Thousands of views

I’m running out of superlatives. My days on the road are coming to an end next weekend but my experiences here keep on coming and coming and they are all great.

The scheduled bike ride for Friday was cancelled due to imperfect weather. The standards for riding are a little different here in the Bay area than where I live in Vermont. There had been rain the night before and there were still clouds and puddles and a chance of rain so the email went out early that there would be no usual Friday Babes ride that day. I didn’t have to be disappointed long, however, because Candice had a back up plan. Candice always has backup plans and plans and plans and they are always good ones.

On that morning, we left in the car with neighbor Boston Jane, for a car ride to Los Gatos. Our first stop was the Testarossa Winery, founded by Jesuit priests. We could see men in slickers from a distance who appeared to be stomping grapes. It is the correct season for processing the grapes but the winery didn’t offer tours. They did offer a tasting however, so Jane and I shared a sampling of their four, very tasty wines. We didn’t always taste all of the described scents and flavors (“swirl your glass to detect the blueberry notes before sipping”) but I do know I wasn’t sipping two buck chuck.

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With the sun now shining, we headed back into town for a walk on a trail that ran along a creek, first in a cement ditch and then back to a babbling brook. There is an incredible trail system in this area, including the Bay Trail that will eventually circumnavigate the whole Bay area with 400 miles of trails. Along the way, we came across a T.V. cameraman and the slickly dressed reporter. They were looking for cyclists to interview about bicycle theft in Los Gatos. Not really believing that we were experienced cyclists, he didn’t really want to talk with us. When I pulled out my camera for a photo of them, the cameraman turned the tables and took a photo of us instead.

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That evening, we were invited next door for real Swiss cheese brought back from Switzerland by another neighbor and Swiss wine. Carmen took us out for dinner at a great Cuban restaurant and then we joined the neighbors again for First Friday entertainment down the street. Some very talented students sang opera arias at one restaurant, and a very professional jazz trio played at another one. Like in Brattleboro, we could walk to downtown, run into people from the neighborhood and walk back. For a city of a million people, this part feels like a small town.

The next day I went back to Michael’s. There we walked on the Coyote Creek trail with his friend, Chris. There are many feral cats that live in the brush along the trail and Chris is one of a small group of people who take care of them. He is also one of the few that is able to hold some of them after years of gaining their confidence. It was fun to see them run out of their hiding places when they heard Chris’ voice, scampering for their food and human attention.

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For lunch, we drove to a mini-mall that was all Vietnamese businesses. I felt like a foreigner, seeing all the signs in a different language. I had a delicious noodle soup and realized I need to practice my chopstick skills before I get to Asia.

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Yesterday, the weather gods cooperated for me to do the infamous (in Southern Tier women circles) Ride with a 1000 Views. Candice has spent many years perfecting her tour of San Francisco by bicycle – 25 miles that takes all day. I was lucky that Katie, who was on the Northern Tier ride with me this summer, was able to join us. We met at the South Beach cafe for coffee (both Candice and Katie sought out coffee shopc on our cross country rides) before we headed out.

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This is where the superlatives fail. We rode around and through the city, seeing it from many perspectives. Some were right on the bay – under the Bay Bridge, along the water near the Presidio, under the Golden Gate Bridge. Others were from up high over the city- at the top of the Lion Steps, near another Andy Goldsworthy sculpture (this one a wooden spire) and near the famous Victorian painted ladies. We rode through Golden Gate park, closed to vehicles on Sunday, through neighborhoods like the Haight and the newly hip,Hayes Valley with its buildings made out of old shipping containers. We enjoyed good food like the salad at the Velo Rouge cafe and the pumpkin ice cream made individually using a liquid nitrogen mixer. Candice told us of the history of some places, facts about the city and other interesting stories. I’m encouraging her to offer her tours as a business when she retires. She’s a natural.

Given that the tour was about the views (and I lost count early on), I’ll make it easy on myself and give my own pictorial tour from the day. Add another wonderful one to my list of great days on the road.

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2 Comments

  1. Fabulous!! I got to enjoy the tour a while ago and loved it too!

    Reply
  2. Phyllis Biegun

     /  November 8, 2011

    What a trip you are having – and you’ve only just begun!

    Reply

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