. No more waiting at the bus stop and having to rely on people for rides to the grocery store. Finally, I could hit up the college parties of my choosing and leave when I'm ready. As Shanaynay from Martin would say, "Heyyyyy." It was on like popcorn.

I couldn't complain. The Black Pearl got me from point A to B. She didn't ask for much so the high gas prices weren't too hard on my wallet. My girl rarely broke down. And she always kept me dry in the rain.

A few years later I moved to LA. For Angelinos, our cars are like second homes because we're in them so much. So my car was more than four wheels. Some days it was my favorite lunch spot. Other times it was my prayer closet when I was out in public and needed a space to chat with God. If I had cramps and wanted to recline on my breaks, the Black Pearl became my bedroom. I cried, laughed, jammed, chilled, you name it, in my car.

A few weekends ago I was coming home from a play in Hollywood. I was two minutes away from my apartment when I was driving through an intersection and BAM! I wont go into details but let's just say somebody ran a red light and it wasn't me. Michael Jackson had just died a few days prior. As much as I love his music and Luther Vandross, I am in no rush to see them perform at the big concert in the sky if you know what I mean. By God's grace no one was killed. Unfortunately the Black Pearl didn't make it. She was totaled. My car was in such good condition it probably could've lasted another five to 10 years. She didn't even have 50, 000 miles.

After the accident my pearl was unrecognizable and undrivable. I had her towed away to a salvage yard. while cleaning out my car I spotted a dead red rose underneath the front passenger seat. I have no clue where it came from. I laid it on the back seat. I'm unemployed and this accident couldn't have come at a worse time. But I looked at the rose with thanks. Thankful because it wasn't resting on my headstone. And thankful God blessed me with a good car that lasted 10 years.

The next day one of those big, long, two-level trucks used to transport cars came for my pearl. She stood on top of the steel bed of the truck blacker than midnight and glistening in the sun. Just like the first day I got her. I stood on the curb and watched the truck tow drive away a piece of my youth. My Black Pearl.


  1. Your story about your car makes me want to cry, but it's a car after all. I'm happy you survived, and the only thing that was laid to rest was the metal.

  2. As a fellow Honda Civic owner, I feel your pain. I've had my baby for 7 years and intend to keep it for at least 3 more (assuming it isn't the victim of the same kind of tragedy as the Black Pearl). I agree with Anonymous though. The most important thing is that you are okay.


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