Ever notice that when a vacation is over, it seems like it happened LONG ago? Shoot a week ago I was still in California, I had just taken a ride through wine country and I was spending time by the pool. Now back in normal life it seems like months ago I was there and the vacation buzz has started to fade, but there are just a few things left that I don’t want to forget about the trip!
First off, this has to be the easiest, most flexible and fun group of people there is to travel with.
All week-long, including the point we were about to leave, there were just some things that went wrong!
Day 1: Michelle and I get there, we walk out to the cab stand, and there aint one in sight! Calling around we either get no answers or rude hangups. I think there is only one cab for the entire city of Santa Rosa! Instead of getting cranky, Michelle and I look at each other and say “TO THE RENTAL COUNTER!” 10 minutes later, we are heading out with an Enterprise Rent a car Ford Focus! (It wasn’t till the next week I realized how lucky we were to get one spur of the moment like that!
Wednesday: I rent the bike for the ride on Thursday.
To test it out, I rode it to Whole Foods while the rest drove. When we went to leave, the lock they gave me, even though the combo was correct, would NOT open. Oh, and I had forgotten my phone! Luckily I sprinted across the parking lot and stopped the group from leaving! We called, and Performance bikes came out to cut the lock! I need to stop leaving the phone at home!
Then the day of the ride! We all piled into the two vehicles. The Outback Kim and Mark drove down in and the old Jeep that Rob drove. It was the easiest way to transport the 3 bikes. Michelle and Mark went for a 4 mile walk while we rode, and then drove the Jeep back to the house.
We got a text at the end of the ride that the Jeep would not start! Undaunted, Michelle and Mark walked another mile to the restaurant for lunch. Once again, flexible they are!
We got back, showered and met them for lunch. Then it was time to work on the Jeep. Rob was pretty sure he knew what was wrong, but he needed tools and parts. Plus we needed to take the bike back. Turns out a parts store was right next to the bike store! BOOM! done!
When we got back the menfolk went to the car while the womenfolk avoided the cussing.
Editors note: I know NOTHING about cars! Less than nothing. So my role was to look at the engine as if I had a clue. and look like I was pondering hard trying to figure out the problem. Not sure I pulled it off…
Well, even after herculean efforts, there was no joy in Mudville. The jeep was dead and had to go to the shop. But we had to leave the next morning. This caused a lot of angst (since the only Jeep dealership nearby was booked clear into next week) until Kim said, “Dude, just drop off the jeep, we all drive back to Oregon in Outback. Then next week, when it is done, we get up hella early, and do a round trip to get it!”
BRILLIANCE!! Let there be wine!
The last day, Rob had to take some of the stuff back to the parts store, and take me to the airport to rent a car (we didn’t fly out till 5) They dropped me off and I went to Enterprise and asked for a car and he said “Nope we are sold out!” (This is why I say we were lucky last week!)
I went to Avis, at the next counter over, and asked the same. He said, “Well maybe in half an hour I will…”
Maybe is NOT good.
Then he said, “Wait, what are you looking for in a car.” “4 wheels and steering wheel” was my reply. “Oh I can help you now then!”
I am thinking people in CA don’t like Kia Sol’s? But it turned out to be serendipitous for us!
Check out was at 11, and 5 people needed to shower, pack and clear out. Folks this group works together like a well called square dance. And at 10:15 we were loading the last bike on the roofrack of the Outback. And then the rack broke….
The tightening screw would not tighten, there was no way the bike was going to make it to Oregon. With a third adult and all their stuff (Someone who will be nameless, does NOT travel light!) there just was no room inside the car for the bike.
What the hell do we do now???
Wait! The rack was purchased at REI! An REI was just down the road from the bike shop! We can replace it! But what do we do with the bike while this is happening? HEY, take of the wheel, it will fit on the Kia!! (Tony and Michelle DO travel light, there was plenty of room! See it was a good thing we got a box with wheels!
At 11:15 the new rack was installed, the bikes loaded (They even got money back as it was on sale this week!) hugs were given all around, and we all headed our separate ways. No matter what the adversity, this crew overcame it and had a blast! Hell I will vacation with them anytime!
A few extra items and observations from the trip that just wouldn’t make a whole post.
Santa Rosa is the hometown of Charles Shultz, the Creator of Charlie Brown. That means all over town there are statues of Peanuts characters. This was my favorite
In walks, drives and bike rides, we crossed a lot of creeks and streams every one of them looked like this
We have a drought up here this year, but until I saw this I had no idea how bad it is down there! The only real water I saw was at Silver Oak winery
Wine country stretches FOREVER down there. From the mountains to the ocean, wine tasting rooms pop up anywhere and everywhere. as we saw on the way to Bodega Bay.
In addition, I was fully prepared for Napa area winery people to be snooty as hell. Each and everyone we met (even the guy who told me he was a Husky fan since his kid is in UW) was friendly as can be. I thoroughly enjoyed each place we visited.
Finally, the California people and Drive thrus make no sense to me! Each morning, I would get up and do the 1.5 mile round trip walk to the closest Starbucks. Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, I would see the drive thru backed up 10 vehicles (at least) deep!
I would walk in, and have maybe one person in front of me at the counter. I would have my drink and walk in front of the same car as I left, sitting in the same spot, of the drive thru, still waiting to order. I just raised my cup to them and smiled all the back.
If you ever get the chance, Santa Rosa is a great place to visit, VERY bike friendly, and full of nice people, great food and excellent wine!