Monday, October 5, 2009

Redwoods and Wineries

We started out our morning with coffee and pastries at The Flying Goat coffee shop in downtown Santa Rosa, and then we headed northwest to the Armstrong Woods where the big Redwoods are. It was really beautiful and peaceful to walk around in the midst of such majestic trees.

After that we headed to a small vineyard called Porter Creek (which I really only wanted to go to because of the name!), but we ended up buying a couple bottles there. Then we headed to Healdsburg to buy lunch which we planned on eating at the next vineyard, Truett-Hurst. It was really nice and had a lovely spot to eat lunch by a babbling creek. We bought another bottle there. Next we stopped at Dutcher Crossing which had amazing views, and really good Sauvignon Blanc. We signed up for a club which.includes only 2 shipments of 6 bottles each, so we picked out the first six and will get another 6 in 6 mos. We next went to a really beautiful winery called Ferrari-C(something). It looked like a Tuscan Villa and had the most amazing surroundings. Just one bottle there with a pretty label! Next was Sbargia Family and we got 2 bottles there.
One lane bridge on the way to Porter Creek Vineyard:

Creekside lunch at Truett-Hurst Vineyard:

Ferrari-Carano Vineyard:

Beautiful View from Sbragia Family Vineyard:

Lake Sonoma:

Bella Wine Cave:

Grapes at Coppola Winery:

After that we made plans to meet up for dinner in Geyserville with Kate, the anesthesiologist I met yesterday, and her husband Dave. We had a little time to kill before we met them, so we drove up to Lake Sonoma which is a big reservoir. It was really pretty. We briefly stopped at a vineyard called Bella where they do their tastings in a cave. We didn't taste or buy, just looked around in the cave. Last stop before dinner was Francis Ford Coppola's vineyard where we bought one bottle.

We had dinner in Geyserville at Diavola, a great wood-fire oven pizza restaurant which was great. We had a nice time with Kate and Dave, and hopefully will continue that friendship.

We have had a wonderful trip and packed a lot of stuff into just a few days. I would LOVE to come back to this stunning part of the country again. Hopefully we can do that!

Home tomorrow. We might get to do a tiny bit of sightseeing in San Francisco before our flight in the afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing the boys and getting back home!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ride Day

Today was ride day. We started out from our hotel around 7am. It was cool but sunny. We split up after we parked the car, but I did get to see Jeff starting off the race and got a photo. He started off within the first ten minutes or so, which was lucky for him since it took about 35 min total to get everyone out.

Jeff ready to go:

Levi Leipheimer:

Jeff starting the race:

Levi & Odessa taking off:

Jeff at the top of King's Ridge, Thumbs up, he made it!:

At the medical tent there were already 2 paramedic teams in place setting up. Not much to do for me so I got coffee and wandered around. Eventually more folks showed up including Dan, a resident MD, Carla a NP and Kate a retired anesthesiologist whose wit and sarcasm I greatly enjoyed. Kate's husband Dave was also out doing the ride.

Dave & Kate:

We ended up only seeing about 10 patients or so, and mostly minor stuff. We did see a few people with some pretty bad road rash which needed cleaning out and dressing. The EMS said they made 4 runs with ambulances from out in the race. All in all not many injuries which was good. Probably due to the fact that this was not meant to be competitive but more of an enjoyable experience.

Jeff came pretty close to reaching his goal of 103 miles in 6 hours by making it in 6:37. Overall he ended up coming in 268 out of 3,500 riders, so not bad, especially for someone who is not used to doing climbs and descents of this magnitude! I'm proud of him for doing it and for doing so well. I think he really enjoyed it.
Jeff after completing the ride:

This eveving we went to Willi's Wine Bar which was great! We are both tired, but looking forward to hitting some wineries tomorrow!

BTW, the kids are doing fine and are with my mom and dad tonight. Porter had his 2 bottom molars break through right before we left and had a bit of a runny nose, but it doesn't seem to be stopping him. Connor started Fall hockey today. I miss them and will be happy to see them, but I'm also really grateful to our friends the Hollys and my parents for watching our kids and allowing us this wonderful opportunity to get away together!

Night before the big ride

We had a great day today. Jeff had a good 40 mile ride and met up with 2 other cyclists who are also doing the ride tomorrow, one form Santa Rosa and one from New York. I enjoyed some sun and relaxation while he was on his ride.

When he got back, we went to register for the ride, which was quite a long wait. We then drove West through Sebastapol and to Bodega Bay where we drove out to Bodega Head, a big cliff-like overlook where we could see the Pacific Ocean crashing in. It was super windy and cold, but I still got that wonderful smell of the sea. We went north on Highway 1, or the Pacific Coast Highway which was very narrow and twisty. We ended up in Jenner and had dinner at The River's End, a restaurant at the meeting place of the Russian River and the Pacific Ocean. We arrived around 6 pm and were soon treated to an amazing sunset and a beautiful full moonrise simultaneously. We also had a great meal.

The drive home was a bit more treacherous in the dark, and we had 2 near misses with deer. We are now back at the hotel and getting ready to hit the hay and get some sleep before the big day tomorrow.

Also, Jeff saw some signs along Highway 1 for the race, so they will get a chance to ride along some of the breathtaking coastal beaches and rocky coastlines we got to see today. Oh, and we did see some whales spouting and some sea lions from a distance too!
All in all a pretty great day! We are both looking forward to an amazing experience tomorrow and we look forward to sharing our day later. Hopefully Jeff can stop and take some photos along the way.

Off to bed...