The idea was to SUP first and sip later, but a delayed departure from Tucson and the early sunsets of November called for a change in plans. Which couldn't have worked out better! At Flying Leap Vineyards in Elgin the staff welcomed and then impressed us with her fun delivery of deep wine knowledge. The sipping part of the day was off to a tasty start--the wine was great!
This 4-person, 4-boards Baja Arizona SUP road trip took us east on I-10 from Tucson and then south on Arizona 83 through the Santa Rita foothills and down into the high grasslands of Santa Cruz County. Dark spots of cattle offset the dry dun-colored grass, the angles of occasional windmills rose from the rolling landscape, and donkeys could be seen hanging out with horses. At the cross-roads in Sonoita, we continued south and then turned left/east onto Elgin Road, which makes finding a vineyard easy because they line the north side of the road.
After we had sipped our way through a number of offerings, the staff at Flying Leap took us to the distillery where they make vodka from grapes. It apparently takes a lot of grapes and is a more expensive process, but the results were worth it. More sipping ensued. (What about the paddling, you ask? Don't worry, we'll get to it.) The grape-based vodka won new converts and our crew added a bottle of vodka to the wine already purchased at the tasting room.
After a photo op with the friendly horses and donkeys across the road from Flying Leap, we headed southwest on Arizona 82 toward Patagonia and our paddling destination, Patagonia Lake. We put in at the sandy beach on the east end of the 2.5 miles long lake, which is set in hills and lined with mesquite trees, reeds, and rock outcroppings. This being a Tuesday in November, we had the place to ourselves, and this being Arizona, we paddled in board shorts and tee shirts. And while we were at it, we worked on paddle stroke technique and--no surprise here for anybody who knows me--took more than a few photos. Nobody had to be told to smile. We eventually drove home in the dark, ready to return.
Let me know if you want to go: Chris@BajaArizonaSUP.com
Board meeting minutes:
Flying Leap Vineyards Tasting Room: 342 Elgin Road, Elgin, AZ. Contacts: Phone 520-455-5499 Email Contact@FlyingLeapVineyards.com Website: http://www.flyingleapvineyards.com
Patagonia Lake State Park https://azstateparks.com/patagonia-lake/