Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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To Oktoberfest Windsor, California, Saturday, 27 September 2008 11:00pm

I'm back in SF after a nice three day weekend biking with Dave, Jenny, and Samaki. We drove up to Windsor on Saturday, checked in to the vacation rental that Jenny had found for us, and got underway.

Our goal was the Cloverdale Oktoberfest. We wanted to do a Healdsburg to Cloverdale loop, and figured that as long as we were going that direction, we should hit Historic Jimtown.

We first biked up to Healdsburg and had breakfast at Cafe Newsstand. I had a good Chai and a tasty fruit tart. We decided to get off of Healdsburg Avenue, because it had a bit more traffic than we would have liked. The bike map gave us a route that went through some subdivisions instead, which was nice and calm, but not particularly scenic. That changed when we crossed Healdsburg Ave again and started passing streets with names like "Chablis Rd" and "Burgundy Rd". We were soon riding alongside vineyards. One downside to being in wine country was that grapes apparently like sun. Rather a lot. It was blazing down, and I had to take my windbreaker off.

When we reached Jimtown (or to be more accurate, the historic Jimtown Store, since there didn't seem to be much more to see there), we were pretty happy to get in out of the sun for a while. We looked at the various knickknacks that the store sells and had lunch and a cool drink or two.

From there, we rode next to more vineyards to Geyserville. We were hoping to find some stamps (the Jimtown Store was once a post office, but now doesn't even sell stamps), but it turned out that the one in Geyserville had just moved, and hadn't installed a stamp machine (yet?).

The road from Geyserville to Cloverdale was pretty nice for biking: fairly flat, very lightly trafficked. Unfortunately, there wasn't much shade at all. While we were taking a break under a rare tree, I checked the local weather and discovered it was over 90F out. Our first stop when we got to Cloverdale was for more Gatorade.

It turned out that our Oktoberfest timing was good. Things were in full swing, with bratwurst and sauerkraut being dished out and the Edelweiss Quartet was playing (saxophone, accordion, guitar, and drums). The saxophonist was from the Black Forest, and he sang in German and yodeled impressively. We sat and digested for a while. Samaki made friends with a spectacularly drooly boxer named Cosmo, and we all had a few beers. The Bear Republic Wit is quite refreshing. The Cloverdale Ale is a bit hoppy for my taste.

We'd printed out some route maps (like the ones mentioned above), and Dave had picked up the Sonoma County Bike Map. Because I was the one with a handlebar bag with a mapholder, I was the navigator and the lead rider. Because we bike at fairly different speeds, I would habitually check behind me to make sure everyone was within sight. Of course, turning around and looking over my shoulder means that I swerve, and that's less than awesome on a narrow road if there's traffic. I resolved to pick up a bar-end mirror, but it turned out that the bike shop in Cloverdale (previously just across the street from the plaza where Oktoberfest was being held) had closed and been replaced by a beauty salon.

We rode back along a more direct route, past more vineyards and over some fairly long grades (lots of fun on the downhill). It was getting fairly dark, and when we came to the intersection of W Dry Creek Rd and Westside Rd, I mistakenly directed us South, rather than East. We went for about a mile and a half before I realized that we should really have gotten back to Healdsburg by then. Dusk was falling and bats were flying overhead. We backtracked towards town and found our way back to Eastside Rd, where we wanted to be.

After showering, we drove back into town for dinner. Only a few places were still serving at 9:30, but one of them was the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, which served us some tasty burgers and beers.

57.98mi in 4:43 rolling, 9:41 total. Route