A lot of good stories come out of Vantigo tours, and a lot of great stories come out of Vantigo tours. Every once in a while, however, the stars align and a love story comes out of a Vantigo tour. Janna Huntington was kind enough to share hers with us over the phone recently, and it went something like this:
“We took a trip to San Francisco, I want to say it was April of last year. I think it was just at the beginning of when Erik had started the business, because he only had the one van- Lillie, the red one. We booked the trip, and my now husband, he literally had googled ‘weird shit to do in San Francisco’ (laughs). Somehow Vantigo popped up, and he emailed it to me at work and said, “Dude we should totally do this”. It was perfect because we’re both beer lovers and it just seemed like something we would both really enjoy. So I said, “Heck yeah, let’s book it.”
Erik got in touch with us and let us know that no one else had booked for that day so he might need to cancel the tour, since there was a 4 person minimum. He asked if we could reschedule for another date, but the dates didn’t line up well since we were only in town for a certain part of the week. The day of the tour, Erik calls and tells us, “No one else booked, but I’m not doing anything else today so let’s do it and it’ll just be us three.”
So we go on the brew tour- me, Tyler, and Erik. First Erik took us to this sandwich stop that had the most amazing dutch crunch bread. Then we head to the first brewing company on the tour. We’re just driving down Highway 1 just shooting the shit with Erik, and he’s giving us the back history on Vantigo. Suddenly we all look to the right, and we see whales jumping out of the water- these big ol’ huge whales. And Erik’s like “whoa!” and swerves off to the side of the road and we all get out and shoot a couple pictures there. These whales are breaching out of the water like in a movie! At that point we knew it was the start to what was going to be a great day.
We continue on and we’re, like I said, just shooting the shit. It was pretty early on in my and Tyler’s relationship, and by the end of this day, and I can’t even stress this enough- and we talk about Vantigo to everybody- this day was so special to Tyler and I, because it was- I don’t know it’s hard to explain. We were already in love at that point, but this was the day we realized we’d both found the one. Tyler told me later he had even said to Erik, “I think I just realized that this is the girl I’m going to marry.”
We keep driving, and get to the first brewery on the tour. Everyone was so cool there, and I think that’s also where we ate lunch. Anyhow, it got to the point, I think after the second brewery, when Erik stops at this place somewhere in Pescadero and tells us, “This isn’t normally part of the tour, but I’m going to stop and grab something.” He gets us this amazing, jalapeno cheese bread, and the three of us share it. Then he says, “Ok we’re going to take a little side trip now.”
He takes us down a long windy road, into the dead middle of the redwood forest. I had never, ever in my entire life seen or been to such amazing beauty. It was amazing- I just remember how insanely quiet it was in there. I guess we were pretty deep into it, because there were no sounds around us, and we were just surrounded by crazy, tall, picturesque trees. It was just one of those moments where we sat there and were all like, “Holy cow, this is so awesome.”
It’s so hard to put into words how everything just came together. The three of us had this great connection over loving beer, and you could tell Erik’s passion for beer and passion for Vantigo, and Tyler and I just really grasped that. It was like we were instantly all friends, and you don’t meet people like that who you organically click with very often. There were other things about the day, like Erik was blasting classic rock, and there are still songs that when I hear them to this day I’m like, “Oh my god Vantigo!” It’s one of those things that always sticks in my mind, and we tell everybody about it.
Cut to February of this year- Tyler tells me, “Hey, pack your bags, I’m surprising you with a trip to San Francisco. We’re flying to San Francisco and we’re going to do Vantigo again!” I was obviously thrilled, and wanted to know if we were going to get to ride in Harvey (Erik’s new blue van). Tyler told me it was still up in the air but that we’d figure it out.
We got to San Francisco on late Wednesday, and then our Vantigo tour was going to be Friday. Thursday comes around and Tyler says, “Hey let’s get dressed up and have a nice dinner.” So we get dressed up and then he says, “You know what we’re a little bit ahead of schedule, let’s go downstairs and have some drinks and then walk over there.” So then we do that. And then he says, “Alright well there’s this cool park across the street I want to check out, so let’s walk through there and then walk to the restaurant.” So we get to the park and he starts fidgeting, and we sit down on this bench and I’m thinking “Ok, really now, what is going on?”
I catch a glimpse of someone in the distance standing and taking pictures. We’re sitting on this bench and there’s this beautiful cathedral behind us, so I’m thinking, “Oh man we’re clearly in this guys way, he’s trying to take photos of this amazing cathedral!” As the sun is setting, the light is illuminating this cathedral, and then one thing leads to another and Tyler gets on his knee and proposes to me. I’m flipping out- he opens the box and I see the ring of my dreams- I don’t know how he knew, but there it is. So we have our moment of “Yes! Yes! Oh my god, we’re engaged!” And then I look up and the guy from behind the tree is standing right there and it’s freaking Erik!
I’m in total shock, I was just proposed to and I’m shaking and crying and he’s taking pictures, and I’m like “What the!?” and then Erik grabs his backpack and pulls out a bottle of champagne, and pops the cork, pours some champagne for us. He had been the guy taking the pictures! Tyler had called him a few weeks before and told him what he wanted to do and asked if Erik knew anyone who could take some photos, and Erik said he would do it. So it was just another huge moment that Erik was a part of.
We did the Northbound Vantigo brew tour the next day which was with a larger group, but was still an amazing experience. It’s just, Vantigo and Erik hold a very, very special place in our hearts. From being on a Vantigo tour the day we realized we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, to the moment where Tyler proposed- it was just surreal to have it all circle back around.
It’s our fairytale and we love, love, love Vantigo.”
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