Vineyards and Cowyards

January 28, 2010

Vineyards and Cowyards

I awoke to another cold and foggy wet day. But today was a good day because I was getting back out on the road where I belong.

I did my final packing, turned the heat down on Casa Bob and headed out on my somewhat suspect stead. I had not gone a block before I realized that I had made a bad tactical error. It was so foggy I would not see more than 75 yards. My face shield immediately became covered with droplets. I opened I and then droplets from the windshield started flying into my eyes. It was dripping wet. It was 39 degrees. I should have turned around and went back to bed. But I didn’t. I never do.

But hope springs eternal. Within five miles the sun was trying to peak out. After ten miles it was out and things were looking better. It went from 39 degrees to a sunny 50 degrees in no time. The day was going to turn out just fine.

My first real destination on this trip is San Diego for a rendezvous with the Crab Queen. Now, intellectually I know that to get to San Diego from Manteca one must travel south and EAST. San Diego is further east than Reno for those of you who ae amazed by that factoid. But since I am not an intellectual person I head due west. The coast is due west. San Diego is on the coast. Ergo one must go due west. By doing so I added quite a few miles to my trip,but what the heck, it’s the journey not the end.

The first part of the trip was on Del Puerto Canyon Road which is my all time favorite stretch of road. It meanders along beside a creek with nothing but cowyards that are being converted to vineyards. (I wonder why cowyards never enjoyed the prestige of vineyards. It seems like someone missed on the marketing of a good pasture full of cows. They could have even put in a tasting room and had pretentious conversations about milk. “Today we are pouring a private reserve 2 percent that was drawn from today’s first squeezing. Note the subtle overtones of clover without that sorghum bite. Heady, bold, just a little bit sassy, but yet without a hint of impertinence.”

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Cowyards and big butt Spyder

Anyway there was nobody but me the cows and the grapes on one of the curviest roads I have ever been on. I take this road at least once a week. But today instead of turning right to return home, I turned left. on hwy 130, San Antonia hwy, Mt Hamilton hwy towards Mt Hamilton and things just got better and better. There was still no traffic, just a few cows, and lots of bends in the road. What fun! Since I had not been out riding on my bike for some time this was just the kind of ride that I needed.

When I got to the observatory at the top of Mt Hamilton there was snow along side the road. Pretty amazing because I don’t think that happens very often. The road dropped down into San Jose and it was just scary on the way down. The road is very narrow and the only guard rail is a barbed wire fence. If you were to go off of the road the barbed wire would be the least of your problems. By the time I got to San Jose I was exhausted. And I was just getting started.

I picked up hwy 17 and headed over to Santa Cruz. I stopped for fuel and had a banana and cardboardola bar for lunch. The granola bar I had for lunch was possibly the worse thing I have ever put in my mouth. And I have put some really bad things in my mouth. But I was having fun and had no time for a real meal.

I was now on the famous Hwy 1 and it lived up to its billing. The weather was a beautiful 60 degrees and the shore line is awe inspiring as always. Somewhere near San Simeon I notice the shore was covered with sea lions. For hundred of yards they were lined up on the beach one next to the other. And this went on for quite some distance. For those of you who don’t know they are big stinky animals with tuna breath. But they were here first and seemed to be very comfortable laying in the sun.

It got later in the day, as it always does, and I finally pulled in for the night at Avila Beach. Avila Beach is at the Port San Luis where many years ago my seafaring days began. The good ship the Warren Peace had broken down here on its maiden voyage north and John Warren and I had come to pick her up. Good memories. Availa Beach is a pretty small town overshadowed by its southern neighbor Pismo Beach. While Pismo Beach is known for being the last place in California one can drive on the beach, Avila Beach is billing itself as a wine and spa place. Note: Spa any where in a hotel’s name means you get a robe in your room. Good to know. They are $50.

I checked in at the Lighthouse Spa. And then I wandered down to the Custom House for my first real meal of the New Year. I have been semi seriously dieting for several months and I was looking forward to a good meal after basically missing lunch. I ordered the shrimp and mushroom Kabob. It was good. The little stick thing in the middle was kind of tough but I got it down. It tasted like granola bar. I think they need to marinade that part more.

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