Sonoma Transit Trials

Not the Wine Train.

This is being written from within the innards of BART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system that wends through the large intestine of the greater Bay Area like a behemoth tapeworm. It is both marvelous and beguiling. Especially considering that, heretofore, my commute experience comprised driving from the Springs to EDK, which actually takes a smidge longer than zipping from Rockridge to SOMA, the locations betwixt which current contracts have me bobbing like a cork atop the Bay.

I’ve heard tell of a Golden Gate Transit bus that once took commuters from Sonoma to San Francisco, but so far as I can tell it has evaporated into the mists of memory. Meaning, there’s no direct way to commute from Wine Country to, um, the outer limits, besides hopping in an emissions-emitting vehicular bunion on one’s carbon footprint. Surely there must be a rideshare program or even a “casual carpool” as it’s called, which somehow sounds less like a viable means of getting to work than swingers getting it on in the backseat – unless that’s your job (insert rim-shot here).

Of course, there is the “gondola” but that requires a certain heartiness of soul. I don’t mean the romantic Venetian kind, rather the massive tubs used to route grapes from harvest to date with the crush facility.

If you time it right, you can hop in some rich dude’s estate-grown varietal en route to a custom crush pad in San Francisco where some tatted-up assistant winemaker lets him take credit for the resulting plonk. Don’t wear white. In fact, don’t wear anything. That way you can stage a miraculous birth as “Bacchus reborn,” which will confuse everyone just long enough to get the hell out of the joint. Sure, you’re skin will be purple but it’s the content of your character that counts.

Sonomans seeking public transit alternatives within the confines of the county have long used Sonoma County Transit’s fairly thorough routes, though, mysteriously, none travel east of the Plaza. Some have quietly suggested that this says something about class distribution in the Valley but their supposition is based on a false corollary: “East-siders don’t ride the bus because they drive BMWs.” This is patently untrue since many actually drive Mercedes. And some don’t even drive at all – they take the secret monorail that runs through the wine caves and is available to only the crème de la crème of Sonoma society. Oh, you haven’t ridden the monorail? How bohemian of you.

The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit district (SMART) is being pretty mum about their efforts to bring high-speed rail through the counties, at least as far as courting bids is concerned. While contractors are vying for the big construction gigs, someone savvy from the beverage biz could be making a play to run the cocktail car. Or, perhaps more apropos, the tasting room – on wheels (and not the old “open-container in the car” type either). I’m talking about a bona fide, real deal “pour and snore” with sommeliers who dispense too little and talk too much – but at, like, 200 miles an hour. That means you could be in the city in 15 minutes – just enough time to catch a buzz but not overdue it. Hell, you could make a cereal out of those little tasting room crackers and a splash of merlot (trust me, certain Sonomans have done worse). Forget the Napa Valley Wine Train, climb aboard the Sonoma Express and have one on the house as the conductor shuffles by collecting corks. Choo-choo!

This is all probably moot anyway. I hear someone in WiredSonoma is building an eco-friendly jetpack that runs on fumes collected from breathalyzer tests – our local renewable energy source.

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