October 8, 2017

Pretty Pescadero

Last year we had a touch of rain for this ride; this year was picture-postcard perfect (but, windy). Good thing I'd tossed a jacket in my bag, at the last minute; it was 44F at the start. Volunteers were swaddled in quilts.

The moon was still high in the western sky as I set out on this year's Arthritis Bike Classic Pescadero ride. I arrived later than I'd planned, surprised by one-lane traffic controls on roads still being repaired from last winter's fury. Nonetheless, I managed to start pedaling a few minutes earlier than last year.

Belted Galloway cattle grazing in a field along Cloverdale Road, Pescadero, California
I paused to admire some fancy cattle up close: Belted Galloways, they are. Those white bands are lush and wavy. You might imagine running your fingers through that fur ... that is, until you realize that the dark hindquarters are covered (covered!) with flies.

There were a bunch of guys along Gazos Creek Road with binoculars trained on the opposite hillside. “What's up there?” I asked. “Birds.” Seriously? You make the effort to visit this remote road, and that's the best you can do? The group was so fixated, I thought maybe they'd spotted a condor. “Birds.”

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, viewed from Highway 1 near Pescadero, California
The Pigeon Point Lighthouse looks best in morning light. I took care not to linger, as the headwinds were picking up early.

Field of colorful blooming flowers, Pescadero, California
I chose the “45-mile” route again, which makes two loops centered on Pescadero. This year, one rest stop was hosted at the fabled Archangeli Bakery, where we sampled cinnamon bread as well as the amazing Artichoke Garlic Herb bread. Silly me, asking for half a piece of that bread ... of course I went back for more. As many times as I've been here, this was the first time I noticed the field of flowers next door.

A sign along Stage Road caught my eye, asking people not to feed the pigs, or the dog. Sure enough, there was one large pig and many little pigs. (They weren't photogenic, as pigs go, so I just rode on.)

Yesterday, on a rural Sonoma County road, a young man deliberately swerved his enormous pickup truck into four cyclists on a charity ride. This weighed heavily on our minds today, as we reassured ourselves that normal drivers don't wield their vehicles as weapons to assault other human beings. [The culprit was found and arrested, in large part thanks to video footage from a passing motorcyclist's helmet cam.]

Happily, an uneventful day of riding for me: 44 miles, with some 2,565 feet of climbing.

October 6, 2017

Snowflakes

Snowflake light display, Vasona Park, Los Gatos, California
How I loved our family traditions at Christmastime, growing up. Cherished ornaments, homemade cookies, beloved carols, and of course ... brightly-wrapped presents. A special time. My mom shared stories from her childhood, of decorating the tree on Christmas Eve.

Not in September. Which is when I spotted the first display in a local department store this year. [Really? A month before Halloween?] At this rate, maybe we'll wrap back around the calendar and start pulling out the trappings in December. [If only.]

We're starting to run low on daylight; my opportunities for an evening ride home from work are fading with the sunset. (The full 18 miles, in the dark, is too stressful. I've tried it.)

I had every intention of making the round trip this week; my schedule was free of early meetings on a couple of days. But it wasn't until this morning that I woke up feeling well-rested and pulled it together.

A few quail scurried across the road in the morning, then winged it when they realized they weren't outrunning me.

Cycling tomato wearing a Santa Hat, light display, Vasona Park, Los Gatos, California
In the evening, malfunctioning barriers along a little-used railroad line created an unexpected neighborhood traffic jam; I re-routed myself accordingly.

The sun had dropped below the hills, but there was enough daylight to pass through Vasona Park. Where they have, already, begun to set up the displays for the annual Fantasy of Lights. Which doesn't light up until December 2 (almost two months from now).

Merry ... October.