September 7, 2010

Once again, the treasure hunt exceeds expectations in every way.

First of all, if you’re a kind of artsy, granola crunching, organic kind of person, the hamlet of Carmel Valley is for you. Tracey and I fell in love with the place and would move there in a second if we were independently wealthy and didn’t have to work for a living. I have a couple of nice photos that I’ll be uploading for my Thursday post ahead of time since I’ll be overnighting at the hospital following my surgery on Wednesday. They’re really pretty, as the whole town is, surrounded by drop-dead gorgeous hills.

The goal of our weekend was two-fold: to get the autographs of Walter Georis and Gaston Georis for my “The Endless Summer” movie poster, and to try and get a connection to John Blakeley, the other remaining active member of the surf band, The Sandals, who performed much of the music in Bruce Bown’s surf epic.

Saturday was our treasure hunt day, although we weren’t exactly sure how the day and our mission would unfold. The first order of business was to make a stop at the Georis Winery wine-tasting room, a lovely outside patio area where one can sample various wines surrounded by flowering bushes and artwork of different kinds. After introducing ourselves to Ardelle, the tasting room hostess and gift shop manager, who I’d had a lovely conversation with a couple weeks ago, Tracey and I both selected a “flight” of red and white wines to sample, and found ourselves a lovely table in the shade while Ardelle went to find Walter Georis. Evidently, the introductory letter I had followed up with made a positive impression and Walter was accessible.

Ten minutes later Walter Georis came out and sat down with us. A more gracious gentleman you’re not likely to find – as I mentioned to him, though we had never met I felt we were already friends by way of his music. We actually hit it off really well, and spent a good half hour just talking music. He was impressed with our treasure hunt idea and, after mentioning that his brother was heading out of town that afternoon, began texting to see if Gaston would delay his departure long enough to hook up with us at the restaurant they both owned in Carmel, some thirty minutes away from Carmel Valley.

After awhile, he left us to enjoy our wine tasting and promised to come back once he heard from his brother. We had plenty of time to taste a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay, a couple of different cabernets, and a merlot – all of which were beyond wonderful. We were kind of pinching ourselves at this point – I mean, how could you not, talking surf music and surf bands with Walter Georis of The Sandals? After a while, Walter reappeared to say he had reached his brother and we were good to go. He requested a marker from one of the waitresses, then signed our poster (“Surf’s Up! Walter Georis, The Sandals”) and posed for this nice picture:


I was looking around the tasting room area and had to ask where the band filmed a video of them performing “The Endless Summer” theme, since (as my mom so keenly pointed out), there appeared to be a vineyard by the house where the video was shot. Walter pointed across the street to a building they use for storage, and sure enough, there it was, looking as if the video had been shot there just moments ago. Compare the video and look at this picture:


Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s very cool.

Well, time was a wasting, and, it being near three o’clock, it was time to scoot over to Carmel (official name: Carmel-By-The-Sea) to find Casanova Restaurant, where we hoped to make our connection with Gaston. It’s a lovely place, very romantic, very quaint, and when we arrived, the host didn’t know anything about our arrangment, but sat us at a large table where we could chat with Gaston if he showed. We ordered ourselves up a glass of Georis sauvignon blanc and waited with all the anticipation of kids the night before Christmas.

Fifteen minutes later, Gaston Georis walked in and sat down next to us. Again, just the nicest guy in the world, very gracious, very warm and friendly. We talked about our treasure hunt and the restaurant – something he is obviously very proud of – and he was surprised to see the poster and all the signatures on it. Once again, the request went out for a large marker, and Tracey thought it charming how, after signing the poster opposite his brother’s (“Enjoy the music, Gaston Georis”), he blew on it to dry the ink. He posed for a picture…


…and was off. But not before picking up the tab for our wine. I mean, how classy is that?

The only down note to the day was hearing that getting John Blakeley’s autograph may be a little more difficult than originally thought. He lives up in San Francisco, but from what Walter told us has some significant health issues and isn’t in the best of health and very accessible at the moment. So this is something that looks as if it will need to be tabled – until at least my own health issues get straightened out.

But that final leg of our treasure hunt is something that will just have to wait. For now, the first two – meeting surfing icon Mike Hynson in San Diego three weeks ago and then the Georis brothers in Carmel this past weekend, surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. And not just the Georises themselves, but everyone associated with their winery and restaurant. Gracious hosts, friendly people, just a wonderful experience had by all.

Pool temp: 90 degrees

Filed in: Treasure Hunt by The Great White Shank at 00:25 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. What a wonderful experience and I am so happy that it all turned out so beautifully..and loved getting the call from you and Tracey.
    Sending you lots of love and unremarkable events in the days ahead…I expect a call letting me know all went well.

    Comment by Jana — September 7, 2010 @ 4:21 am

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