Monday, May 31, 2010

Two Days of Riding and Leaving Petaluma

After 27 days of less than desirable weather, we finally got 2 good days in a row. Peggy and Roger Hancock got here last week. Friday we rode up to Graton, part of the ride on the Joe Rodota bike trail. It was very pleasant. Coming back through Sebastopol, we saw this. It's an Avion, which we have never seen in this configuration. They're usually travel trailers, and look a lot like Airstream trailers. I can't tell if this is a home modification, or if it came from the factory like this. Very interesting.

Saturday, we went up to the Alexander Valley. But first, we stopped at a farmer's market in Healdsburg. Healdsburg is just cuter than a bug. There was much local produce and flowers. We bought fattening muffins and ate them. Good.

These are fava beans. I'd never seen them before. These are the beans made famous by the movie, Silence of the Lambs.

After the market, we left for the vineyards on our bikes. It is just spectacular. I can not recommend riding in this area enough. Thank you Roger and Peggy for showing us this.
Do you know why they plant roses near the grapes? It's because roses are subject to the same diseases than grapes are, only they get sick faster. So, the roses are acting as canaries; if they get sick it's time to rush out with the sprayers. We didn't know this, the Hancocks did.

Then we stopped at the Ferrari-Carano winery. Look at the magnificence of the building.

This is off the back.

The gardens there are just phenomenal. Lovely.

Peggy, Roger and Jim on the little bridge.

There are many wineries out there.

Last night we out to dinner at Point Reyes Station. We had mussels and French fries. Dinner was very good. We had to wait to be seated, so we sat outside with an excellent bottle of wine. Just delightful. Today Roger and Peggy left. We are sad.

Tomorrow we are off to Mt. Shasta. Then we'll make our way to Bend, OR. I hope the climate will improve for June. May has not been great for much of the country.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Peacocks at KOA

Guess who was sitting outside of our bedroom window at oh:dark:thirty this morning screaming his little peacock head off?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Girl Scouts and San Fransisco

More farm animals at the KOA in Petaluma. These are peacocks. Look closely at the feet of the peahen on the right, and you can see peachicks. One wonders why one would keep peacocks at an establishment where people are expecting to sleep. They scream frequently, even at night.

Last weekend was a Girl Scout function involving tents. Their leaders and the Scouts have really mastered logistics. They came in on Friday night, set up, did Scouting stuff on Saturday, and by mid-day Sunday they were packed up and gone.

The weather Saturday was sunny, cold and windy. We decided to drive into San Fransisco, erroneously believing that like other large cities, they would have pay parking lots. But first we took a tour of the Marin headlands. It used to be an Army post called Fort Cronkhite. It was initially a Coast Defense Artillery post for the defense of San Francisco. With the Cold War came Nike Missile Sites to defend against the bombers that thankfully never came. This is one of the old Nike missile sites.

The view back across the bay - that is the Golden Gate Bridge. The government had some fabulous real estate.

Enlarge the picture by clicking on it, the buildings with red roofs are old military barracks for the soldiers stationed here when the fort was active, not a bad place to be stationed, if one was in the army.

After walking around a bit, we got back in to the car and drove into Sausalito. It's a very expensive area situated above the bay, looking at San Francisco. It's densely populated.

I love this park, with the elephants on pedestals.

We then drove in to San Fransisco. By that point in time we needed food. We failed to grasp how residential SF is. After driving for a bit in really terrible traffic we finally found a Quiznos. Thus fortified, we set out towards the water front, still believing that there would be parking. There are many Victorians in various states of repair. This one still has a lot of painted detail, but the door is covered with a construction fence.

This is some sort of government plaza, and was the site of the Black and White ball, which was to be held that night. KD Lang and Tony Bennett were the primary performers. The proceeds go toward keeping music programs in grades K through 5.

Finally, the water front. We found parking meters. Three dollars an hour! I thought Seattle was bad. We went into a Safeway and bought quarters from the checkers so we could get out of the car and walk some.

I have to tell you, there is no good reason to go to the water front. After tearing down the Embarcadero elevated freeway, and opening the water front up to the rest of the city, they then populated it with T shirt shops, $10 fleece jackets, assorted souvenirs, and stuff nobody needs or wants. By August you will not be able to stir them with a stick.

They do have some cool street cars, however. These are old and restored.

Look in the back ground, that's Alcatraz. Look in the right foreground on the dock, that's a sea lion.

After walking about for an hour in the rip roaring cold breeze, we both had headaches and returned to the truck and for home. This is the Golden Gate bridge on the way out.

The weather continues to try our patience. We dressed out for riding this morning with undershirts and glove liners. After 3 or so miles it started raining on us and we gave up. It was an official laundry day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mountain Biking at Annadel Park

We took the mountain bikes out to Annadel regional park yesterday. The jury is still out on whether we like it or not. It's a huge park with a lot of trails but they are so rocky. Going up is not too bad, but coming down is some what intimidating because there are so many big rocks. I almost got a walker descending, there was a gap between two giant rocks that I HAD to take, and he stepped right into it. I realize walkers have the right of way, but why would you step into the path of someone on a bike on a really steep hill, especially when the biker (me) doesn't have enough time to stop? It scared the poop out of both of us. When we're hiking and we see a mountain biker, we run for the edge of the trail so they can stay on their chosen line. Fortunately he moved at the last second. No one hit the ground yesterday, so I'm declaring it a success.

