Saturday, December 30, 2017

Baths Time

Every Saturday for months, no actually years, I go for a bike ride, usually with my great club.  Not today!  I needed to do something different.  I chose to hike Land's End and visit Sutro Baths.

The bad air quality while driving on Hwy 280 was sadly noticeable.  But, approaching the Half Moon Area was sweet as I was shrouded in low lying fog, making for a romantic moment.   I arrived early at the Land's End Lookout parking lot in San Francisco in order to secure a spot. An icy wind greeted me and I almost got back in my car to go back home.  But, wait, wait for it ... oh yes, there they were, hunky firemen dealing with a fallen tree. Oh my, that got me warmed up quickly.... The shot above is show that I pushed myself, a little bit, in tackling my vertigo.

I contemplated calling this particular blog entry, "How I survived stair walking."  Omg, there are a lot of steep stairs to climb.  You think you're in shape and then you meet a stair....

This is a beautiful hike.  I only did some of it, turning around when the Coastal Trail meets the road.  On the return, I visited the Sutro Baths, of course.  I learned something -- back in 1897, John Harris, a black man was not permitted entry despite a newly enacted law that was meant to protect people of color (Dibble Civil Rights Act).  Learn more here.

By the end of my hike, it had warmed up considerably.  The sky tried to be blue.  I'm glad I got my weenie self out of bed this morning though it'd been even sweeter if I had a chauffeur to drive me.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Um, It Didn't Happen

I planned to hike Mt. Um today, figuring there'd be no crowds on a weekday.  Driving Hicks and Um was more exhausting than cycling those roads!  I listened to a discussion about lizards, dinosaurs and birds on public radio.  Wow, there are thousands of lizard species.  That'll sure come in handy at the next cocktail party I attend.

The Bald Mountain parking lot was full.  No! Change of plans.  I decided to explore Sierra Azul instead.  And then, my life was shattered when I learned, "There is no poop fairy."  No!  Say it isn't so.

I chose the Woods Road trail because, I don't know, I was expecting woods, right!

Oh sure, go ahead and taunt me Mt Um.

Wow, I'm lost in a forest. 

Loving the wooded forest ... approaching Yellow Kid trail.  I know the drill by now ... there isn't going to any yellow kid anytime soon.

Oh sure, go ahead and taunt me some more Mt. Um.

"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." That's the correct quote; I know because I'm a librarian.

Had I read the map correctly, I believe that if I had gone in the opposite direction, I would have eventually got on the Barlow trail and that leads to the Mt Um trail.  Maybe I would have seen some trees, too.

I did see a few mountain bikers and hikers.   But no poop fairies since I now know they don't exist.  Next, they'll be telling me that there are no aliens either.  After 3 miles, due to all the excitement (not), I was done.  I will get up that mountain one of these days. Or as Scarlett O'Hara said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!"

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas Montara

Here we are just about to drive through Tom Lantos Tunnels near Devil's Slide.

Where to begin; every view was scenic!  We parked at Gray Whale Cove parking lot to begin the 7-9 mile hike up Montara Mountain.

As you can see, the weather was not stellar, another soupy day in the Bay Area but that didn't stop us!  Despite the color and the gloom, and not pictured here, we did see the Farallon Islands and Half Moon Bay.

As we climbed and took in the views, we met mtn bikers and hikers, all who wished us a Merry Christmas. 

We met a guy dressed as Santa Claus.  I would have liked to sit on his knee.... Wow, there were some difficult sections of the trail and I have a few moments of vertigo.   I suspect tomorrow my legs will be screaming, too.  Glad I brought the walking poles.

Did you know there's a company that sells scones and calls itself Sconehenge. Omg, that's too rich.  Contemplating the light, we realized we wouldn't make it all the way up the mountain, plus a cold wind hampered our hike.  Still we managed to do 5.2 miles.  I already know that I must return on a sunnier day and maybe I'll sing, "Go tell it on the mountain."  Once again, another wonderful Christmas hike, a tradition I enjoy and appreciate year after year.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Um, you know

It was 43 degrees this morning but the day promised warmer temperatures and as long as one wore wool, then, a bike ride seemed possible.  The Boyfriend and I agreed to skip a club ride doing Mt. Diablo, preferring instead to have another go at climbing Mt. Um, this time from Hicks West.  Here's me at the intersection of Mt. Um and Hicks, proud that I got up Hicks without having to walk!  Of course that meant the rest of the ride would be exhausting but still, I relished the moment.

