Today was perfect for cycling the Healdsburg countryside in scout of great vineyards. We only made it 8.5 miles. Seems we were waylaid shortly after the first tasting at Merriam Vineyards. The wines were delicious and soon we were in a gay mood. It was a gorgeous blue sky day and the green rows of the magical vines contrasted with the brown rolling hills. A cool breeze gave us comfort. The tasting rooms were surrounded by massive floral gardens and the aroma of roses was pervasive. Inside, the smell of sweet wine soaked oak casks penetrated throughout. We visited only three wineries: Merriam,Christopher Creek, and Rodney Strong. Christopher Creek is a very small and humble winery that produces only a few thousand cases of wine a year-but these wines are exceptional in taste. That's the beauty of randomly visiting the various vineyards-one stumbles upon his own special treat. Of course the wine stewards are masters of the gab and guide your tasting experience with precision. Merriam is larger but still very small and sells only to restaurants and fine wine distributors. They make excellent red wines full of body and complexity. Rodney Strong is a very large and well known Vintner whose wines are sold through out the U.S. They have a massive facility and produce some excellent red wines at reasonable prices. Well, by this time we were famished and loaded the bikes upon our car and drove rapidly to the quaint town of Healdsburg. The heart of the old city surrounds a beautiful square park containing some giant redwoods. We ate at Bistro Ralph. This was a quaint little storefront which served fabulous food. Barb had chicken livers and finished every morsel. Bill had a lamb burger with a "thousand fries". Nancy and I had Salmon salads over fennel and watercress. We also had grilled asparagus and spinach. The ladies then attacked the shops with a vengeance while Bill and I retreated to the bookstores. Everyone now content, we rumbled back to our RV park.

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