I promise you I won't bore you with photos every Sunday but this week marks the beginning of my biking season for 2012. I am a recreational bicyclist (and a commuter bicyclist when it works) and the best time for riding is early on a Sunday morning. For one thing, early morning is the most calm and, I think, the most beautiful time of the day. I always travel with my camera and I cannot get my fill of eye candy on my ride. There is also very little traffic at that hour and, since most of my riding is on narrow country roads, the less auto traffic the better. So, for fun and games, I am going to show you a bit about my late winter ride this morning and then I will revisit from time to time until the season closes on Thanksgiving weekend.
I hit the road shortly after 6:00 when the sun was just making his presence known. If I head out High School Road, I will get spectacular views of dawn at the Laguna de Santa Rosa.
High School Road ends at Occidental Road and then the view changes to late winter vineyards. The mustard is blooming but the vines are still spindly. It won't be long before they begin to bud.
Daffodils poke up along the road and along the edges of the fields. I even spotted one poppy plant in bloom already.
Our town does have whimsey. These guys are big and they welcome you to one of the local wineries.
Occidental Road will take you to a bike path which has more vineyards, more mustard, isolated ponds, sweetly beautiful birds and, oh, an occasional kitty to stop and greet.
Apples used to be the agricultural crop of choice in Western Sonoma County and there are still some apple orchards in between the vineyards. The apple trees will start to blossom in March and there may still be blossoms on the trees when the annual Apple Blossom Parade and Festival happens in late April (depends on the rain or lack of same).
The narrow roads I take allow me to breathe in the cool air and bring my thoughts entirely into the present. I often like to finish the ride by coming down through town to see what's new in the windows. Copperfield's is our local bookstore and, yes, I do enjoy hanging out there. I've watched it grow from tiny, to somewhat bigger with a little cafe, to losing the cafe but adding a used bookstore, to, most recently, losing the used book store portion. That is disappointing on many levels but it is what is. The town really supports the independent book seller but with Amazon and other on line and big box stores offering cheaper prices, it is not easy to be independent.
Yesterday, in my walkabout post, I included the photo on the left below. This morning, I made it a point to go by Copperfield's and take a photo of the wall in its entirety. If you lay down on the sidewalk and look up, like yesterday, you get the view on the left. If you stand astride your bike across the street, you can see where the buildings join.
At People's Music, you can take music lessons and buy sheet music and instruments. Check out the drum that was in the window today!
The post office building was built during the Great Depression and has a cool mural from the WPA days inside. Sometime I will capture that image for you but not today. If you get hungry while at the post office, you can do across to the converted old gas station which is now The Grateful Bagel.
Ives Park is the oldest park in town. I have seen it renovated several times so this is not the same play equipment on which my kids played. But it's in the same place. The baseball field is in use almost all year round - Little League, Bobby Sox, and adult leagues. I wonder how the palm tree got here? There are actually several palm trees in the downtown section. I imagine they made their way here from SoCal, perhaps in the 1930's . Park Side School is essentially across the street from Ives Park. Again, it was constructed in the 1930's (very art deco in style) but has seen updating and renovation over the years.
Finally, after about two and a half hours of glorious riding, I ride up the driveway, store the bike in the garage and go in to enjoy a hot shower (my fingers were pretty cold), an excellent bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and almonds, and the Sunday paper. That oak tree in the back is well over two hundred years old and will leaf out impressively sometime during the next four or five weeks. It is majestic.
Sundays are not as wonderful as Saturdays but they sure beat Mondays at anything.