Sunday, December 25, 2016

Continuing the Christmas Tradition

I'm not one for traditions but for whatever reason, I started going to Half Moon Bay every Christmas. 

This is the second year that Miss P. joined me.  She indulged my desire to explore a section of the coastal trail that I've been meaning to do forever.  She also drove and that was really nice.

I've always wanted to walk to the Ritz Carlton and this year, my wish was granted.

We walked and walked, sometimes on the cliffs, sometimes on the beach.  Parts of the beaches were not accessible because the tide had come in.  But, anywhere you find yourself in this area is simply stunning. 

We kept walking in the direction towards Pescadero, and at some point, moved a little ways inland.  We passed a farm where they are obviously breeding, wait wait for it, yes, aliens. Also known as Brussel sprouts.  It was a surprise and a delight.

Here I am, having survived the invasion of the body snatchers, also known as the aliens masked in Brussel Sprouts stalks.

We saw a rabbit dart across the path.  We saw a few humans, too. I'm still surprised we didn't see any aliens but I guess they have not hatched from the pods.  We saw some odd signs, one for instance mentioning if you didn't see the sheriff, then, leave a note.  Okey dokey.  We ended up walking 8 miles, an easy accomplishment when faced with breathtaking scenery.  Another splendid outing, peaceful and calming.  This is how I like spending Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas in the Park in San Jose by Night

Visiting Christmas in the Park in San Jose at night brings a new experience than the one felt during the day.  The lights twinkle, the air is cold, the season bright, and it's very merry.  Year after year, I, and many others, return to visit a tradition.

He cracked me up because that is how I felt after a few drinks too many....

Let me tell you about the very long letter I deposited that was addressed to The Boyfriend .... I must say that The BF, returning from a trip to Finland, gave me 2 unique gifts that I liked very much.  He is redeemed for the moment.

Inside the Fairmont Hotel.

One of many trees that decorated the park.

Lights, trees, festive, a beautiful way to get in the spirit of the holiday.

Christmas in the Park in San Jose by Day

Time to get in the spirit of the holiday season by visiting Christmas in the Park in San Jose.

Goodness, that's a big tree.  I like things big.

Meanie Beanie makes his presence.

Santa!  We've felt an arctic blast all across the U.S. this week.


Visiting the gingerbread people.

Seen on the way home tonight, in my neighborhood, just had to toss him in.  He made me smile.  Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Los Gatos Lights Up

I have always wanted to do this, so, when Miss. P. suggested we take advantage of the walk through Vasona Park in Los Gatos, to be up close, in the fresh air of a December evening, I was so there.

Immediately, there was the sense of, "It's beginning to look like..." and the sense of awe.

Our cameras only captured a fraction of the beauty.

It's beginning to look a lot like ...

Such joy, such beauty as we walked along the path, taking in the exhibits of light.

This was truly stunning.  We bathed in the light.

Me, happy as a clam.

These photos only capture a fraction of the beauty of the event along with being with a wonderful friend.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Livermore to Patterson Pass

Somewhere on Tesla Road doing club ride from Livermore to Patterson Pass (a 45 mile route).  OMG people, I loved every bit of this incredibly scenic ride.

After the gentle climb up Tesla, we were greeted with 16 miles of descent along Corral Hollow Road.  Every turn was breathtaking.  I have a million zillion photos.  I loved that we were on the same road for 25 miles.  

Crossing 580 on the way to Tracy for a lunch break; neat to be so close to the water aqueduct.

Starting Patterson Pass. It was freaking stunning.  Again, the grade was not too bad until the summit.

A perfect weather day.  Yay for alternative energy sources.

Not sure that I mentioned the stunning landscape.  On and on.  Every minute a joy. Must do again.

Just the Stats:

45 miles
32 mph descent
11.5 avg mph
3 hr. 51 min.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wacky Weather

The weather this weekend has been strange but The Boyfriend and I were determined to do a favorite club ride of ours, a climb I actually like -- Fremont Peak State Park in San Juan Batista.  A climb of 3,169 feet over 11 miles.  We left San Jose with blue skies.  As I drove us through Morgan Hill and garlicky Gilroy (seriously you could smell the garlic) on Hwy 101, the sky turned dark, threatening rain at any minute. Well, The BF, asleep in the car, missed all the drama.  We hit dense fog approaching our destination.  We contemplated abandoning the ride.  And then all was swell again as we started the ride with 5 other club members.  The sun started to shine through the clouds.  5 miles into the ride, we hit dripping fog again.

