Ride Recap: Tour of Lamorinda to the Creekside Grill

Boy, that was a hard ride!

Talk about being a lazy bastard, this ride started and ended near our house, went down a multi-use trail I use several times a week, and traveled streets I’ve done so frequently I could probably do them blindfolded. Ah, but there was one twist: despite having lived near Rossmoor for 16 years and having friends live there (including the Den Daddy) I have cycled on its roads exactly once before. Until this ride. So now it’s twice! Last year we did a Social A ride that ended up at an excellent restaurant in Lafayette. Unfortunately the rest of the world had also discovered this fact and not wanting to wait an hour for a table, at Derek’s suggestion we rolled over to nearby Rossmoor, where he lives, to have lunch at its Creekside Grill. That was a good move because it was not crowded at all, had delicious food and a fawning staff used to catering to an obviously entitled elderly crowd (a demographic that I have immediately adjusted to with glee now that I have a Senior Clippercard). We had a memorable al fresco lunch on their pleasant outdoor patio next to a stream, hence the eponym.

I’ve always wanted to go back and thus this ride. Although I still occasionally like to turn a pedal ‘in anger’ as Phil Liggett says, I saw the light many years ago in Italy where every cyclist stops for a REAL lunch—I mean like a three or four course lunch that lasts at least an hour and a half—and I always look forward to a delicious repast mid-ride these days. (And no, I’m not talking about going to Subway!) Clif bars will do in a pinch but a good ride has an excellent food stop where one can enjoy a proper meal. So it is with the Creekside Grill.

Roger Sayre and Bill Knudsen joined Roger and me although they had no inkling that the central highlight of the day was going to be lunch. Nonetheless we sauntered out to Moraga to catch the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail, an excellent rails-to-trails path. Everybody had the right frame of mind and we headed out at a B pace chatting away. Down the path we went and because it was a Saturday morning there were plenty of peds, doggers, and kiddies along the way, all the more reason to keep the pace al piano all the way to Walnut Creek and thence to Rossmoor.

You are probably thinking, “Isn’t Rossmoor a gated community?” Why, yes it is! If you approach in a car, you will be accosted at the security gate and asked whom you are visiting. But if you arrive á bicyclette you do not need to be subjected to such indignities. So we rolled right through with nary a glance from the guards and made our way to the Creekside Grill. You may be wondering what Rossmoor is like. Well, let’s just say the association fees are well spent: it’s manicured to the nth degree with a lovely greenway heading up to the nearby hills. The Den Daddy and I had agreed he would meet us for lunch. But when I phoned, he was in Santa Barbara enjoying a warm, sunny day in his hometown! So Bill and Roger would not get the spiel from him on how delightful it is at Rossmoor, how there’s a fabulous LGBT group, a cycling group as well, how politically left the Democratic club is, etc.

This time the Grill was hopping but fortunately we scored a table in the bar and did not have to wait. We were quite hungry despite having done an easy jaunt. I hadn’t had breakfast and apparently neither had Bill who while riding prated on and on about donuts and where the nearest confectionary might be. Despite the chasms in our stomachs we were quite demure in ordering: both Bill and Roger S had the Creekside Sirloin Burger while Roger H had the Rossmoor Reuben and got my fave, the Riviera Charbroiled Chicken Breast Sandwich. It was all delish and even their French fries were not at all run-of-the-mill and were pleasantly crisp and crunchy. Lunch was of course occupied with idle, pointless conversation. But most of it revolved upon Bill’s imminent departure to explore the country by—gasp!—RV. Ever the trendsetter Bill has gone “tiny house” on us and deserting Wanderson to follow his Wanderlust. But he’s taking his bikes with him so he can ride with LGBT cycling clubs all around the US!

After a long lunch Bill popped a front spoke in the parking lot and after much consternation and discussion we headed off back to Orinda anyway. Bill made it fine even with a slightly bum front wheel.