Posts Tagged ‘Sonoma County Events’

The Vineman

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

About 2,000 athletes participated in the Vineman, which included a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run last weekend July 19, 2009

It was an extremely warm day, with runners talking about being ‘cooked’, and marred by a falling oak tree which injured some cyclists.  The event is huge, drawing participants from all areas of the state and country.  For entry form and info, see:

For those interested in the course, please see below, and if you need lodging for next year, please see for some great choices.

Race Course

Swim Course Details:

The Vineman Ironman 70.3 swim is staged at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville, California. The swim takes place in the Russian River. Groups of 75-150 swimmers at a time will start in 8 minute intervals beginning at 6:30 A.M. Water temperatures should be between 72 and 74 degrees; wetsuits will be allowed as this falls within USA Triathlon guidelines.

The swim course is an out & back course which starts in front of the dam at Johnson’s Beach and proceeds upstream stream to the turn-around point. Swimmers will keep the swim buoys on their left-hand side for the entire swim. A neutral area, which is marked with buoys, where there are no swimmers will separate the swimmers on the outbound and return legs of the swim. The swim course, which averages between 4 and 7 feet in depth, will be monitored by lifeguards in kayaks. The swim course will remain open for one hour and 15 minutes after the last wave of swimmers begins. Click here for the course map.

Between the Russian River being dammed in a number of locations near Guerneville and the fact that it almost never rains in Sonoma County between June 1st and October 15th, there is very little current in the river during this time period. Under typical conditions, a 25-minute mile swimmer should expect it to take about one minute longer to make it to the turn-around point (swimming against the stream) than it would to return back to the swim finish from the turn-around (swimming with the current.)

The dam at Johnson’s Beach is a seasonal dam which is up only in the summer months. The dam is scheduled to be in place by June 20th and will remain in the river until after Labor Day.

Johnson’s Beach has been a favorite summertime spot in Sonoma County for decades. The beauty of the redwoods which line the banks of the Russian River, the serenity of the flowing river, and the down-to-earth people who run Johnson’s Beach and Resort make it a truly special place. The concession stand at Johnson’s Beach is open daily and is famous for its giant draft beers and its fresh grilled hamburgers.

Bike Course Details:

The bike portion of the Vineman Ironman 70.3 is simply a great course. It is challenging, but not too difficult. Its many rolling hills and curves are technically demanding. It has 1600 feet of climbing, a 385 foot climb on Chalk Hill, which is enough of a challenge because of the location. Its comes at 45 miles into the ride to keep you honest in your training and rave pacing. But most of all the course is extremely beautiful, passing endless miles of vineyards and dozens of wineries.

The bike begins at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville and finishes at Windsor High School (approximately 15 miles away from its starting point). Aid stations are located at mile 18, 29, 40 and will be serving water, Gatorade Endurance Formula, and PowerBars. NOTE: Gatorade Endurance Formula contains a unique five-electrolyte blend including nearly twice the sodium (200mg) and three times the potassium (90mg) of Gatorade Thirst Quencher as well as calcium, magnesium, and chloride to help you better replace what you lose in sweat during longer and more intense active occasions.

The gently rolling hills are challenging, but not overwhelming. The roads are lightly traveled and will be intensely marshaled by USAT officials.

Air temperatures generally range from the low-to-mid 50s early in the morning to daytime highs between 80 and 95 degrees.

Bike Course Turn by Turn Description:

Click here for the course map

Cyclists leave Guerneville on River Road heading east (toward Highway 101) and proceed 5 miles to Sunset Avenue
– RIGHT on to Sunset & underneath River Road
– RIGHT on to Westside Road
– LEFT on to Kinley Road
– LEFT on to Dry Creek Road
– RIGHT on to Canyon Road
– RIGHT on to CA 128 into Geyserville
– LEFT to stay on CA 128 in Geyserville
– RIGHT on to Chalk Hill Road
– LEFT on to Pleasant Road which turns into Faught Road
– RIGHT on to Shiloh Rd
– LEFT on to Old Redwood HWY
– RIGHT on to Fulton Rd
– RIGHT on to Airpoort Boulevard
– RIGHT on to Skylane Boulevard
– LEFT on to Shiloh Road
– RIGHT on to Windsor Road to Windsor High School
Cyclists will TURN LEFT to enter the south parking lot at Windsor High School to finish the bike portion of the event. The transition area will be located on the grassy field behind the school.

