Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Occidental, I think that I just fell in love with you

After spending several days doing some climbs around Napa, we finally checked out of our motel in downtown Napa, loaded up our panniers, and headed west, aiming for the tiny community of Occidental. We only discovered after returning to Boston that Tom Waits now calls Occidental home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ice Whine in Napa

So just a few days after I post a picture of a 100 ml tube of sunscreen that was being rapidly used up in New England, I head off to the airport to fly to California where TSA threatened to take it away from me! In some wicked twist of fate, John had some vacation time to use up before April 1st, and we decided to head off the Northern California to do some early season hill climbing in nice weather. We booked our trip long before realizing that the world had flipped and Boston was now in the tropics. In the week before our departure, we starting crying over the forecasts, as Boston was to be 80F and sunny while Napa and Sonoma were to be 50s and rainy, as it should be in Boston at this time of year. We packed up warm clothes, but optimistically threw the sunscreen in anyway.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Signs of Spring

It's about 40 F and raining here today, a pretty typical spring day in the greater Boston area. Fear Rothar calls March the cruelest month. We start to see signs of spring. We get warm days with sunshine, and then, it seems on our days off, we get the dreary rainy days! Well I can't really complain. It's been a mild winter, although with some pretty good swings in temperature. But we are seeing lots of indications now of spring...

Emily and I were having a mid-ride lunch at Verrill Farm recently where they are starting to sell some seedlings.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mud in yer eye!

A combination of too much work and fine weather have kept me away from the (non-work) computer this week. However, last weekend's weather led me to write the following:

The unusually mild and dry winter we have experienced in New England this year was book-ended (although it may be a little early to use that term yet!) by snow storms in October and on Leap Year Day. The latter was followed by a day of rain and, for some reason, that seemed to suggest a spin on dirt roads to your truly. The idea must have had some merit, as David Lafferty was happy to accompany me into southern New Hampshire. Perhaps, though, he was just trying to maximise culture shock, as he and wife Emily were planning to fly to Mallorca the following weekend. Have fun, you two!

But I digress, we tried to establish the theme of our ride early on.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We have had very strange weather in New England this winter. For the most part, it has been relatively mild. But we've had a few bitter cold days as well as some balmy ones. The problem is that the two extremes have come one right after the other. The high temperature can vary by 40F from one day to the next, making getting the right clothing choices a bit of a challenge. A little layering and judicious use of zippers usually are enough for me to adjust to changing conditions.  Normally if I am under-dressed or over-dressed on one day, I can tweak my clothing choice slightly the next day and be comfortable. But since conditions have varied so much day to day, this hasn't really been the case this year.  Most of the time when I have misjudged, the issue has been my hands, and so far I haven't inflicted permanent damage, but I do find I am now carrying extra gloves a lot!