Saturday, 17 April 2010

Gnarly Dude

The thing about having lots of people around is that sometimes, it’s great; and other times, it’s just stressful. We had an experience of both today.

We realised that the road was going to be busy as we set off this morning for our 41-mile ride to Jenner, and waited several minutes before we could pull out safely from the driveway of our hotel. It wasn’t all bad, in that it was a rally of classic Italian cars that were streaming past us: Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Ferraris and an AC Cobra, but still…

The road was busy not only with motor ve-hicles, but also bikes, mainly going in the opposite direction. Then, about half way through the ride, we ran into a group of 4 touring cyclists (see photo) going in the same direction as us (unheard of). They were actually only on a 4-day trip from SF to Jenner and back, but they were camping, so they were carrying quite a bit of kit. Anyway, it was great to have a chat with them and swap ideas/advice etc, and we were very pleased to get a recommendation for lunch: a fish & chip restaurant in Bodega Bay, which turned out to be a hidden gem.

Despite the chish & fips place bursting at the seams with many loyal patrons, we arrived and rolled straight onto the centre table surrounded by a captive audience. The popularity was soon explained: the food was delicious… just as tasty as the English version, especially with the malt vinegar and sea salt. The surprising thing though was just how captive our audience really was! All chatty and very interested in our trip, they were thoroughly lovely people. We shouldn’t really be shocked, as we have met so many supportive people on this trip, but this was an exceptional place. We must give a special mention to Jim and Edie. We chatted away for quite some time, and cooed over their two expressive little Pugs. Jim was so enthusiastic about what we are doing that he not only took some photos and sent them to us by the time we arrived today, but also Jim and Edie made a very generous donation to MS on our site, for which we are very grateful.

Another table in the restaurant had a group of four guys on it from Yosemite, that we would estimate were probably in their late teens/early 20s. As we described our adventure, we were amused to hear the words “Gnarly Dude” in the background. Although we have heard this phrase on the TV, this is the second time we have heard it in conversation and it still makes us chuckle. And it got us to thinking that, what with all the traffic streaming past us, the tricky road surface, the hills and the wind, it did pretty much sum up our day today…

Tonight, we ate at the restaurant in our hotel. A new Swedish chef, Helena, has recently taken over the kitchen, and tonight she was doing everything herself: front of house, bar, waiting the tables, supervising the cooking. Somehow she managed to get through us all, and the food was really pretty good. Given that we are quite literally in the Russian River Valley, it will also be no surprise to hear that the wine was fairly quaffable here too…

Another shortish ride tomorrow, with some more steep hills, but hopefully a few less cars… There’s optimism for you.

Us x

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