Friday, October 29, 2010

The California Wine Country with Sonoma Jack

Arcata has the normal number of seasons: two. The dry one runs roughly from April to October. To the north in Oregon, the rains come sooner, so last week I headed south in the hopes of catching a few days of good cycling weather in Sonoma County, California's original wine country. I stayed with Sonoma Jack and his wife Jude, old friends, who have just relocated to a small farm near Sebastopol.


Mostly, the weather gave us a break and we were off for a ride first thing in the morning. Traffic near town was constant--and fast—-but a few miles out of town we had the road to ourselves.


We rode past one winery after another, many with tasting rooms. Wine + cycling + traffic + fog = organ donation. We passed on the wine and rode on through morning mist.




We stopped for lunch in Healdsburg, a wine boom towm. Jack knew a breakfast place near the plaza but when we got there, the line was out the door. One of the joys of living in Northern California: never again will I stand on a cold sidewalk clutching a plastic wine cup for thirty minutes in order to eat breakfast. Riding on through packs of German automobiles, we searched for a friendly breakfast. Other restaurants around the plaza dozens of different coffee drinks on the menu, seemed pricey. Happily, a few blocks away we pulled in to a basic-but-good diner that had one kind of coffee, a hearty breakfast and no line. Jack's wife Jude, who had been shopping for wine barrel planters, joined us for brunch.



I wandered out to the basic-but-good diner's parking lot to inspect Jude's planters.


Ah, wine!