And then poof, all was swell once again.  Dramatic clouds greeted us for the rest of the climb.  Well, I suppose that cloud is not that extraordinary but it was still neat to look at.  The wacky weather meant we had the road to ourselves; only a few cars passed us.

Up and up I went, enjoying the ever changing scenery. The BF and the others had long left me in the clouds.

It was like being in an airplane.  We were nervous about the descent with the wet road, sand, and gravel but it wasn't as scary as imagined.  Our bikes though got pretty dirty.  We had a great ride and decided to leave once back down.  We skipped doing the last leg of the ride - the cute town of Aromas.  It was quite warm in San Juan Batista.  Once back in San Jose, the weather had changed with light rain and winds.  22 miles altogether.  A nice way to spend the day -- relaxed and happy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Weekend Getaway

Sunday, Oct 9th and Monday, Oct 10th

So, I said to The Boyfriend, "Listen Mister, if we have to drive in separate cars to Napa Valley for a mini vacation, then you better make it worth my time."  I like to keep him on his toes.  After smooth sailing on Hwy 680 (well, some drivers irritated me to no end), we met at the Wine Valley Lodge, one of the few remaining affordable places in Napa.  The sun was hot, the day warm.

The BF swept me away, well actually I drove us to St. Helena to see a movie at the Cameo Theatre. 

Next, he wined and dined me at Market Restaurant in St. Helena.  We looked at a number of places but geez Louis, I am not paying $90 for steak.  I don't eat red meat, but heck if I did, I would have butchered the beast myself at those prices.  So far, on his report card, The BF is passing.  

Fast forward to the next morning.  We decided to do a 30 mile loop that took us from Mt Veeder (a climb in the woods) and onward into Napa Valley. The scenery was lovely, soothing and challenging.

A scene from Mt. Veeder before the descent.

Descending Oak Grade.

A quiet country road near Oakville Grocery.

Approaching the Silverado Trail.  It was a beautiful day weather wise.  Never been to Napa Valley in October.  Vines were dying while others still bore fruit, perhaps for a late harvest.  Too short a trip but definitely memorable thanks to The Boyfriend.  One of these days I may be kind to him.... We hope to return soon.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Low Key Hill Climb Highway 9 - What Can I Say

Saturday, Oct 9th

Well, yeah, there I am in the background, looking like I'm taking an oath, something like,  I swear to place last for the Low Key Hillclimb Highway 9 challenge.  Can I just say right now, these women were not only super sweet, but, they rocked out there on the climb.

Thank you Bill Bushnell for trying to make me look good.  Seriously, I just wanted to try to match my time from the LKHC event back in 2011.  Everyone on today's ride struck me as really nice.

This woman was fabulous.  She was sweeping to see who was left (that would be me); she was truly encouraging.  This year, my cycling has been pretty much recreational and so, the LKHC series is my only opportunity to push myself.  I'm not sure I've even done Highway 9 this year.  In 2011, I did Hwy 9 in 59 minutes.  Today, I did it in 62 minutes.  Way back in 2006, I did it in 61 minutes.  What can I say.  I'm pleased.  I pushed myself and had a good time.  More impressive, the women and men times and the variety of people who turned out today.  This is a great series. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Just Around the Corner

Miss P. and I joined an impromptu club ride today going up Mt. Hamilton, starting at 7:30am [gasp].   If that wasn't bad enough, we're in the midst of a mini heat wave.  So I guess starting at this ridiculously early hour [I mean, I could have been in bed eating bonbons and thinking about boy toys] was a good thing.

I can't remember the last time we climbed Mt. Hamilton.  I certainly remember how as you approach each curve and bend in the road, glimpsing the observatory, you imagine you're just about there ....

There were a lot of cyclists out today along with noisy motorcyclists.  Air quality was so so.  Lookey, I'm almost there.  Not.

Our throats were parched.  It heated up much faster than we anticipated.  I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm almost there.  Not.

Miss P. got ahead of me.  I'm getting closer.  Sort of.  Yay.

And suddenly, the Lick Observatory appears before one's eyes.  I was not any faster than on previous rides but I did feel strong.  Please, please no applause.

A parting shot.  Time to descend.  38 miles.  A shower and a coke felt wonderful afterwards.