There goes The Boyfriend.  He too felt the sting of this climb combined with Hicks but he still steamed ahead of me.  I had to stop a few times, first to enjoy the scenery but mostly to take a break.  We encountered only a handful of cars and that was appreciated.

On and on I went getting closer to the top.  Along the way, I chatted with a female jogger as well as a few male cyclists -- I don't think I looked my best, I mean, let's face it, I was sweaty, snot was probably coming out of my nose, and I was drooling at their fine physique.... still they provided encouragement....

On and on I went taking in the stunning vistas.  Alas, today, we felt the air quality was poor and I do believe it had a negative impact on our stamina.  Sure, Hicks took a bite out of me, but, I felt off the entire time.  Still, I love this climb.  It's quiet, scenic and calms the soul.  Though, I was surprised by the whirring sound of a helicopter circling for a bit but it soon disappeared.

I had about another half mile to the top when I came across The Boyfriend coming down.  I was done.  I was okay with turning around; there'll be another day to make it all the way to the top.  We had amazing views including seeing the coast and Mt. Hamilton. 

Look at this photo.  Puts things in perspective.  A beautiful 30 mile ride and in December.  I look forward to returning when the hills are green and the air a bit cleaner.  Meanwhile, a great ride that fired both of us up.  I'd rather be doing this then stuck in traffic or holiday shopping!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fire Up the CO2 cartridge

For today's club ride in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, it was bikini weather despite the beautiful colors of trees changing as Fall descends upon us. I think it hit around 77 degrees.

Only in California -- Palm trees dotting a vineyard!  Here we are, or more accurately, just me, as I was incredibly slow compared to everyone else, on Watsonville Road.  Try as I might, I could not catch up to Miss P and the rest of the gang. I was also slowed down by lovingly admiring a peloton of male cyclists storming past me (still, they asked if I was okay... hmm) as well as some guys on motorcyclists.  I am easily distracted by the male persuasion.

More vineyards.  Our ride today encompassed Redwood Retreat, climbing Mt. Madonna as well as a couple of zingers Miss P suggested we do.  I finally met up with Miss P on Redwood Retreat and we climbed the challenging Mt. Madonna together.  Redwood Retreat was pretty.  Most of the ride, minus Santa Teresa, was lovely.  Santa Teresa is full of glass and potholes.

Right before we conquered the two extra climbs Miss P. suggested, I took a moment to enjoy this.  The hills are beginning to change to green.  As we approached the fancy neighborhood, I was reminded of the Amgen TOC Solvang time trial - breathtaking scenery and climbs.  This place though had street names like Bluebell, Strawberry and Daffodil.  Our two climbs involved Bluebell and Mantella, challenging but short and a great descent.

About 15 miles or so before returning to our cars, we stopped at the Morgan Hill Public Library because I needed a restroom.  Is this sweet or what! She is sitting on a mushroom.  As we left, all of a sudden, we heard a loud hiss.  Oh oh, something blew.  We stopped to inspect my front tire. Something odd happened, maybe due to the heat. The tube was coming out the tire!  Miss P. got the blow torch, oh alrighty, she let out the air of the tube and then fired up the CO2 cartridge.  We thought we were good to go.    And then, about 3 miles to the end of the ride, on Santa Teresa, my tire went flat again.  This depressed me to no end.  What to do, what to do. Another rider came to my assistance.  Plus 2 more male cyclists offered to help. I said, "Well, would you mind calling the limo service?"  We could not find the puncture nor any debris.  It was a mystery.  We pumped up the tire manually (who knows what the PSI was)  and I was able to return to the start.  I took it easy. Miss P came back to find me as she wondered what was what.  Sweet!   When I got home, I put the tube in the tub but still couldn't find a puncture.  I then pumped it up and could hear where the air was leaking.  The puncture was soooooo tiny.  I remembered what I learned in an HR class recently, try to laugh and be calm and think it through later and be thankful.  No need to get all stressed.  I am thankful to all who helped me out today. 

Just the Stats:

59 miles
33 mph on a descent
10.7 avg mph
5 hr. 28 min.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Chacagua Road Loop

Sunday, November 19th

Where does the time go?  Our last day, we must make the most of it. Seemed like we just arrived for our biking getaway.  Time is truly precious.  Anyway, as previously mentioned, The Boyfriend suggested that we spend Sunday doing a ride we have not done before -- Chacagua Road Loop.  After breakfasting in Carmel, we drove to Carmel Valley Village and set off on the ride, hoping to do about 25-30 miles before going home. Whoa, Chacagua Road at the onset was like doing our local ride Reynolds Road.  Quite a climb. Work those thighs and buttocks! Within minutes, you find yourself high above the valley.

