First of all, let me say thank you to all of you that left sweet messages for me as I left for a very fun vacation! Some might not say biking 280 miles is much of a vacation, but for me, it was perfect. I so enjoy doing something "active" when I am away and prefer it to just sight seeing. My husband is an avid hunter and usually has a trip each year and I visit girlfriends along the coast somewhere since I love the beach, but bicycling is something we both enjoy so it's fun to do it together. I am doing this adventure in 2 postings so it won't be so long!
We stayed in the very funky San Remo Hotel 4 blocks up from Fisherman's Wharf. It was built in 1906 after the earthquake and fires of that year destroyed most of San Francisco, check out full history here. Each room was very charmingly decorated and it was like a dorm, you had to go down the hall the the WC!
It reminds me of traveling in Europe and staying in quaint little inn's! It really was fun and the hosts were so gracious to receive all of the bikes that were on our tour and house them in their garage. Once we arrived, we had to put our bikes together (we shipped them out ahead of time) and store the boxes until we returned. I had my own personal mechanic (DH) taking care of those details!
This is one of my favorite girlfriends Chi Chi (Lucia). She and her husband Freddy (from Chesapeake, VA) met us in San Fran on Saturday the 30th. We only had a few hours to visit Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row and Ghiradelli Square, some of my favorites before saddling up the next day. We were only allowed 30 pounds by the ride coordinators so that all the cyclist's (38 of us) bags could fit on the Sag Bus (one that takes our gear from place to place and in case anyone has a problem on the road) so packing was interesting. Not only biking clothes but clothes for the evenings which were VERY casual, but of course, I still didn't pack right.
Let's get this party started! We found this little Mexican restaurant outside of Cannery Row...they had so much fun supplying us with sombrero's for the photo op! Margarita's weren't too bad either!
, Me, Chi Chi, Freddy)
We've been friends since meeting in Kodiak, Alaska, in 1986.
Here we are the fearsome 4-some getting ready to saddle up!
I told you I was excited about riding over the Golden Gate bridge...well here I am! Biking clothes and helmet are soooo flattering. NOT. Each side of the bridge has a pedestrian crossing, we crossed and dropped right into Sausalito. We rode 38.5 miles north to Pt. Reyes, through Corte Madera, Larkspur, Kentfield, San Anselmo, Fairfax and Lagunitas and then bussed to Guernville. Me being the crazy person I am rode another 1.5 to make it an even 40. I know that these locations don't mean much to you in bloggyland, but those familiar with northern Cal will know where we are. Maybe I rode through your town? We had two difficult climbs first day out, both over 1 mile long. Doesn't seem much when you are in a car. On the first climb as I was going up, on the other side of the road were 2 ambulances and a fire truck. The policeman directing traffic said cyclists were going down too fast and lost control. YIKES. When I passed by they were loading up a fellow into the ambulance. I DO NOT like to see this.
We stayed in Guernville 2 nights so those that wanted to could kayak, hike or bike. Mike and I opted to do a ride. We rode to and through the Armstrong Redwood State Reserve first...it was so beautiful. It is my understanding the state parks in California are all going to be closed due to finances. You Californians please tell me it isn't so.
This tree had fallen many years ago, the markers you see tell of the dates in history the tree lived through, well over 100 years.
Back in the woods was this great amphitheater. So sad that it will not get to be used. I understand it was used for many different types of events including weddings. Can you imagine having all of God's beautiful creation around you as you say your "I DO'S?"
As we went on our way we rode through other glorious woods...
...and along the Russian River
...and vineyards. We did a 44 mile loop from Guernville through Forestville, Graton, Occidental, Monte Rio and back. We ate lunch In Occidental...
...where I had dessert first...I treated myself AND SHARED a HUGE cinnamon roll. I don't eat them as a general rule but I do LOVE them. I topped it off with soup!
I had to take a picture of this sign...only in California...
...will you see posting for "Hemp and Chocolate." Too funny. This is downtown Guernville, an interesting little stop. Artsy and cute.
We biked 44 miles from Guernville to Calistoga going from Sonoma county to the Napa valley home of the famous mineral and mud baths.
The ride had a mile climb and a 2 mile descent with lots of rolling hills...all I could think about as I was going 30+ miles per hour downhill was the guy I saw on the road 2 days before. We went through the cute little town of Windsor. We actually climbed 2300 feet on this day.
There were two couples that rode tandems on our ride. I don't know how they do it. My husband and I would KILL each other. I can just see myself sitting on back and trying to tell him what to do and him not listening whatsoever. Nope, not for us. These two said it took them a year to get over the major "discussions" they had on the bike and they've been riding tandem for over 20 years.
We stayed at the Lodge at Calistoga, a half a mile from town. It was a nice place to stay and they let us take the bikes in the rooms....actually we were able to do that every place we stayed. We got cleaned up, gathered our laundry and walked to the laundromat that the guy at the front desk said men weren't allowed in. Ha! Chi Chi and I gathered our men and we all hiked down there. We ended up having a small party as other's from our group came along....the guys went across the street and got some "beverages" while everything churned. Got that done and delivered back to the hotel and walked to town again for dinner.
We found this fabuloso Italian restaurant BOSKOS downtown. It was so delish! If you are ever there, you MUST try.
A day to do whatever you liked. We opted to go on our bikes to do a little wine tasting!
A great adventure....to come in part 2!