Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Canyon Bike Ride

Mike didn't work today and he developed cabin-fever very quickly, so we loaded up the bikes and headed out to a small farming community in American Canyon. I'd driven through here briefly last week when I went to the new super-Wal-Mart on Hwy 29 (for you non-northern Californians, Hwy 29 heads north, from where we live, into Napa, and along the way is the small city of American Canyon). The above building was one of the features I'd wanted to photograph last week but didn't have the nerve to get out of the truck by myself. Honestly, I think I never should have seen (or read) "Deliverance!"
After all, these houses (above) were nearby and clearly they are all (except the white one in the very back) old, falling down, and unoccupied! In fact, the day I was out there by myself I'd swear I could see a man sitting in front of the only occupied building, tipped back against the wall in a straight-backed chair, arms folded, and a baseball cap low over his eyes. Yeah, I drove right on out of there.

Luckily, though, I made a mental note to remember this area next time we wanted to go for a bike ride somewhere new. I figured a couple people on bikes wouldn't draw as much attention as a strange vehicle in the area, and even if we did surely no one would suspect we were up to anything more than just a nice bike ride out in the country.

We were only a few minutes drive off busy Hwy 29, but this area is so quiet that it's easy to imagine you are miles out in the country. Here are a couple photos of what some of the "roads" we were riding on look like:
Yep, sometimes it was just a track in the grass. Other times paved, sometimes just dirt or gravel, and once an old road, barely used anymore, of broken up concrete, rocks and other rubble. Hooray for mountain bikes with fat tires! Don't even THINK of bringing your skinny-wheeles touring bikes out here.

Don't you love the street sign in this next pic?
Zorro Road?? It appears to head out to pretty much nowhere but into the middle of the vineyard, but we found there were houses hidden among these hills, presumably people growing grapes for the wineries in nearby Napa Valley. Here's one:
Another photo of the early-spring grapevines, and there's the farmer on his tractor between the rows:
Later we saw him again, near the road we were bicycling on, and got this photo as he was heading back up the hillside. Dang, I'd hoped for a ride on that tractor.
Below: the two tall silos in the distance were what I'd seen last week, and what I was trying to get to. Unfortunately, every road that seems to go their way is blocked by a gate or dead end or a new housing subdivision. Even on bikes we weren't able to find our way out there. Well, one of these days we may just have to hike across the fields and climb a couple of barbed-wire fences! There are a number of old buildings out there and I'd love to explore them.
Oh, and that's a train on the right side of the same photo. We were standing next to three tracks, the middle one had an idling train on it. I wanted to look into all the boxcars for hobos, but Mike said no. Bad enough, I guess, that we'd walked on by several "No Trespassing" signs, heh heh.
A little later we got to see that idling train on its way north (above). Reminded me of when I was young and my family lived in Redondo Beach, CA. There were train tracks fairly nearby and we kids loved to go over there and watch the trains go by and wave to the engineers. The engineer of this today train waved at us, too. Awesome.
Hm, farmers must be rolling in money if they can afford to leave perfectly good farm equipment standing out in the fields long enough to get this covered with weeds and bushes!
Wow, they don't bother taking care of their cars either! Two old Ford Fairlanes, the one in back is a convertible.
One last photo of another barn. What can I say, I just have a thing for old barns. Maybe I was born in one?


The Cat and the Kill

Scout hunts pretty much every night. She always brings back her kill, and is very proud of her accomplishment.

I bet leaves that size really put up a fight!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Happy Place

It's where I go when I need to rest or relax, regroup or re-prioritize. Or just think for awhile.

Where's your Happy Place?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Head 'Em Up, Move 'Em Out

It's me, ha ha , taking a photo of a cow. Yeah, I'm enough of a city girl to think bovines are pretty cool when you can get this close to them. We were on a bike ride in the Wildcat Canyon Regional Park (northern Cali) when we ran across these lovelies.

We've been riding our bikes quite a bit lately, and I'm getting a little bit more in shape. The long winter took its toll on my fitness level. I have more photos to post but no time today, so I will try to do that after the 21st, when my schedule eases up just a bit.

Tomorrow Mike and I leave for Florida to visit his dad and step-mom. We'll be back on Friday. My cousin, Laurel, will look in on the cats while we are gone. I hope they don't have too many parties and wreck the house. (The cats, I mean, not Laurel, LOL!)

My Precious (my laptop) is not going with us and there's no internet at Art & Betty's house so I'll be totally off-line until late Friday. If you need me, call my cell phone!

Back soon!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Plan and Prepare for Your Dreams

And they're off! To Chile, that is!

My sister, Karen, and my Dad have been saving a little money every week for four years; yep, you read that right - four years! They've had a joint savings account and they have always said, as soon as they have enough money they would take a trip together.

It was their dream to do this. And because they planned for it (although they didn't know exactly when) and prepared for it (even though they hadn't decided exactly where they'd go), the day came around when the account was big enough that they decided it was time.

They decided on two weeks in Chile -- including 5 days on Easter Island! -- set the dates, bought their tickets, make reservations for lodgings, and got their passports ready.

This past Monday evening my mom and I drove them to LAX and they were off, their dream had come true.

We've had a couple e-mails so far, that they arrived safely, and are having a wonderful time!

It's a great lesson to the rest of us. If there's something you want to do, start planning for it, even put it on the calendar if you can. Most dreams don't just come true on their own; you have to do your part. Somewhere I read that you should take at least one step every day toward the fulfilling of a dream, or a goal.

Just one step. What are your dreams? Have you started preparing?