Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Village Chat: 02/15/2019

Village Chat for Feb. 15, 2019

oliver cannard
Oliver Cannard in Virginia – the end of the road.

Imagine getting on your bicycle this afternoon and riding around Kenwood and then out onto Highway 12 and then just keep riding, and riding, until you get to Levi Stadium in Santa Clara - about 100 miles away. That's just what Oliver Cannard did last summer, almost every day for about two and a half months, when he rode his bike across the United States from Oregon to Virginia, after graduating from Sonoma Valley High School.

On Feb. 12, Oliver, son of Tom and Julie Cannard, and a 2011 Kenwood School graduate, returned to his old elementary school to share his experience with the current students. Oliver, 18, was a recreational cyclist in high school, but decided to take on a serious challenge after seeing a documentary on Netflix Inspired to Ride, about the Trans Am Bike Race, a cycling race where winners cross the continent in 16 days, an average of 200 to 300 miles a day. Oliver was inspired not to race, but to ride the same route, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky.

After about a year of preparation and planning, he set out from Astoria, Oregon, in June and began riding east, averaging 80 to 100 miles a day on an 18-pound bike loaded with about 30 pounds of gear. Oliver did the trip solo, but he met many people along the way, both people who opened their homes to provide a cyclist a warm shower or a meal, and people riding the same route as he was. He ended in Yorktown, Virginia, on Oct. 7, after a total of 4,300 miles, with only one serious mishap. In Missouri, with 1,500 miles to go, Oliver was attacked by three dogs and suffered severe puncture wounds on his leg, which forced him to fly home for medical attention. After four weeks off the bike, he shipped all his gear back and picked up where he left off.

His timing couldn't have been worse when he got to Kentucky, just as the state was hit with the remnants of Hurricane Florence, so Oliver rode for five days through “brutal” rain, the worst weather of the trip. The best part of his trip? Riding through the Rockies - including Hoosier Pass at 11,542 feet - and the people he met and who opened their homes along the way.

Oliver is now back in Sonoma, working at Anderson Tree Service. He'd like to go into law enforcement and is trying to decide between going into the military, or continuing with college this fall. And this summer he plans to spend a few weeks 4-wheeling on the dirt roads of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

The Benward / Krause clan in the Sahara
The Beltane Ranch family - matriarch Alexa Wood, her children Lauren Benward Krause and husband Steven Krause, along with their children Carlos and Drake, and Alex Benward and his girlfriend Kelly Koeberer - went on an “inspiration trip” to Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Lauren posted about the trip on Beltane's Facebook page:

“For years our family has dreamed of a sort of ranch sabbatical… An opportunity to experience dramatically inspiring places (both completely different and abstractly related to what we do at home). We hiked centuries-old, hand-built, stone-terraced vineyards, trekked through olive orchards as far as the eye can see, tasted an incredible range of European and North African heritage vineyard wines, enjoyed delicious meals from street carts, desert nomads, grandmothers, and chef luminaries… and stayed in 12 different independently-owned and operated small inns, including a painstakingly restored Riad from the 15th century, a pioneering winery-hotel given to an aristocrat as a christening present in 1906, and a luxury Sahara Desert tent camp. The design, history, heritage and scenery were extraordinary, but it was the warmth, hospitality and spirit of the people that made the trip… A huge thank you to our mom, Alexa Wood for making this life-changing journey possible.”

Lauren has a long list of highlights, number one, of course, the people, plus trekking the Sahara on camels, how incredibly fresh and delicious all the food was, picnicking amongst centuries-old vines planted on hand-built stone terraces overlooking the Douro River in Portugal, navigating the narrow passageways of Fes, built in the 8th century (largest car-free urban area on the world, everything transported by donkey cart), olive orchards and tiny family farms - many farmed by hand, donkey or mule, artisans of all kinds working in open-air markets, rug and spice shopping in Marrakesh.

She also posted lots of pictures on Instagram, and since most of them were taken by Steven, who is a very talented photographer, they were wonderful and inspiring… just what an inspiration trip should be!

Jean-Michel Poulnot
Jean-Michel Poulnot enjoying his ride in Santiago de Cuba.
Jean-Michel Poulnot went on a cruise to Cuba with his girlfriend recently and sent a few snaps with the Kenwood Press, including one in Santiago de Cuba with a vintage 1953 Chevrolet. Thank you! Jean-Michel wrote, “We had a very nice tour of Santiago in it, including a stop at the bar that makes the best mojitos (NY Times had an article about it recently). We also spent three days in Havana, went to Vinales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. We loved Cuba, a place truly frozen in time. It would be interesting to see how it changes in the next decade or so.”

Bill McNamara (far left) at Quarryhill, doing what he does best, educating people about plants.
Around 60 people signed on for the Lunar New Year walk (it's the Year of the Pig) at Quarryhill Botanical Garden on Feb. 5. Quarryhill's executive director and legendary horticulturalist and plant conservationist Bill McNamara is retiring in October, and people obviously wanted a chance to hear him talk about the rare and beautiful Asian plants at Quarryhill. It was a perfect day for it, too. If you haven't been to Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen, you should definitely make a point of going there this spring when everything is in bloom. It's magical. Check out

It snowed here last week! Thank you, everyone around here who sent us pictures. We so appreciate it. And we love hearing about everyone's travel adventures and other news. Please send more! It's easy to do. Just email, or call 833-5155 and chat me up! - AQP


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