Hitomi and I were at the Wine Country Trek last weekend.
The ride was from Yakima to Prosser past a number of vineyards, small label wineries, orchards, and empty fields of (just harvested) hops. It was a two day ride, about 60 miles on Saturday and Sunday. Since we had the entire day to do the ride, it left a lot of time to explore the different wineries, take pictures, etc. And as part of the ride support, any bought wine would be picked up and delivered back to our cars on Sunday.
Hitomi had her new Bike Friday, which she had already rode a few times and was eager to try it out on a longer ride. Ten miles into the ride, she got a flat. I had a spare tube and pump, and it would be just a matter of changing her tire, but then my tire levers break and I have to wait for the mechanic to arrive. Her tire was attacked by vicious goat heads. And though I thought I was free of them, immediately I noticed my tire was just as flat as well.
We were helpfully warned (many times) to stay away from the shoulder lane. Goat head plants seem to thrive in barren soil and readily grow cracks in pavement, often depositing their sharp seeds directly on the road. Luckily, since we were on back roads, we could ride in the middle of the lane most of the time without having to pull over for traffic.
There were about 10 wineries we would be going by on Saturday. We only got to go in a few because of the time. Doing a wine course takes quite a lot of time, and one winery in particular offered a very comprehensive food/wine course, that got Hitomi excited more for the food than wine.
To make it back in time for dinner, I was eager to get to camp. But on the last stretch I got a slow leak (goat head again?) and waited for a pump.
Dinner was not really "gourmet", think cafeteria cooking, though we did have roast beef and salmon. Still it was pretty good. There was an open wine bar, though none of the wines were local. Hitomi and I sat down at a shared table and we talked briefly with some other riders. Most riders were baby-boomer aged and they all seem to do quite a number of organized rides. This ride was fairly exclusive (200 riders) and attracted not-so-performance minded folk.
Rain was predicted for the evening and day tomorrow.
And as predicted, it was rainy and cold. I had tights and a jacket, but not a waterproof jacket. Things were okay in the beginning, but after a flat tire (goat heads again) and waiting for a mechanic, I got increasingly colder and colder. Hitomi's jacket was just as wet, but kept her warmer. Pedaling kept me warm, but not really well enough unless I kept faster. I eagerly watched my odometer for 31 miles, the midway rest stop. By then, I was in pretty bad shape. A number of people were getting rides back to Yakima from whoever was driving and Hitomi got me a ride. Well, a women offered Hitomi a ride, and I went instead. But then Hitomi came along.
Lessons learned: Yes, it does rain in Eastern Washington. Goat heads suck. Invest in a $100 rain jacket to go with your $3000 bicycle.
We got a total of 5 bottles of wine, some of which might show up at Thanksgiving or other occasions.
Hitomi's blog has some pictures.