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.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Winding Down in Cambria

Friday, Sept 9th

Last day of vacation.  We've left Santa Barbara and are in Cambria, specifically we're at Linn's for some olallieberry pie.  We planned to do a big ride today but time and fog were not on our side.

So, after a slice of pie, we took on the challenge of Santa Rosa Creek Road.  I'd love to see this when it is green and full of flowers as Miss P. did several months ago.

Please,  please, no applause.  Boy, Santa Rosa Creek Road seemed longer this time.

Just like a scene from the Hitchcock movie.  Didn't stick around too long.

Finally, at the intersection, Hwy 47 that will take us back to Hwy 1.  After a bit more climbing, the great descent down Hwy 47.  Little wind and not too much traffic made for a fine ride.

Losing the blue sky as the fog and cool temperatures return.  Glad I wore my wool jersey.  We did 30.5 miles.  Alas, the trip has come to a close. 

Another Day in Paradise Continued

Thursday, Sept 8th

After coming down Gibraltar Road, we meandered through neighborhoods and stumbled upon all kinds of funky art, including this mailbox (his bum is the slot for mail).  The roads we took were mostly downhill and quite a treat after the long haul up Gibraltar.  

We eventually came upon a bike path near the sea.  Santa Barbara is really pretty like all the seaside towns of California, each though having its own unique flavor.

Biking closer to the heart of downtown parallel to Cabrillo Hwy.

A moment in the sun and on the beach.

At the pier. We didn't have time to stop.  My mom and I vacationed here Sept 2001 and I would have liked the chance to explore a bit more and revisit places we saw. I'll have to return.  In the evening, we found a great Italian restaurant (Via Maestra 42) around the corner from Motel 6.  In a strip mall. The owner was from Piedmont, Italy.  Nice way to finish the day after doing 35.66 miles.  Tomorrow we leave for Cambria.

Another Day in Paradise

Thursday, Sept 8th

Today was the big climb, doing Gibraltar Road again.  More photos from the May adventure.  It seemed harder and longer this time since the novelty had worn off but still a great climb to do with stunning views.

Just about at the top.

At La Cumbra Peak, having climbed 3,985 feet.  I want a gold star.

The views were super.  This time we decided to to return down Gibraltar Road and follow a route to the sea.  Having gotten lost yesterday, we knew what to do as we meandered through canyon roads full of pretty houses hidden behind landscaped gardens.  We stopped in San Ysidro for a refreshment before reaching the sea.  [next blog post]

Friday, September 16, 2016

Situated in Santa Barbara

Wednesday, Sept 7th

Here we are at the Motel 6 in Santa Barbara.  Okay, that's not Motel 6.  It's the lovely Santa Barbara Inn but a girl can dream, right.  Actually, the Motel 6 was fine.  We planned a 15 mile ride to do while waiting for our room to be ready.  Let's talk comic disaster.

But first, I loved this church because it seemed so out of place, like it belonged in Princeton.  Meanwhile, back to the story.  The Boyfriend spent an hour or so on his laptop trying to map out how to get to the route we planned for today.  I was like, let's just get on the road and see where it leads.  Well, despite his efforts, we got hopelessly lost.  You make one wrong turn on a mountain road (Sycamore Canyon) and you're done.  We did see lots of what's make Santa Barbara a beautiful destination.  And discovered that Santa Barbara is very bike friendly. It was the first time that I was ever so pleased to have bought a smarty phone because believe me, I was pulling it out every 5 minutes to figure out where we were and how to get back to the swanky motel.  I love Google Maps and the lady talking to me but I want to get the guy with the sexy Australian accent that my friend has on her phone....

Anyway, in the evening, like a pirate, I made The BF walk the plank, a 2.5 trek to a restaurant that turned out to be closed.  So, we found somewhere else to have dinner and we took an Uber back to the motel; my first Uber experience.  Ha ha, either the guy's algorithm was bad or he was, because by this time, we knew how to return to the swanky motel but he didn't and on top of that, his Uber got a flat.  Like I said, the day was a comic disaster but still delightful when spinned properly.  Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Harris Grade Here We Come

Tuesday, Sept 6th

Off on another ride today in Solvang, beginning with a favorite -- Santa Rosa Road.   We passed the Sanford winery and later in the evening, I would have a glass of its chardonnay.

