Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wine Country Populaire

The Populaire began painfully enough. The only cure for my Raynaud's when it's that cold is to work hard enough to warm up from the inside, as below 35 degrees or so, no thickness or style of glove keeps my fingers from burning at the start of a ride. My legs did not feel my fingers were compromised enough to justify working past a middling amount, so it took about an hour before my hands felt comfortable. After that, between my core and the ambient temperature improving, so did my disposition.
This was one of the two major wine tasting weekends in Yamhill county. We as cyclotouristes duly participated. Entering Carlton I was with the Seattle contingent, who stopped first at Cana's- an impressive enough spot;

but not what Maggie and Eric had in mind. Their idea was a much less conspicuous establishment just outside of town with a small tasting fee, great wine and appetizers. (link to photos from the ride)
Wine Country Populaire

How did they know about this place? Last year, Maggie had been adamant that the only way she was going to stop for wine tasting was if they were offering roadside service. Shortly after saying that, sure enough, Carlo&Julian had greeters at curbside. That was the first wine tasting event for one of their friends and Maggie claims that visit turned him into a wine geek.
This pleasant environment became less so in the afternoon when the motortourists invaded Yamhill County- wanting to take in the bucolic countryside in large numbers, in large vehicles and at 60 mph. Giving credit where it's due, they passed giving a wide berth and slowed down if there was oncoming traffic. I'm thankful that this level of traffic occurs only several times a year in Yamhill, Polk and Marion counties but fearful that in time we'll be no different than Napa and Sonoma.
On returning to Forest Grove, I received some static about my late arrival and enjoyed dinner with the SIR and OR group.
The next day, sure enough, it was blue skies and (slightly) warmer temperatures. Geri and I went back to Carlton on Sunday and stopped by C&J to pick up a half case of wine and then Cana's for wine tasting. We then went to McMinnville to pick op our Christmas tree. Part of me was wondering why it wasn't like this on Saturday, but mostly I was grateful for a dry, safe and fun Thanksgiving weekend.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Signing up for a permanent is kinda like a blind date-agree at your own peril. Not like the weekend club rides where you can look at the weather that AM and decide accordingly. Even more flexibility exists when riding on my own. I looked at the weather sites all week hoping for the best. As Saturday came closer I was pondering the likely reality of a long, cold, wet, and windy ride. I asked myself why am I doing this?- what is the big deal about an R12 award?? Usually I save the inner whimpering dialogue for a painful interlude somewhere along the ride, not before even starting. Conflict led to resolve when John and Joanne called to set up a time and place to meet prior to the ride. These two don't need designations/certificates; they just like long rides.

The ride started as I had hoped it wouldn't- temps in the low 40's, headwinds and driving rains. And the hilly portion of the ride was at the start. I told my fellow travelers that if they wanted to know what a large chunk of PBP was like- well, they were experiencing it. We did get a return on our headwind investment on the way back, which greatly improved my spirits.
Past Amity, John remarked that he was worried about us as he was seeing blue patches of sky. That was accompanied by warming temps and flatter terrain. The remainder of the ride was positively benign. Further on, the Fall skies put on an absolute show. Photographers live for conditions such as were present on Saturday, especially in the late afternoon. A few photos to remember a gorgeous afternoon:

Such are the rewards of risky weather, ignoring my inner wimp and having great riding companions.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween in the Castro, 1988 and now

Last week I received an email from Beverly Spicer at Digital Journalist asking if they could use a photo I had posted at back in 2003 for an November issue article on right brain vs left brain perceptual stuff.
I pondered the ramifications of internet data that old attracting attention (paranoid or perceptive?); then decided I should be flattered someone was looking at my photos out there in the WWW and replied “of course you can use it”. I had been thinking about that Halloween last week as it had been in the news that San Francisco was not going to allow the Castro Halloween party in part due to last year’s violence.
That 1988 Halloween was such a great night. I was in my 2nd year of med school and up to my throat in work. Several of my classmates who were Bay area natives insisted that it was a party not to be missed. So what the heck, there I was. That evening remains one of my favorite memories from that era.
In the following days when, as left brain dominant types are prone to do, we were dissecting the event, one of my buds commented that two-three years earlier the Castro was in a state of shock due to the AIDS epidemic. In contrast to the 70's where there was 24 hour activity, the streets were deserted at night. He had noticed, though, that the party atmosphere was returning- as was evident by that evening. Another aspect, that as a habitual outsider/observer I’m keen on perceiving, was the sense of inclusion I felt that night. We were obviously outsiders in that community, but felt welcome. It was crowded, uninhibited, the spectre of the epidemic was there, but there was no violence. Here are the photos from that night.
1988 Halloween Castro
Forward to 2007. AIDS is viewed as a chronic disease, certainly not a death sentence. The Castro is being gentrified, property values are booming, and a street party is not safe anymore. How profoundly sad.