My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ride The West - Day 20 - Santa Maria, CA to Solvang, CA

After yesterday's long 85 mile day, the route sheet for today was certainly welcomed.  A mere 40 miles and only 2,100 feet of climbing ... what we call a rolling rest day.  It gave us a chance to ride easier, stop at some wineries, and enjoy the Scandinavian town of Solvang.  It was 60 degrees at departure and I rode without legs (warmers that is) for the first time this trip.  By the SAG stop at the Hermanos Winery, I would shed my under armour and vest too.  I rode with Mark and Susan until the SAG.

The Duchess Feeds Her Man Some Grapes
Lots More Vineyards On The Road Today (Peppers and Strawberries Too)
A Tarantula Sighting ... "They Jump Ya Know"
The day's climbing looks more intense on the Garmin data (see, but it was a nice gradual day with the exception of a few steeper sections.  From the SAG, it was a day for the stooges to have some fun.

Today's Episode ... "The Stooges Go Tasting"
Commemorative Wine Glasses Available For Purchase At
Our first visit was at the Fess Parker Winery.  Trivia time ... Fess passed away a few years ago and played Davy Crockett on TV.  Davy and I share the same birthday.  Mark and Susan joined us and we were were able to sample one wine for free.  Typically, the wineries offer a sampling of 4-5 wines for around $10.  I sampled the Parker Family Reserve which was a tasty blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Marsanne, and Riesling.  It had a nice fruity aroma (little bit of peach, mango, and apricot) and good acidity.
Stop Number 1 On Our Tour - Fess Parker
Jack Educates Susan, Mark, Jeff, and Joe On Today's Wines
Good Wine ... Bad Hair ... Fess Pictures In The Background
From there, we headed to the Curtis Winery.  At first we thought it was closed, but Joe inquired and actually flipped the sign from closed to open.  Nancy was our server and poured me a glass of 2009  Syrah from Crossroads Vineyard.  I really like Syrahs.  This one had a nice berry (raspberry and blueberry) aroma, classic tannins, and a strong linger of acidity.

Stop #2 - Curtis Winery
Joe and Jeff Sample a White and a Red
Curtis' Barrel Room
Great View (Again, Bad Hair) From Curtis' Lot
The stooges really wanted to stop at Firestone as well.  We learned it was only a couple miles out of the way, so we went off the cue sheet a bit and climbed the Firestone driveway to finish our trifecta.  The server (never got his name) was not quite as accommodating as our previous two visits.  He insisted we purchase a sample package even though we explained we could not drink more than one glass given we were on our bikes.  We graciously passed ... Joe vowed to never buy from them again. LOL.

No Freebies For The Stooges At Firestone
Heading back on route, we made our last climbs of the day and then descended to Solvang. The scenery continued to impress.  Solvang is a touristy town that offers a taste of Denmark including numerous bakeries, restaurants, and shops.  The architecture reflects traditional Danish style.  There are statues of the Little Mermaid (a copy of the one from Copenhagen) and Danish author Hans Christian Anderson.  I snapped a classic town photo of the horse drawn trolley in front of the town's replica of Copenhagen's Round Tower (Rundetarn).  We had a Danish smorgasbord for dinner that was not so great (although others seemed to like it).

Descending The Vineyards Into Solvang
Jeff Points Out The Danish Windmill

This Shot Epitomizes The Town
Strolling the shops was fun.  Char and I found a neat hat store that really had me thinking about pig and all the support he has provided me the past few years. Leo found a great cigar store and came home with a whopper of a stogie.  Our last big climb (almost 2,300 feet in elevation) and another 81 miles await us tomorrow.

A Striking Resemblance?
I Am Tonight's Pig Reference ... Thanks Cathy
Good Night Moon ... Good Night Stooges ... Good Night Wine ... Good Night Denmark ... Good Night Wife, Daughter, and Son

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