Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eric Burdon and War – "Spill the Wine" (1970)

In her hand was a bottle of wine
In the other, a glass

We'll get to that wine eventually.  But first, let's squeeze in one more Katy Trail bike ride.

After lunch in Columbia on day four on my "Tour de Missouri," I hotfooted it to Rocheport (population 239), an old Missouri River town.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark spent some time exploring the area, and Zebulon Pike dropped by in 1806 on his way to Pikes Peak.

Lewis and Clark
I found out after returning from the "Tour de Missouri" that William Least Heat-Moon, the author of Blue Highways, resides in Rocheport.  If I had known that when I was there, I would have looked him up and said hello.

(In 2008, Heat-Moon wrote a book called Roads to Quoz, which attempts to explain the famous Joplin "Spook Light.")

Renting a bike in Rocheport turned out to be something of an ordeal.  The local bike rental store had some nice Raleigh hybrids, but the only one that was the right size for me had a maladjusted saddle that the guy at the store wasn't able to fix.

So I ended up with a "comfort" bike.  It wasn't a terrible bike, but it had "bike for old guys" written over it – especially the wide and heavily padded saddle.  Riding that saddle felt like what I imagine it would feel like to ride a bike while wearing a fully loaded diaper:

Does this saddle make
my ass look fat?
On the bright side, the bluffs along this stretch of the Missouri were particularly scenic:

And there was an old railroad tunnel – the only tunnel along the entire Katy Trail:

Not to mention this small herd of alpaca, who were grazing along the trail in the heart of Rocheport:

I made sure I ended my ride in plenty of time to visit Rocheport's prime attraction, Les Bourgeois Vineyards, which began producing wine 30 years ago and is now Missouri's third-largest winery.  

I spent a very pleasant hour tasting and chatting with Austin Gacich, the assistant tasting room manager, who had 22 wines available for tasting that day.  For me, the best wine I sampled at Les Bourgeois was its Norton, which any fan of red wines would enjoy.

If you saw the movie Gone Girl, you might remember the scene where the Margo Dunne character (played by Carrie Coon) is drinking a bottle of wine while talking on the phone with her twin brother Nick (Ben Affleck).  That bottle of wine was a Les Bourgeois Norton.

In addition to its tasting room, Les Bourgeois offers a sophisticated lunch and dinner menu at its Blufftop Bistro, a popular spot for weddings and other special events. 

The Blufftop Bistro at Les Bourgeois Vineyards
I left Les Bourgeois around 6 PM and took Interstate 70 to Kansas City, where I would spend the last night of the 2 or 3 lines "Tour de Missouri."  

As usual, I overplanned this trip.  I have a tendency not to get started each day as early as I should, which makes it even harder to work my way through my overstuffed itineraries.  (For example, I cut it too close when visiting the State Capitol, and ended up missing out of the famous Thomas Hart Benton murals in the House of Representatives Lounge there.)

I'm trying to leave myself more opportunities for spontaneity and improvisation.  The highlights of my trip were the people I met and talked with – ranging from the guys who rented me bikes, to the people who manned the tasting rooms at the wineries I visited, to the young soil engineer I bought a beer for in Hermann (the most charming town I passed through).  

Let's hope I've learned to spend less time on my future trips rushing from attraction to attraction, and more time getting to know the people I meet along the way.

Eric Burdon and War
Eric Burdon was the lead singer of the Animals, whose body of work was the equivalent in quality of any of the "British Invasion" bands, but who didn't last long enough to match up with the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, and Who when it came to quantity.  (I challenge you to name a pair of songs by any of those groups that are clearly superior to "House of the Rising Sun" and "It's My Life.") 

Burdon reformed the Animals after having a falling out with the brilliant Animals keyboardist, Alan Price.  The second version of the band produced a number of more psychedelic hits, including "San Francisco Nights" and "Sky Pilot."

Burdon later joined forces with the California funk band, War.  "Spill the Wine," which made it to #3 on the Billboard "Hot 100," was War's first big hit.

Here's "Spill the Wine":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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