This is an oak that is indigenous to the area.

Another trail which we did not ride.

More scenic beauty.

After riding, my bike went in for service. The squealing in the back brake is so bad it hurts my ears. It is good for letting Jim know where I am because he can hear me everywhere. The cables have stretched as well, so shifting has become random.

The truck is going back in next week. The funny noise returned with a vengeance. So, yesterday Jim took it in so the technician could hear it. It was out of the first tech's hearing range, so Jim hung around until a younger guy could go for a ride and hear it. After they couldn't hear the brakes rumbling we've decided to help them hear things. Anyway, it turns out the steering gear we had replaced in Tucson was defective, and a new one must be installed, for free. We're going to go out of warranty today. Let the mechanicals begin!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Picture from the Giro d'Italia

This is a picture Lance Armstrong posted on TwitPic. This was taken at the Giro d'Italia. When is the last time you saw bicycles leaving wakes? This has to be so miserable. Conditions for them have not been good this year. I guess the Tour of California is not so bad, after all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tour of California

Today was stage two of the Tour of California. Previously the race was held in February, but this year was moved to May (conflicting with the Giro d'Italia) for better weather. Good luck with that! It was cold, rainy and gruesome today. I took an assortment of jackets, and my fleece vest and ended up wearing it all to stay warm. We had hoped to get up to the last ferocious climb, but the road was closed when we got there. It's too bad, because it was a pivotal section of the race. So we stood in the rain for what seemed like forever and waited for them to come around this corner.

The pictures are not that great, sorry about that. In this picture, the 4th rider (silver helmet) is Lance. He was looking strong here. There were two riders in front of them, they were just flying here.

More riders.

There was a pervasive smell of hot brakes from the team cars after their descent down Trinity Hill. Apparently it was just a bear to get down; switchbacks, rocks on the road and wet.

More riders, still chasing.

It was cool to be out there and see them.

While waiting for the race to come through, I was talking to a B&B owner. She said that she's lived here for 12 years, and the weather has never been this yucky in May. I think Jim and I brought it here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Opening Weekend of Kamping Season

In Seattle, we had the opening day of Boating season, KOA has the opening weekend of camping season. If you pay for Friday, Saturday is free. The weekend campers have turned out in force with an amazing complement of food, more food, beverages and fire wood. And kids, don't forget the kids. Last night was the same bad band, and the kids were running amok until midnight. It's a good family weekend, it's an enclosed space, they're relatively safe (unless running into each other on their bicycles) and it's an inexpensive break from the routine. We are astonished at the amount of food that is consumed.
These are our neighbors across the way. They spent the better part of the day burning wood and eating.

Travel trailers are the preferred abode.

This is a Kamping Lodge, as opposed to a Kamping Kabin. The Lodge has indoor plumbing. Look at the number of tables that are set up.

This is a lot of work. I'm impressed that people are willing to pack up this much stuff and cart it out to KOA for the weekend.

Last night was a bad night, I am still struggling with my Flecainide induced insomnia. We decided not to ride since my balance was rocky from lack of sleep. So we drove in to Sepastopol, which is a cute little town. We think that all the hippies who used to live in Berkeley got better paying jobs and moved there. We had lunch in a vegetarian restaurant, it was an interesting menu. They make brownies with no dairy and no eggs. How does that work?

One of the doggoes in the park. He is such a good boy.

Tomorrow we are relocating the RV to a different site. It will have a north/south orientation, so more sun gets in through the windows. This will result in the RV feeling less cave-like. We are hopeful that we'll be able to get satellite there as well. The cable here is not so great.

Hope you are all well and experiencing spring.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Point Reyes National Seashore and more Highway 1

Today, after our riding our new 26 mile loop with hills, we drove down to Point Reyes National Seashore. This is a model of the park (in green) and the surrounding area. Look at the hills there. It's such an interesting terrain. The San Andreas fault runs down the water between the seashore park and the mainland, some day the park will be an island. It's an enormous park, we may drive back down with the bikes.

We drove back to the RV park via Highway 1. This is south of the last stretch of Highway 1. It's so beautiful here.

So, that is what we did today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Raining in Petaluma

Woe. Woe is me. It's raining. That, in and of itself, is unacceptable, but we are without a vehicle. The truck is in for new rear rotors. The power steering had been making a funny noise when we turned left, and we'd hoped to have that fixed under warranty, but of course today it would not make the funny noise. How does the truck know? It just does.

The natives are really sick of this weather. Apparently they had a miserable winter and early spring and they want this to end. I second that emotion. Fortunately we did get the heavy grill cover over the mountain bikes, so they are dry and happy. The same can not be said for Jim who just left to put the laundry in the dryers.

So, that is all for now.

Later update to this post: The truck started making the funny noise again the second we drove off the Chevy lot.