Around Calistoga

Vineyard

On this particular Sunday, we got a late start because we left after church. Arriving in Calistoga, we parked toward the back of the lot of the Clos Pegase Winery, which is located on Dunaweal Lane right next to the Washington St. bike path. We took this path into town and then headed for the Silverado Trail and Solage because we wanted to eat lunch at Solbar, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Solage Resort. It was a toasty day, so we chose to sit outside where my husband and I split a beet salad with beets served three different ways and sliders piled high with bacon, cheddar, and onions. Since we had split these two courses, we also treated ourselves to delicious desserts. After lunch we took a leisurely ride through the town of Calistoga, a town that caters to tourists but still seems like a real town. There are shabby parts and shiny parts all mixed together. A short bike path leads through neighborhoods and some pretty woodsy areas.

To return to our car we came back up the main street of Calistoga and again took the Silverado Trail, which has a nice wide shoulder and is lined with vineyards and elegant wineries. It was not far to our turning onto Dunaweal Lane and just a short run back to our car. We packed our bikes back into the car and then visited the Clos Pegase Winery where my husband had a small taste.

To see a video of this trip on YouTube, click here.The video also may be viewed on the video page at http://www.perebruin.com by clicking on the link to the right.

Calistoga Path

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The Monterey Bay Trail

Monterey Bay Trail

We have ridden this trail many times, but it is always a joy because of the natural beauty of the bay. One must ride carefully due to all the pedestrians, cyclists, and even the surreys that are rented at a couple of places along the trail. This is an eighteen mile trail that runs from Castroville to Pacific Grove. There are many spots to access it, and the views vary from glorious ocean views to views of some rather seedy areas. But the good views far outweigh the bad in this picturesque section of California. The trail passes right by some of the historic buildings in downtown Monterey, maintained by the state park system.

It had rained heavily the day before we did this ride, so there were some muddy spots. The path was closed at Sand City due to some flooding. Because we were disappointed at not being able to do a longer ride, we turned off the path in Monterey to ride in El Estero Park around the lake. Another sight in this part of Monterey is the original mission, founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra.  Located at 500 Church St., this chapel served as a place of worship for the soldiers at the presidio. The present sandstone church was built in 1794.

We have eaten lunch at several  places along this trail. On this particular trip, we chose to eat at Fisherman’s Wharf, where we had an uninspiring lunch. A better choice would have been a restaurant at one of the hotels in Monterey or one of the restaurants in downtown Pacific Grove. The Trailside Café in Monterey is also a good choice. As its name suggests, it is right beside the trail and has many good offerings.

To see a video of this trip on YouTube, click here. The video also may be viewed on the video page at http://www.perebruin.com by clicking on the link to the right.

From Carmel Village to Carmel Valley

Often for our wedding anniversary we spend a few days in Carmel, one of the most appealing spots in California. This year we stayed at the Adobe Inn, where we have stayed many times before. It is right in the middle of the village, easy walking distance to  the beach, shops, and restaurants, but it has become a bit worn looking over the years. When we first started visiting Carmel many years ago, it was a real American village with lots of small independent shops that carried the necessities of daily life. We especially enjoyed some of the bookstores that were located there. Today there are too many art galleries and jewelry stores, but there are enough unusual stores such as, Carmel Bay Company, left to make it an interesting place, and the natural beauty of the area, plus the outstanding restaurants, keeps us coming back.

Of course, now our lives tend to center on our cycling excursions. We spent one day riding from the inn to Carmel Valley with stops at Carmel Barnyard and Carmel Crossroads. Although we prefer trips that are uphill on the outbound trip and downhill on the inbound one, this one is the opposite, but it is doable even for old codgers like us. We did this trip on a lovely spring day where the landscape was enhanced by delicate greenery and spring flowers sprouting all around. We ate lunch in Carmel Crossroads at Bistro 211, a colorful small restaurant with friendly service and thoughtfully planned offerings. The bookstore in the crossings complex is an especially fine one, stocked by someone who looks beyond currently popular books to books really worth reading. Check out our ride on YouTube.