Sunday, October 1, 2017

An Afternoon at the Symphony

Here I am at the California Theatre in San Jose to hear Symphony Silicon Valley.

Here I am hobnobbing with High Society.  Well, we're really just ordinary folks in San Jose. 

The California Theatre, once known as the Fox Theatre is beautiful.  A long time ago, it was almost demolished.  Now it is a venue for our symphony, our opera and other cultural events.

Warming up.  Omg, it was wonderful.  Watching the violinists with their bows, the flutists, all of the musicians with their instruments ... a live performance is truly a marvel.  This was opening weekend, so, apparently, they begin by playing the Star Spangled Banner.  Who knew.  The concert included Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture, Britten's Passacaglia & Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and finally, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7.  A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  On a date with myself.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Bodega Head

Friday, Sept 22nd

After we said goodbye to our cycling friends, we cleaned up at the Inn in Sebastopol and got ready for our final adventure. Miss P and I are alike, in that we want to explore as much as we can when we are on holiday.  Our destination -- Bodega Head in Bodega Bay.

I've always had a fondness for Bodega Bay after seeing Hitchcock's The Birds.  I've visited before but not this particular area.  Boy, am I glad we made the time for this.

We walked all over, taking in the views. 


We met some trackers who showed us a vole that had been regurgitated.  Funny, my sister in law had just shared a story about my mother's beloved cat Gigi who had corned a vole in their house. 

Walking the cliffs.

Bodega Bay.  We were lucky that we got the shots we did because a little while later, dark clouds rolled in.

We walked on and on, taking in more beautiful scenes. 

I felt a bit queasy getting close to the edge but it was worth it.

In the distance, at that tiny bit of land in the sea, we could hear sea lions. Alas, a parting shot as our trip came to an end. Til the next adventure.

Petaluma Ride

Friday, Sept 22nd

Our last ride today began in Petaluma at its creamery.  I had a taste of one of the ice creams.  Very nice.

After yesterday's 55 mile epic ride, this was to be just a 25 mile roller ride but it still stung a bit, mostly because the roads are even worse than ours here in the South Bay, and well, the smell of manure was a bit overwhelming!  Ha ha, we are after all in the country.  Molly told a hilarious story about getting some free manure, goat kind that is, and it apparently is incredibly nasty in its smell.  Goats eat anything. 

Leo and I rode together for awhile.  He kept me motivated as he shared his biking adventures from last year.  I enjoyed hearing about his trips.  Some of our gang left last night; some new ones showed up; and some of Molly and John's new cycling friends came along as well.

This scene was spectacular.  We were descending a great hill but I had to stop to take a photo.  So did another ACTC member who had just returned from Italy and showed up today just to do this ride.  Remarkable!  After the ride, we said goodbye to all, but, for Miss P and I, we still had one more adventure....

Me on King Ridge

Thursday, Sept 21st

Oh boy, this was epic.  So, for today's ride, we were doing the Biggie -- King Ride, starting from Monte Rio, a 55 mile ride. 

At Fog Crest Winery, the day before, we read the description posted online.  It sounded frightening.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  Miss P and I discussed bail out possibilities if necessary.

This ride is part of Levi's Grand Fondo.  The Boyfriend has done it a few times.  He said it was hard but he thought I could do it.  The weather can be all over the map.  Luckily we had sunshine.  It was a bit chilly. Well, our group split early in the ride, with one group going the wrong way and my group (all 3 of us) going the right way.  As mentioned earlier, our route sheets were not exactly spot on.  We stopped to ask some bridge workers and a fireman at the firestation for directions.  And thanks to them, we headed the right way.  Unfortunately for Miss P and the others, they wasted time and energy going the wrong way.  They eventually got on the right track.

Leo, Molly and I stuck together, tackling the ups and downs of the course.  My legs were okay but boy my back ached.  While it was hard, it was not as hard as I expected and I managed to stay the course.  And boy was it worth it.  The views were spectacular.  Hauser Bridge was a mess.  I wish I took some photos but I didn't want to stop or get off the bike to do so. 

I plowed on in some state of delirium I believe.  And then I saw this and it was all worth it. 

I was high as a kite taking it all in. 

And then I was like, omg, I have to do all that?

And then I was like, omg, the wind.  Twice I had to stop and get off the bike to avoid being blown off a cliff.  Like I said, I was high as a kite, and I was screaming, "I am so not going to die after doing all this.  F--k you."  Cars were honking and cheering me on.  I was like, "Hey, how about stopping and taking me down instead...."

And somehow, I got down to Hwy 1 and passed Jenner, oh boy, did the cooking smell delicious at the roadside diner, and next, I turned onto 116 back to Monte Rio.

On Hwy 116.  Beautiful.  I had to pee so badly I didn't care if traffic went by ....  I got back safely to Monte Rio along with the others.  But we didn't know where Miss P was.  We thought she had abandoned the ride, so, we went back to the hotel.  She was not there.  We were anxious.  Omg, she did the ride all by herself!  Unfortunately she had worse winds than we did.  Ed and I drove back to get her. What a woman!  We all got cleaned up and had a fabulous meal at Stormy's.  It was an epic day.

Wine Tasting

Wednesday, Sept 20th

After our ride, some of us went to Fog Crest Winery for a tasting.  Those women are not part of our tour.

Some of the gang.  These people were truly wonderful cycling companions.  I appreciated how they took care of me since I was always in the back of the pack.  They'd wait til I caught up and ride with me for awhile. I enjoyed sharing bits of our lives, like how we got into cycling, where we grew up, and so on.  And the wine tasting was a treat.  We all ended up buying a bottle of the Rose.

Our view during the tasting.  In the evening, most of the gang went to the Barlow while Miss P and I went elsewhere to dine.  Tomorrow is the big ride.....

