When MG over at the Chasing Mailboxes blog announced the start of this year’s Errandonnee Challenge, I knew I wanted to join in on the biking and errand running fun! I immediately started to make plans and, after not being able to participate last year, I was super excited to finally complete the challenge.
Of course things are rarely as easy as what we plan. On the first day of the challenge, it started raining. Soon, an atmospheric river settled over Northern California, and flash flood warnings were issued. Then actual flooding started, mudslides happened, and trees toppled over into roads and onto houses. Being a Californian, I already don’t like being out in cold or wet weather, and there was just no way I was going to cycle in the crazy storms that we were having. Though we desperately need the rain, I hoped that it would clear out with enough time for me to complete the challenge. After 7 days, I was sure I was going to miss out on being able to participate in the challenge. Finally, though, after 9 days of rain and with 2 days left in the challenge, the weather finally cleared up. “Two days”, I thought, “can I actually complete all 12 errands in such a short amount of time?” I wasn’t sure, but I was sure going to give it a shot!
Well, a whirlwind 48 hours passed and I’m happy to report that I got in all 12 errands!
On to the nitty gritty!
Bike ridden for all errands: My trusty commuter and general stuff-hauler, a flat-black Trek 7.2 FX. For the challenge, I used a Green Guru Carbon Cooler 22L pannier that I picked up at the REI used gear sale last year for $20. It’s the perfect size for hauling around the stuff I need for work and any purchases I make while on the go.
Total mileage for the challenge: 31.1
Day 1: 3/14/2016
Errandonnee #1: Work or Volunteering
Distance: 6.5 miles
Destination: Bus depot
I rode to the downtown depot to catch the bus to work. This multi-modal commute has been the way I’ve been getting to work during the shorter days of fall and winter, when the 16 mile ride to my workplace is just too far to do in the dark mornings.
Observation: The time change has made it so that this shorter commute into downtown is almost entirely in the dark. I’m looking forward to the longer days of spring and summer when the mornings are light earlier in the day.
Errandonnee #2-4 (Wildcard, Arts & Entertainment, Social Call)
Distance: 10.3 miles
Destination: Sebastopol, CA
#2 (Wildcard) – After work, I needed to chip away at the planning for my upcoming John Muir Trail thru-hike before meeting the husband for his weekly billiards league night and an ice cream date, in nearby Sebastopol. I decided that I wanted to do my hiking research over a delicious pint of beer and figured it would be best to centralize these errands, so after work I rode out to Sebastopol, via the lovely Joe Rodota Trail. I took the long way through town, riding through Florence St., a residential street famous for having Patrick Amiot sculptures in many of the front yards. Having had my fix of art gawking, and wanting a reasonably quiet spot to research for my hike, I rode over to one of my very favorite beer spots in Sonoma County, The Garden. This little gem is the taproom of a local co-op, Community Market.
Observation: All of the rain we got has made for some of the most luscious and vibrant greens I’ve seen in a long time. Also, I love that each time I visit The Garden, they almost are almost never offer the same beers.
#3 (Arts & Entertainment) – Leaving The Garden, I made the short ride over to the Sebastopol Plaza to meet the husband at the Old Main Street Saloon, a little hole-in-the-wall bar. I always have a blast watching the team shoot pool. Husband did ok, winning 3 out of the 5 matches he played.
Observation: The Old Main is, unfortunately, not as divey as one would expect. Having a thing for dive bars, I was a bit disappointed.
#4 (Social Call) – After the match, the husband and I had a late-night ice cream date at our favorite place, Screamin’ Mimi’s, which is conveniently located just across the plaza from the Old Main Street Saloon. I enjoyed a small sundae, which I sometimes think I order just to get the amazing house made maraschino cherry that comes on top of it. The husband enjoyed a scoop of his usual, Mimi’s version of mint-chip.
Observation: The first thing you notice when walking into Mimi’s is the amazing and overwhelming scent of freshly made waffle cones, which the shop makes continuously throughout the day. The scent lingered in my hair after leaving the shop!
Errandonnee #5-8: Work or Volunteering, Store, and Personal Business
Distance: 6.7 miles
#5 (Work or Volunteering): Another commute to the downtown bus depot. I left extra early today because I had several errands to run before catching the bus.
Observation: Good to see several other bike commuters out on the streets today.
#6 (Store): I stopped at the Safeway that is on my commute route to purchase a yogurt for breakfast.
Observation: There were a surprising amount of people in the store even though it was a touch before 7 a.m.
#7 & 8 (Personal Business): I continued along my usual route but made two quick stops before arriving at the bus depot. First, I headed to the Post Office. My FasTrak transponder had recently stopped working so FasTrak sent me a new one. I had to mail the old one back to them so that I would not incur a fee for not returning it. After the post-office, I headed over to the the downtown branch of my bank to make a deposit through the ATM.
Observations: I don’t usually have time to make it to the post office during their retail hours, so I was happy that the downtown branch has a self-service kiosk. My bank is next-door to a frequently visited local brewery, Third St. Aleworks. When I passed by, I noticed that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary with the release of their 20th anniversary ale. I made a mental note to stop in soon to sample their special release.
Errandonnee #9-10: Non-store errand
Distance: 1.2 miles
#9 (Non-store errand) – Today, I didn’t have enough time in the morning to throw a lunch together so, when twelve o’clock rolled around, I needed to actually leave my office (a rare occurrence) to obtain food. Since it’s spring break at the University where I work, almost all of the dining venues on campus are closed. The one venue that was open didn’t sound appealing so I headed off campus, just across the street, to a local Korean/sushi joint.
Observation: I got there a bit after noon, expecting the restaurant to be super busy, but was surprised to find that I was the only person there. Must be because the students are gone for the week.
#10 (Non-store errand) – After packing my to-go order in my pannier, I headed across the plaza for a quick stop at a Redbox kiosk to pick up a movie to watch that night. I found several options but settled on Bridge of Spies.
Observation: I don’t usually see many interesting-to-me options in the Redbox, but I was pleasantly surprised to find several movies that I would like to rent. I debated renting more than one movie, but knew that I wouldn’t have time to watch more than the one.
Errandonnee #11: Personal Care
Distance: 0.5 mile
I had an acupuncture appointment after work and not having enough time to get to my appointment after work via my bike, I rode the bus to downtown Santa Rosa from my office and then biked over to my appointment.
Observation: There is no decent bike parking close to my acupuncturist’s office. I had to walk a block over to lock my bike up.
Errandonnee #12: You carried WHAT home on a bike?
After my acupuncture appointment, I headed north to pick up some ravioli for that night’s dinner, before heading home. I stopped at Canevari’s Deli, a Sonoma County institution that’s been churning out fresh made ravioli for over 80 years. I picked up an order of cheese ravioli to accompany the chicken I planned to make for dinner.
Observation: Though it was near closing time when I stopped in, there were several customers ahead of me and many things were already sold out. A testament to the deliciousness that Canevari’s serves up.