Monday, October 7, 2013

Up the Coast to Levi's GranFondo

Last Thursday, my husband and I took a journey in our 1977 VW Bus up the scenic pacific coastal highway en route to Santa Rosa, CA. Our destination, the famous Levi's GranFondo, a 103 mile bike race. 

Getting Bryan to the race was a journey filled with beautiful scenery, scary moments and laughter. The "starter" on the Bus broke at our first pit stop in Santa Barbara. If you've seen the movie "Little Miss Sunshine" then you'll get the reference. We had to "Little Miss Sunshine" it up the coast. Push, run and jump in. 

We stopped in Solvang, where the movie "Sideways" was filmed. We ate at "Pea Soup Andersen's" and had pea soup of course.
We then made our way up the coast. Everyone knows a VW Bus drives slow and even slower on mountain roads. We laughed when a deer jumped out in front of us and we didn't even have to slam on the brakes. It's as if the deer knew, "I have time to cross the road, it's a Bus!"
Making our way to Big Sur, we stopped to get some photos of the sunset. It was the most perfect sunset
My favorite photo from the trip, is the one below. Bryan tried to use the timer on the camera so we could both be in the shot .... the timing was off and it looks like a fake sunset, one of those backdrops. I just love this photo. It makes me laugh.
We were not laughing when the Bus stalled at a light...up a hill. Nor were we laughing when we were traveling down a two lane highway through Big the dark with a Bus that wasn't working properly. That was stressful.

It got interesting when we arrived at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campgroud. It was dark. We hard a hard time finding our campsite and of course when we found it, it was on an incline. Remember, the "starter" on the bus wasn't working. Here she is, stuck. Three nice gentlemen helped us push her and get her started again the next morning. 

With a recommendation from my dad, we headed for breakfast at Nepenthe. My dad ate at Nepenthe's nearly 30 years ago and said we should check it out. We were disappointed that it didn't open until 11:30am, but Cafe Kevah (attached to Nepenthe) was open and we had one of the best breakfast burritos ever! Hands down, this place is on my top 10 restaurant list. The view was amazing and the food was delicious. We also saw dolphins and a whale while eating. Be sure to stop here if you ever ride up the coast.

This place is magical ... our "starter" began to work again. Woohoo!! 

Next stop, Monterey, CA. We drove through town and stopped at Cannery Row. We wanted to stay longer, but our trip was taking way longer than we had expected. We needed to get Bryan to his race. 
Back in the Bus we went, headed for San Francisco. We had no time to stop, but we still had fun driving through the middle of the city and over the Golden Gate Bridge. 
Hours later we made it to Santa Rosa, CA. We picked up Bryan's race packet, ate at a pizzeria so Bryan could "carb load" and headed for the campground. Time to get excited Bryan! We can't tell you what the Santa Rosa campground looked like. We arrived in the dark and left in the dark.
Time to get ready! It's race day! Levi's GranFondo is a 103 mile open road ride with both amateur and professional cyclists. 7,500 riders participated. This was Bryan's first "century" and of course he picked a hard one! The ride consisted of mostly climbs and descents. 
Bryan met up with some of his friends from the Temecula Velo riding club at the start line. 

This is what 7,500 riders looks like. Can you spot Bryan?

And here's Bryan's butt at the finish line! 
They did it! 
The woman in the middle, did it with a sprained ankle! 
Way to go guys! I am so very proud of you! 9 hours, 25 mins. Can you imagine riding up and down mountains for that long?! Bryan, Mary, George, Wendy and Martyn you are truly amazing. Kudos.

1 comment:

  1. I loves this post! What a fun trip. And great pics! Congrats to Bryan!!!