About time that I saw some alien pods. Oh alrighty, it's spaghetti squash.  On today's route, we came across many a farm, from strawberry fields to various lettuces and squash.  We decided to vary the route by cutting across Rucker Road, a slice of suburbia (in the Lompoc area)  in which conscientious homeowners had let their lawns go brown or had planted drought resistant plants.  Kudos to them.

Rucker Road took us to Harris Grade, a climb we've never done.  It was wonderful.

More of Harris Grade.  It was not difficult but it was long.  The weather was perfect and that always helps.

Harris Grade was scenic, from rocky to forest.  My kind of climb.  And little traffic.

With great views.  Imagine what this must look like after the rains have come.

Weeeee, down The Boyfriend goes with me soon to follow.  Not too much in the way of winds but it took some time to finally arrive in Los Almos for a lunch break.  The BF was feeling it in his legs from climbing Mt. Figueroa the day before.  We rode 60 miles today.

This is our last day in Solvang.  We had dinner at the Solvang Brewery and afterwards, The BF got a gelato from Cafe Dolce.  It was nice to finish this leg of the tour doing a different ride. Tomorrow, we're off to Santa Barbara.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Figueroa Mountain

Monday, Sept 5

As I mentioned in earlier posts, The Boyfriend took on all of Mt Figueroa while I went in a different direction and at some point, we would meet on the mountain, assuming I didn't meet some men along the way or other distractions that might cause me to detour....

I started the climb.  The reason I'm going in this direction is because the route The Boyfriend is taking is full of steep pitches and sheer drops, much too frightening for me.  Which is not to say that my climb was easy peasy. 

Onward I go despite meeting some fellas, full of encouragement ....

Chugging away, taking in the views.

Lookey, there he is, coming my way.  I managed to do 32 miles, he around 50 I think.  It was a work out.  The BF said his legs felt spent.  In the evening, we had a good meal at an Irish pub in Solvang and a good night's sleep.  Tomorrow, another ride awaits.

Postcard Pretty

Monday, Sept 5

Like two ships in the night, The Boyfriend went on his merry way to tackle all of Figueroa Mountain while I, being me, chose to play bike tourist and only do some of this monster of a climb.  So, here I am taking a moment to visit Mission Santa Inez on the outskirts of Solvang.

Lovely, yes.  And notice the perfectly blue sky as well.  As noted earlier, after this quick stop, I biked Armour Ranch Road, a road much like a rollercoaster.

This ride has it all, from horse ranches to

curvy roads with great views and

vineyards plus

Shetland ponies.  I seriously thought about ditching the bike and asking the little fella to take me to meet The Boyfriend.  I'm about 15 miles into today's ride.  Next up, the climb.

Love Rollercoaster Ride

Monday, Sept 5

The first of a few blogposts describing today's ride.  We're in Solvang about to tackle Figueroa Mountain.  But first, on my own,  I revisited a favorite road of mine - Armour Ranch Road.  You'll soon see why.

Yipee, here I go.

One barely needs to pedal -- like a rollercoaster, you simply are swept away, propelled to continue going, rolling along.

On and on, away I go.  Wheeeeeee.  And now, let's get back to the rest of today's ride. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vacation Time

Sunday, Sept 4th

Guess where we are.  Yep, back in Solvang, our home base for super biking in Santa Ynez Valley.   This time I drove, and you know what that means ... yep, I put The Boyfriend in the trunk and had me a swell time.  Ha ha ha. 

Labor Day weekend brought tourists and renting a super deluxe bike vehicle seemed the thing to do.  Cool.

We arrived early afternoon, got settled, and then did our favorite 14 mile ride -- the Amgen Tour of California TT.  This time of year, I saw a lot of prickly pear cactus.  Boy, the winds were gusty, coming at us sideways and head on.  It was tough biking.  In the evening, we went to Cecco, an Italian restaurant we discovered the last time we were in Solvang.  I chatted with the young and pretty staff, talking about our men and how we let them pretend they're in charge.  We rolled our eyes a lot and said things like, "I hear ya sister."  The Boyfriend was oblivious.  Ha ha ha.  We had a delicious pizza that was made in front of us by a charming guy who wanted to please us.  And served with a good wine.  A lovely way to start a much needed vacation, and as The Boyfriend remarked, "A Night of Zin."