But, oh oh -- we could go no further.  Road closure.  We agreed that we simply must return and see what we missed!

Meanwhile, a view from Carmel Valley Road. Would love to see this when the hills are green.

Another view of Carmel Valley Road.  It was mostly rollers.

There goes The Boyfriend.  So, our ride ended up only being 15 miles before we packed it in and left.  A weekend getaway that was much too short.  Til the next time!

Nightlife - Cannery Row, Monterey

Saturday, November 18th

Freshly showered after our bike ride, The Boyfriend and I headed off to Cannery Row in Monterey for dinner and a stroll.  I was also keen on capturing the pink sky!

Taking in the scenery and figuring out where to eat.

Ha ha, gotta love California -- the palm tree and the Christmas tree.

We eat fish at a pubhouse, had coffee at Starbucks, window shopped, and took in more scenery before calling it a night.  Nice way to end the day.

Yay for Potato Chips

Saturday, November 18th

After The Boyfriend got us coffee from Bookworks on Lighthouse Avenue, we set sail on our bike ride.  Leaving the Inn, we saw a deer meandering through the neighborhood.  Sweet.  We relied on two websites (thank you!) to figure out routes -- Local Rides from Velo Club Monterey and Top 10 Bike Rides in Monterey.  Of course we had to include 17 Mile Drive but we were looking to do something a little different having done rides in the past together as well as for me, with our bike club ACTC.  See here in 2010 and here in 2013 and here in 2007.

Wow, the sea was so blue.  The BF put together a route that included 17 Mile Drive as well as the Chacagua Road Loop in Carmel Valley Village.  It was perfect cycling weather and traffic was fairly minimal.

17 Mile Drive is one scenic photo op over and over; I present the iconic Lone Cypress Tree. 

Somewhere in the Del Monte Forest.  I just love that name!

The beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  While The BF took a bathroom break, I lovingly gazed at male surfers changing into their clothes ... a most pleasant sight.  But I digress.  Off we went, leaving 17 mile Drive and the quaint downtown to Rio Road, onward to Carmel Valley Road and to Carmel Valley Village.

There's The BF somewhere on Carmel Valley Road.  By the time we reached Carmel Valley Village, he made a strategic decision to curtail our planned route and head back to base camp (aka our lovely inn in Pacific Grove).  Not like I was going to argue....  And let me tell you, I was zapped energy wise.  Weenie Woman was dreaming of a glass of wine and bon bons and wondering why no firemen had appeared like they tend to do.... Returning back on Carmel Valley Road, I was wiped until I stopped at a deli (by the way, the entire route has plenty of places to stop for food and drink) to buy a bag of potato chips.  I sat on the roadside feasting on the chips.  It did wonders.  The BF circled back to find me, worried that I had a flat.  Nope, just stuffing my face with glorious chips.  It was a super ride.  We were both pleased.

Just the Stats:

50.76 miles
10.7 avg mph
31.5 mph on a descent
4 hr. 44 min.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Here in Pacific Grove

Friday, November 17th,

Arriving at the inn in Pacific Grove on Asilomar Drive in Pacific Grove.  A much needed getaway.  It's been too long since The Boyfriend and I were last here.  It's a bit on the nippy side, but the weather is clear for the weekend with plenty of sunshine.  I have my woolies to keep me toasty.

The Boyfriend found this inn and it turned out to be a charm. Oh my God, the bed was super.  I mean, some mattresses at some hotels simply suck and give me backaches.  This one was just perfect.   We're right near the beach and the start of our ride for Saturday.  It's quiet and peaceful.  Just what we need.  Thank you Mr. Boyfriend.

Before going into Carmel by the Sea, we stopped off at Point Pinos Lighthouse.  It's the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast.  It was around the corner from the inn and I'm glad we stopped to see it.  It was very windy and chilly.

The BF drove us to Carmel by the Sea through the Del Monte Forest.  Like being in a fairy tale.   On another trip, long ago, we ate here.  We snapped a pic because it captures the essence of this quaint village.  However, we ate at a pubhouse that played music from the 80s.  Ha ha.  I picked up the local newspaper, "The Carmel Pine Cone".  How funny is that!