CA Coast & Wine Country

17 Oct

We arrived the day before the start of the bike tour but our luggage didn’t.  We barely made our flight in Oklahoma City because of one snafu after another – very long lines due to a football team traveling that both Southwest and airport security seemed totally unprepared for. We only made the flight because we were able to jump about 25 spaces up in front of some of the team in the line at security. Since their flight wasn’t leaving until nearly 3:00pm and our flight was leaving with or without us in less than thirty minutes they graciously let us move ahead.

Too bad our luggage couldn’t strike a similar deal.

We were gleeful when we got on board feeling smug that we had indeed made our flight! Still gleeful when we deplaned until we watched the last dregs of bags go around the carousel with no sign of our 4 bags. Sigh. Off we went to the Southwest luggage claim office or whatever they call themselves then to the bar to wait until the next flight from Denver where our bags might possibly be.

They didn’t know where our bags were because Southwest doesn’t actually scan the bags in. They have those nifty little barcodes on the tags they put on each piece of checked luggage but it’s all for show – they don’t actually scan them. Please don’t tell that to any terrorists you might know.

Dejected, but hopeful (there were 2 flights remaining that the bags could be on) we decided to go on to the hotel. The drive to the hotel in Petaluma was more exciting than the flight and I think approached similar speeds once we were out of San Francisco. The driver told us a few stories of others who had lost luggage and showed us how you can corner on two wheels in a big Chevy Suburban if you simply go fast enough. Who knew.

Once we got to the hotel and took our complimentary toothbrush and paste up to our room we got online with our trusty smartphones and Mark started calling. The calls weren’t answered or returned so Mark pulled out his big gun. The fax. Yes folks, he can fax from his phone. Consider yourself warned.

It seems Southwest is one of the best at losing luggage, but fortunately for all of us, 98% makes it to its rightful owner. Thankfully we were in that majority. Our bags and breakfast all arrived at our door just after 7am – such excitement! Fed and dressed we went down to meet our fellow bike travelers in the lobby. There were 14 of us, plus our two guides, Mike and Neal.

This is our second group bike tour and like last year we lucked out – great people and great guides. We also got a nice day bag filled with everything you could possibly need on a bike tour – and yes, I have a picture!


One of the things that attracted us to Undiscovered Country tours was the type of bikes used – Scott’s. I ride a 2005 Scott CR1 Pro and on this tour I rode a 2010 Scott CR1 Pro. The nicest bikes I’ve seen on any tour, a big plus for us.

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Once we had our bike, bottles filled and gels and bars, plus the day’s route sheet – we were off! We were in the countryside before too long, rolling and bumping along until we stopped for lunch at the Willow Wood Market. Lunch was wonderful – as usual we ate like there was no tomorrow – or dinner. Shared a wonderful gingerbread with two of my new Canadian friends – Marla and Barb and helped Mark with his mixed berry crisp. After a cappuccino I was able to waddle back to my bike and ride. Not only was it a big lunch but a long one too… not good for the legs. Tomorrow I assured myself I would do better.

The scenery changed to farms and vineyards, it was lovely. The road smoothed out somewhat which helped after that monster lunch. It was wonderful to be on a bike riding along backroads, surrounded by nature with nothing on the horizon for the week but biking, eating, drinking and having fun. We were up for the task.

Getting here wasn’t easy, but today was a perfect day of bike riding.  Any day you can ride along scenic roads is a perfect day for biking and today was downright bucolic.

Petaluma to Healdsburg – 42 miles in 3:14 on the bike. This trip is all about going slow and taking everything in – we hope to go even slower tomorrow. Shouldn’t be a problem, the route gets hillier as we go. Will probably be slowed to a crawl by day 4 – King Ridge day.


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2011-10-16 13.07.212011-10-16 13.07.342011-10-16 14.37.592011-10-16 15.21.122011-10-16 15.21.382011-10-16 15.29.42

*** I didn’t end up with as many good pictures as I would like but as I get pictures from others on the tour and UDC too, I will add them and note who took the picture.   

  Data: 41.79 miles, 12.9 mph, 1,982 ft up, 1900 ft down, 114 AHR, 150 MHR.

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12 Responses to “CA Coast & Wine Country”

  1. Mike October 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Well done! It already make me want to do the ride again. Can’t wait for the next entry…
    Get busy! Vinga! Vinga! Vinga! HaHa! (Just a little guide humor.)

  2. Susan October 28, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Haha! Later… my bike is calling me now. 🙂

  3. Peter October 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    Hi Susan,
    Great post, eagerly awaiting the next one.
    Thanks for the great pictures at Sea Ranch

    • Susan October 29, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      Thanks, Peter, and you’re welcome, they were great pictures of you two.

  4. Kim October 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

    Looks like lots of fun!

    Susan, I’m buying a new bike (Salsa Casseroll) and I’m wondering about pedals. They have 2 sided pedals with flat on one side and clip on the other. Do you have any experience with those type of pedals?

    • Susan October 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

      I do, I have them on my Jamis touring bike. I like them for that bike since sometimes I wear my bike shoes and want to clip in, other times I’m wearing regular shoes so can’t. I wouldn’t want them on my road bike since I ride it for training/fitness but it would work there too just not my preference. Congrats on your soon-to-be new bike!

  5. Brian October 29, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Great first post about your tour!

    • Susan October 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

      Thanks, Brian!

  6. Joeli November 9, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    Love your style of writing Susan. It’s so fun to read anothers perspective. Wonder how a sag van blog would fare? (obviously joking)hee hee

    • Susan November 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm #


      Thanks very much for the complement. I’ve thought about the perspective thing, obviously the trip is one we all took so certain things are the same (scenery for one) but others are not and are just my experience and perspective. Someone on the same trip could have had a completely different experience obviously.

      Why don’t you write something and post it here with your pictures?

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