About one mile south of the village of Mendocino, CA lies one of the most quaint coastal ranches in Northern Nevada called Spring Ranch and where we stayed the second weekend of December for John's cycling team camp.
The historic property has been renovated using antique and salvaged material. There is a bar loft and the main house (in which we stayed that weekend). The rooms are furnished with amenities you would find in a hotel such as linens, towels, and bath essentials. The kitchen is stocked with cooking utensils, pots, pans, dishes, silverware, spices--pretty much what you would need in your own kitchen. Perfect for a family gathering and it has also been an intimate venue for many, many beautiful weddings. I took more photos which are in this album.
The drive was beautiful. We took the back roads for a direct path to northern California. The route was scenic but it also made for a very long drive.
When we arrived Friday evening, we met his teammates who greeted us with open arms. Within minutes we felt like we were part of the group. Instead of going out to dinner, we cooked dinner the two nights we were there. John and I helped out in the kitchen while the chefs made quite possibly the best spaghetti carbinara I've ever had and salad one of nights and the next night we had poached salmon with roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes. MUCH better food than dining out.
We sat in the dining room and the conversations flowed along with wine.
The next morning I took photos of the team (Hammer Nutrition/Charity of Choice) and then followed them in our truck as they embarked on a 100+ mile ride and 8400 feet of climbing. You will see plenty of photos of these gentlemen throughout the coming year. And no, their hair is not all blonde. John thought it would be funny if I Photoshop one of the guys' hair onto everyone else's head. If you saw the before photo, you might chuckle.
Will the real Dirk Himley please stand up?
Their ride started on Highway 1 from Spring Ranch and meandered south along the coast.
I drove ahead and stopped to take photos as they passed me by. It was a lot of fun for me to see parts of the Pacific Coast I hadn't seen and doing what I love -- photography and spending time with my sweetheart. It didn't matter that he was riding because I got to see him pass by many times with a big smile on his face. And he was doing one of the things he loves most).
Then the course headed east through the mountains and things got steep. The road was narrow and took many twists and turns. Some were 180 degrees and equally as steep downhill as it had been uphill! There are more photos that I took in this SmugMug album.
Eventually I split off and headed back to the ranch while the team continued their ride. I put on my running shoes and headed out the door, past some old historic barns to the cliffs. I passed a herd of deer eating dinner as the sun was setting. There's a trail leading from Spring Ranch along the cliffs on which I ran. I made a two mile loop back to the barn to shed some clothes because I was getting warm from my run.
The trail makes a figure eight heading north and south. I wish I had more time to explore ... so I will have to wait until next time :-)
The guys were already back at the ranch so I didn't want to leave again to continue my run. We cleaned up and then John and I made a grocery run. It was time to prepare dinner and many of us were in the kitchen again, helping in any way we can.
The next day John went riding with his team after their morning briefing. I stayed back at the ranch with the team captain's wife and she took me on a tour of the carriage house and bar loft. You really must see the photos of the interior of the bar loft - it is so cozy and private. And the carriage house is full of so many wonders, it was hard to capture it all in photos.
When it was time to leave on Sunday we said our farewells and headed towards home, stopping in Sonoma, CA for dinner and a glass of a couple of the best local wines. It was a GREAT trip and we look forward to going back to Mendocino soon.