Run Course Details:

The Vineman Ironman 70.3 13.1 mile run course starts and finishes at Windsor High School. Aid stations are located approximately each mile on the run course and will be serving: Gatorade Endurance Formula, water, cola, PowerBar Gel, assorted fruit, & cookies

The run course starts at Windsor High School and takes athletes to the La Crema Winery on an out and back course. The run course will be open for eight hours after the last wave of swimmers begins.

Run Course Turn by Turn Directions:

This is an out and back course. The run will start behind Windsor High School and exit the school at the south entrance turning:
RIGHT on Windsor Rd.
RIGHT on Reiman Rd.
LEFT on Starr Road
LEFT on to Markwest Station Road
RIGHT on to Slusser Road
LEFT on to Laughlin Road which you will follow to the entrance of the La Crema Winery where you will enter the La Crema winery and complete a loop on their property. From this point the runners will follow the same course back to the High School. The finish line is located behind the school on the large grassy field.
The swim takes place in the Russian River, the • A falling oak tree injured three riders, including one man who broke his back, delaying the race for at least 15 minutes.
• Some areas of Sonoma County topped 100 degrees Sunday. One participant said of the final leg: “The run just cooked you.”


Thursday, July 16th, 2009

This is for vacation rental guests, or those guests considering vacation rental.

A vacation rental home is not a place to hold an event, such as wedding, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, after reception get together, bachelor/bachelorette party, et cetera.  A home is just that — a place to sleep, eat, talk, sit, play and congregate for the, and this is important — FOR THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THE HOME ACCOMMODATES on an overnight basis.

It’s precisely the abuse of this definition that has the Sonoma County Planning, Permit and Resources Department considering language to restrict vacation rentals.  The Board of supervisors have heard, loud and very clearly, from neighbors who are tired of the excess # of cars, trash and noise in their neighborhoods from the abuse of vacation rental accommodations.

When you rent a vacation home:

1.  Only the # of guests that the home accommodates are allowed on the premises.  Any excess, without prior written consent of either the management or owner is a violation and illegal.  You could be asked to immediately vacate the premises,  and lose any security deposit that you have;

2.  Most homes have neighbors, and whether the neighbors are 50 feet away or 5 acres away, sound carries.  Be respectful that you are renting a home in an area that they live full time.  They don’t come home to relax on the weekend to have to put up with excessive noise and nuisance.  Again, this can and should result in loss of security deposit and your vacating the premises.

3.  Trash is to be put in garbage cans.  If you have excessive trash, it needs to be bagged and kept in a garage or inside the gates/fence so that it’s not an eyesore and that animals don’t get into it — most homes are in the country and exposed to opossums, raccoons, rats, and other critters that love to tear into garbage.

4.  Cars — Our contracts stipulate that only the # of cars registered to the overnight guests shall be allowed at the property.  Again, if there are more, this is a violation.  Please be considerate of neighbors’ right of way!  They have to go back and forth from and to their homes — they’re not on vacation.  You wouldn’t like them clogging up your neighborhood with their friends, please give them the same consideration.

Recyling Guide

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Here are some tips from your local trash removal service:

Paper and cardboard:  flatten or cut boxes to fit loosely inside cart/container. Place shredded paper in clear or paper bag.  OK = White & colored paper, office paper & junk mail, newspaper, magazines & catalogs, cereal & shoe boxes, corrugated card board.  Not OK = napkins, towels, tissues, food-contaminated paper, pizza boxes, photographs or blueprint paper, waxed cardboard or paper.

Milk Cartons and Juice/Rice/Soy boxes:  Ok = milk cartons and drink boxes, not ok= plastic lined cartons, straws or pop tops.

