time reversal

the stories of four physicists separated by the whims of fate

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Biking in Sonoma

October 27th, 2008 by liz

Dave came to visit me this weekend! His flight got in really late on Friday, and my car wouldn’t start when I tried to leave my house to pick him up, so as a result we didn’t get to sleep until really late. We woke up way too early Saturday morning and headed out to Sonoma. We arrived at the Rosen’s on Saturday around noon, where we spent some time in James’s bike shop putting a new chain on my bike and finally fixing my brake levers so they pointed forward. Then, James got Dave all set up on a mountain bike and we headed out to the vineyards.

Our first stop was the Sonoma Cheese Factory where we acquired the makings for a picnic, and then we biked out to Batholomew Park for a picnic lunch. After lunch we did a wine tasting at Bartholomew Park Winery, and then we hopped on our bikes for a ride. We got lost a bunch (which is fine because Sonoma is nice to bike through) and then we eventually ended up at Ravenwood Winery, which had some really intense wines. After a tasting at Ravenwood, we got on our bikes again and started biking up the road by the winery. It was a nice road with almost no cars that wound through the vineyards. Unfortunately, it was quite steep and much longer than it looked, and by the time we got to the top our legs were burning. We decided that we had had enough biking for the day, and we headed back to the Rosen’s.

We got back and sat down on the couch in the guest house. An hour later I woke up. Dave and I were still sitting in the exact same positions in all of our biking clothes. Those of you who wear spandex on a regular basis will realize how impressive it is to pass out still wearing your spandex after a bike ride. The late night, the early start, and the day of biking had really wiped us out. I wandered over to the main house to tell Julie that we were back, and she handed me a giant plate of fresh, homemade spring rolls. They were delicious! Especially the peanut sauce. After spring rolls by the pool, we hopped in for a swim. The water was freezing by California standards (70 F), but since I’m still adjusted for Boston weather, I thought it was pretty nice. Julie brought us chocolate covered strawberries for dessert, which (again) were delicious.

After all this excitement, Dave and I were ready for sleep, but since it was only 7:30pm, we decided we better do something with the evening. We went down to Murphy’s Irish Pub on Sonoma plaza and listened to a live Bluegrass band. They were actually really good. Now I’m contemplating buying a banjo and bringing it with me to the Antarctica. I could start a bluegrass band at the south pole!

Sunday started out kind of lazy, but by 11 am Dave and I were on our bikes and Julie and James were on their tandem. James led us on a 32 mile ride through the vineyards around Sonoma. It was a lot like biking in VT–there weren’t many cars, some of the roads were a little rough, and the scenery was awesome. The were differences though–it was the end of October and it was 75 and sunny out instead of snowing, and everything smelled like grapes instead of cow manure. I also discovered the best biking food ever. I picked some white figs from the Rosen’s fig tree before we left on the ride and put them in my jersey pocket. You can eat the whole fig on the bike and there is no skin or wrapper left over, it’s an instant sugar rush, and it tastes a hell of a lot better than gels.

After we got back from the bike ride Julie made some awesome Indian food with mint chutney. Dave commented that the trip so far was characterized by beautiful weather and being extremely well-fed. Julie is a really good cook. The Rosen’s had a dinner they needed to get ready for, so Dave and I said goodbye and drove up to the northern part of Sonoma and stopped at Blackstone Winery and Kunde Winery to do some tastings. We decided that Dave was driving, so I got to finish all the wines he was tasting, and as a result ended up tasting a large variety of wines. My favorite wine of the weekend was a slightly effervescent dessert wine at Ravenwood. All of the wineries close at 4:30, so after our last tasting we headed back to Berkeley.

Dave and I cooked dinner and then headed over to Ankur’s place for a pumpkin carving party. There were about 20 people there, so we had a huge supply of pumpkin seeds for baking. We made clove/cinnamon/sugar/salt pumpkin seeds, and I ate way to many. My favorite pumpkin of the evening was Mikey P’s, which had eyes and nose made out of the letters DOW and a mouth made out of a graph that had a sharp downwards trend. Scary.

I figured that my labmates had forgotten to warm up the cryostat, so after the party Dave and I stopped by the lab to check. They had in fact forgotten, so I gave Dave a “hands on lab tour,” ie I made him help me warm it up. Dave left way too early this morning for a job interview in Sunnyvale. He’ll be back later this evening for dinner, and then he’s headed back to Boston and I’ll continue running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get ready to leave for the Pole.

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