Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shake, Rattle, and.........

Roll.  That's what the did after leaving Petaluma.  They rolled on two wheels through the valleys and vineyards into the Sonoma wine country.  Most of them rolled into a winery or two for tours and tastings. Kendall Jackson was a favorite. The tribe did a good job of supporting the wine industry today!

 Then, they rolled to the entrance of tonights overnight: Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.  We should know by now that any venue with the words; ridge, hill, mountain, crest, view, bluff, etc.; means that you are going to have to go up.  Up is not what you want for the last two miles of your day on a bike.  Again, someone at ACA has a warped sense of humor.  Should of had a clue when Arlen announced last night that they would be happy to shuttle anyone into the park from the turn off of the main road......though he didn't offer to shuttle my big yellow truck.

The climb into the park started out on a nice, wide, two lane road flanked on either side by organic vineyards.  Beautiful clumps of dark purple grapes hanging from leafy green vines took your attention away from what lay ahead.  Gradually the road narrowed and wandered through a  quiet canyon with oak trees reaching across from each side.  Gradually the road started to climb.  Not so gradually it went vertical.  2 miles of vertical.  (12%???) Not so gradually it opened up on MY SIDE of the truck to a stellar view of what we just went up.  That means a cliff.  That means my palms are sweating and I'm breathing a little irregularly.  It also means that we have to go back down tomorrow.  Drats.  Finally we made it into the park and up to the top to the group sight that was reserved for us.  That's where the rattle comes in.

Rattle snakes.  Hundreds and hundreds of them.  The group sight nestled up to a big outcropping of black rocks.  The park manager informed our luggage guru that the rocks were home to hundreds of rattle snakes.  They are pretty docile he said.  They won't bug you unless you get too close or step on one.  I don't think so.  Since Arlen was not available the three of us decided it was necessary to explore other options.  (Plus the showers and restrooms were 1/2 a mile away, nay for the one pit toilet in the parking lot. )  We settled on a beautiful sight in the lower campground, away from the rattle snakes, tucked into a grove of trees with lots of comfy camp sights.  It was a good choice.  The only critters were three young deer that visited in the morning.

Our well imbibed tribe dined on bbq'd pulled pork, opa's sausages, texas wedge salad, broccoli salad, sauerkraut, steamed asparagus and veggies, fingerling potatoes, and and a huge plate of brownies.  They then rallied around the campfire well into the evening then tucked in for a cool night of sleep.

Tomorrow will find them exploring more wineries and the town of Napa.  Another boost to the economy is about to happen!


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