12 Oct 2012
This trip has just about come to an end.
Waking up in Yountville you are greeted with the same tranquility that put you to sleep the night before. An early morning quiet walk through the town’s herb and vegetable gardens left me feeling happy, calm and optimistic about life on earth. Coffee and a chocolate croissant at Bouchon Bakery were my reward for rising early and strolling around town.
I rode west, with no map or system of guidance other than my own sense of direction, and crossed the mountains that separate Napa and Sonoma valleys. It was chilly, overcast and foggy—common local weather conditions and a delightful break from my sunny ride through the desert. Even the mist, which later turned to light rain, was welcome.
If Napa is a playground for the rich and super-rich then Sonoma is where people who cater to the rich and super rich live. It is more real life and less fairy-tale. It is no less beautiful, however, and riding the mountains on both sides of the valley was a real treat.
I made my way to Tomales, itself another charming little town, where my friend Bill insisted I visit the bakery, which I did. (Yesterday was largely a diet of baked goods—until dinner.) This was my launching point for a ride down Hwy 1 along Tomales Bay across from Point Reyes National Seashore, through riparian forests, and then, finally, along the edge of 300 foot cliffs above the Pacific. It is challenging riding and it’s important not to make a mistake because the consequences can be, well, deadly. On the other hand, I cannot think of a more compelling or rewarding route. And, at the end, you cross the Golden Gate Bridge. What a finish line.
In my case, an intervening stop was made in Sausalito, to visit Giuseppe and Sabrina, who live in a floating home tied up in Richardson Bay. Giuseppe is an artist and I wanted to see a table of his making. They were gracious and friendly hosts, warming me with hot tea and treating me to some kind of special malted milk balls. Floating homes are way cool; theirs is a three-story fabrication that sits on the mud bottom at the lowest of tides.
Riding up the steep hills of San Francisco requires careful technique—especially when stopped at a traffic light. The idea is to move forward and not to roll backward. I thought about the broad range of skill needed for a ride like I had just completed and that having made it to San Francisco the last thing I wanted was a mishap. So I figured it out—much to the protest of my clutch.
Dubbelju, where I dropped off my bike and gear to be stored for now, is a marvelous business that rents bikes—principally BMWs–to riders who come here for the experience of riding in California. They are truly nice people and brethren of the bike: I heartily recommend them.
Having shed my motorcycle, and warmed up in a long, hot shower, I turned my attention to the city. I cabbed it to flour + water, an Italian restaurant in the outer Mission. As is my favorite thing to do while traveling alone, I sat at a community table where I met other interesting diners while swapping tastes of each other’s food. (I didn’t want to share my food all that much as I wanted every bite for myself.) The rabbit tortellini was way, way beyond delicious. The roasted brussels sprouts with lemon, chili and toasted hazelnuts were an other-world melting pot of flavor and texture. Two glasses of excellent wine and dessert of pumpkin cake with a mascarpone mousse finished me off. I slept soundly in my boutique hotel room like the weary traveller I am.
Today I return to Sedona, and then in a few more days, back to Lincoln.
I expect that I will stop posting for now.
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Will I return to this blog at some point? I don’t know . . .