A Bunch of Towns

Wednesday, Sept 20th

Ah, today was a great ride for taking in a lot of scenery.  But first, before we set out, I discovered I had a flat tire!  Oh no.  Luckily it was the front tire.  Ed helped me.  He volunteers with Good Karma Bikes and Turning Wheels for Kids. He's a sweetie.  We became fast friends discovering we had a lot in common.  The first part of today's ride involved a climb and I got ahead of a few people but that was short lived.  We also got rained on.  What a way to begin today!  Here we are in charming Occidental stopping for a coffee break.  Miss P bought a dress at a store nearby. 

Crossing the bridge into Monte Rio.  I rode awhile with one of the women -- we were in the back of the pack.  Like yesterday's route, the directions were a bit confusing and we occasionally erred and missed turns but eventually we'd all find one another.  Also, the stronger riders were really nice in waiting for us slow pokes.

A view from the bridge.  Stopping to take photos made me fall farther behind but I had to capture the beauty and the experience.  I recognized this area having done it a long time ago for Levi's Grand Fondo.

We're in Sonoma County after all, gotta take a photo of a vine.  Wow, you could smell the grapes.  Plump, juicy, musty.  We also passed an apple processing plant, probably making applesauce and that smell was strong and pleasant.  We passed Korbel's as well, the champagne winery.  Cool.

We stopped in Guerneville for lunch. We biked along the Russian River, in the woods as we made our way to Forestville and Graton back to the Sebastopol Inn.  Great 46 mile outing. I am a bit frazzled but appreciating the opportunity to be on holiday and getting much needed exercise even if my bum hurts....

Art and the Gang

Tuesday, Sept 19th

For our first ride, we started at 11am to allow for everyone to get to Sebastopol.  After introductions in the parking lot, we set off for a 46 mile ride.  I forgot to mention that like yesterday, we had pretty strong winds.  It wasn't a particularly interesting ride but I enjoyed the lovely bike trails.  It was a good first ride getting to know one another.  As is typical, I was the slowest and would remain in the back of the pack for most of the trip. 

I'm jumping ahead to the beginning of Wednesday's ride for the next series of photos in this entry.  We explored Florence Avenue, home to a lot of the quirky super art work by Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent.

The sculptures delighted us. 

They can be found all over Sebastopol and elsewhere.  Charming.  That's what I love about these trips -- the surprises.  After the ride, everyone except me since I forgot my bathing suit enjoyed time in the pool and hot tub before dinner at the Hopmunk Tavern

Here in Sebastopol

Monday, Sept 18th

Miss P. and I are here in Sebastopol for an ACTC cycling adventure hosted by club members who moved to PennGrove after retiring last year.  How cool is that for them to organize this trip!   

The rest of the gang will join us tomorrow here at the Sebastopol Inn.  The Boyfriend isn't coming along because he's in Australia.

What to do?  Explore the town!  This is Coffee Catz where I had great coffee and a bran muffin each morning during our trip.  Lovely place. The local ice cream place Screamin' Mimi's also served a super Americano. 

We walked everywhere for hours. We stopped in Copperfield's Bookstore.  We found the local community market at the developing Barlow. They have purple potatoes, my favorite!

What can I say.  I bought some boots made in Portugal at Sole Desire.  Exploring Sebastopol was fun.  We learned that Sebastopol was known as the  “Gravenstein Apple Capital of the World."  Learn more from the Western Sonoma County Historical Society.  We also took a stroll at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Preserve but we didn't see much; we think we weren't on the right trail.  Still, we learned about its history

Loving the artwork here.  More about that in next post.  Can't wait til tomorrow when we meet up with everyone and start biking!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Escape to Half Moon Bay

Excessive heat.  Yeah, tell me about it especially when you do not have air conditioning. I could not take another day of it, so, I got up bright and early to avoid the inevitable traffic jam, and plopped myself down in lovely Half Moon Bay.  Temperatures expected to be well below what I had been experiencing in San Jose.

I arrived at 9:30am, parked on a side street off Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay.  The temperature made me shiver.  Divine.  What to do with myself all day, I mean, I'm not the kind of gal that can just hang at the beach all day.  So, I began to walk everywhere.  Beautiful artichokes in bloom!

I window shopped since most stores were not yet open.  When stores did eventually open, I was most happy in the 99 cent store.  I stopped at a Peet's and had coffee to warm me up.  How funny is that.

Advance warning:  Nudity.  I returned to downtown and came across this. Would love to see her at night.

Eventually I got around to walking to Half Moon Bay State Beach.  The sky was gray but who cares because the temperature was wonderful.  By parking downtown, and walking to my destination, I avoided traffic snarls, $10 parking fee and autos having to turn around and go to another beach.  Call me wise for knowing that I can not deal with that sort of stress; after all, I'm here to relax and escape the heat.

Hmm, what to do with myself?  Take a selfie.  The sky began to clear a bit.  I contemplated the meaning of my life.  That took about 5 seconds, so, I pulled out a book from my bag and read for awhile.

I watched the people below who obviously had the same idea as me.  Find comfort by going to the beach.  I marveled at the diversity of people present upon the beach.  I loved that.  Pakistanis in saris, elderly Vietnamese men, Latino families picnicking, and so on.  This is my America.

If only we could go into the water!  Much too cold.  All of a sudden, I felt terribly hot.  The peak of the day had arrived. I decided it was time to return home.  Even in the late afternoon, there was a traffic jam on Hwy 280 and 92 of cars wanting to get into Half Moon Bay to escape the heat.  I sailed through back to San Jose. Once home, my place getting close to 88 degrees, I realized that I will most likely need to visit my pool, but, along with the memories of a nice day at the beach.