As many of you may know I love biking and painting. The great thing about these 2 passions of mine is that they really do go hand in hand. My wife, Janice, and I recently planned a bike ride in wine country, wine country in the fall, that is. Now I’ve spent a lot of time in wine country photographing and painting the landscape in all seasons. But a bike ride through the wine country of Sonoma is something I haven’t done. Why didn’t I think of this before?
We started out in the quaint square of downtown Sonoma and we headed north towards Santa Rosa on Highway 12, right through the heart of Sonoma’s wine country. It was a beautiful ride, although a little dangerous at times. The shoulder consisted of little more than a white line and maybe 2 inches of shoulder with a few 2-3 foot drop offs right next to the shoulder, very exciting to say the least. The fall colors were beautiful. The great thing about being on a bike is the fact that you’re able to see so much more. You’re more likely to take that little road to see where it leads, hopefully it doesn’t lead to a guy in overalls with a gun in his hand yelling at you to get off his property. (Thankfully nothing like that happened on this ride) The road less traveled often leads to some pretty spectacular, often rarely viewed scenes. Traveling relatively slow means you just see that much more. Driving through at 50 miles an hour is nice if you just want to get somewhere as quickly as possible, but if really want to see, try riding a bike or just walking. This ride wasn’t about seeing how fast we could finish the 5o mile loop. It wasn’t about trying to see how fast we could climb Bennet Valley Road. It was about simply seeing. It was about smelling the grape harvest in the air. It was about slowing down and enjoying all the wine counrty had to offer.This is a good lesson for life as well. “Stop and Smell the Roses” is how, I believe, the saying goes.
Some paintings will certainly come out of this trip, I’ve already finished a portrait of a sheep and a bull. Stayed tuned as I post some of those images.
One our big dreams is to paint France while riding our bikes throughout the countryside. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy some of the pics taken along the way.