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  • Writer's pictureJeanne Marie

Exploring Alexander Valley, Thursday, August 25, 2022

Breakfast was early again, 7 am. There was a choice of buffet breakfast, consisting of pastries and fruit, anything on the menu, or a combination of both. I wanted oatmeal which was not part of the buffet. Mark also selected his breakfast from the menu, but unfortunately, we had to wait quite a while for our meals. Since we did not have to repack our bags, we did have the time to relax and wait.

Here is the route for the day. Instead of using the van windows, they used a chalkboard today. It still is really cute with all of the pictures. The map shows all of the elevations, distances, support vans, lunch, and coffee!

We rode from the Hotel in downtown Healdsburg along the legendary West Dry Creek Road. At about 23 miles in, we all stopped at Fermata Coffee in Geyserville. The leaders treated everyone to coffee and pastries. It was only going to be about another 8 miles to lunch, but it was a great caffeine break since I never drink coffee on biking mornings. We stopped along the way to take some photos of the vineyards and grapes. The morning was a 1300-foot elevation gain.

Lunch was at Hawkes Winery in Alexander Valley, just outside the town of Healdsburg. The tour leaders set up a picnic lunch for the group and a representative of Hawkes winery had tastings as well. One of the best parts of bike touring is the food. They always served fresh fruit and vegetables at these lunches. Additionally, there are cheeses, local meats, salads, and of course desserts. Mark is on his second plate when I took his picture.

We decided on the shorter of the two options for our afternoon. It was only 11 miles and 250 feet in elevation. We were able to get back to the hotel to relax and sit by the pool.

Below on the left is from the hotel website. It was such a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It was so enjoyable just to lounge on a pool chair and watch Mark swim laps. There was hardly anyone else poolside. On the right was the Spoon Bar, the sister restaurant for our hotel. This was our final dinner and since it was such a small and friendly group, it was going to be hard to say goodbye the next day. We ended up having the patio all to ourselves for dinner.

Our final group photo. The two leaders were Jake, the young man in the back, and Amanda who is standing on the right.

Our route from Mark's watch:

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