Glass Bottles & Jars:  Removed caps & tops, empty before recycling.  OK= clear & colored glass, Food & beverage jars. Not OK= window or mirror glass, ceramic, dishes or stemware.

Plastic containers:  Wash & squash, remove caps, empty before recycling.  OK= plastic containers, milk & water jugs, soda & juice bottles, Yogurt & deli tubs. Not OK= plastic caps, Styrofoam.

Metal Cans:  Wash & squash, leave labels on, empty before recycling.  OK= aluminum cans, steel & tin cans, bimetal cans, empty paint/aerosol cans. Not OK = plastic caps, styrofoam

Hope that helps!

Economic forecast sees recovery

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Reasons for hope are emerging and there are indications that things will get better amid a number of challenges that will remain for years to come.  These were the conclusions reached by Ben Stone, Sonoma County Econmic Development Board executive director and Steven Cochrane, PhD, an economist and managing director with Moody’s  “The worst is over, but there won’t be an immediate turnaround.  Signs of stability are emerging and some corrections will be made.  Nationally, the feeling is not panic any longer.”

Written by Gary Quackenbush, Business Journal

More positive news in Sonoma County

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Electrical wholesale Graybar leases space (by Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff Reporter)

One of NOrth America’s largest wholesale distributors of electrical, communications and networking products plans to open its first North Bay location here in August.  Graybar Electric Co., Inc. leaased 13,220 sq. feet at 237 Todd Road on June 2 after scouting locations since last fall.  Graybar has more than 220 locations in the US, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rica, and has five locations in the Bay Area.

Sonoma County Jobs

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Some positive news — all we hear are layoffs, no credit, no spending and consumer confidence is down.  Here are some of the positives on which the press is not so quick to report:

Tri Vascular2 re-emerges with staf of 150 (reported by Loralee Steves, North Bay Business Journal) — the medical device maker has 150 employees now and will add another 20 before the year is out — a tribute to the belief its founders, workers and investors have in the products under development there.

Airport readies for terminal improvements (by Loralee Stevesn, North Bay Business Journal) The Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport is getting ready for a major facelift, thanks to funds coming from 2 difference sources totaling more than 3.3 million….a baggage claim system…main terminal will be connected to the screening area and security checking will be relocated in the new space, freeing up space for 2 more checkin counters for 4 more agents.

Sonoma County Vacation Rental Restrictions

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Our last blog about the potential restrictions of vacation rentals in Sonoma County highlighted complaints, supervisor involvement and business practices by owners.  As guests, you can do your part to calm down this volatile situation by following a general code of conduct such as being respectful of neighbors, no loud music or amplified music played outdoors, observing quiet time after 10 p.m. and so on.  The Sonoma County Task Force, endorsed by the Sonoma County Lodging Association, has put together a Code of Conduct for both property owners and guests to help keep vacation rentals as a viable lodging alternative.

Here is the Guest  Code of Conduct:
We suggest that you incorporate a code of conduct for your guests in your rental contract to avoid problems with neighbors.  Please note that parties, events, and weddings require a special use permit from the county, but unless your rental is very remote it is a good idea to prohibit them rather than obtain the permit.

Code of Conduct for Vacation Rental Guests
This home has graciously been made available for you enjoy the peace, tranquility and beauty of the neighborhood. Please bear in mind that you are staying in a residential area. We trust that you will show courtesy and respect to the neighbors and conduct yourself in a manner in keeping with the neighborhood practices and local ordinances.
1.    Maximum occupancy:  The maximum overnight occupancy of this residence is limited to the number specified in your rental agreement. Sleeping bags, air- beds, tents, and cots are not allowed.
2.    Number of people allowed on the property:  The number of people allowed on the property at any given time may not exceed the overnight occupancy without prior permission. The County has strict ordinances regarding parties, events and weddings at vacation rental homes.  If you violate this policy, the penalty specified in your rental agreement will be applied.
3.    Parking:   Please do not exceed the available parking spaces provided for the property.  Do not block neighboring driveways.  Please maintain access for emergency vehicles at all times.
5.    Speed limits:   Please observe and obey all local speed limits; drive no more than 5-10 mph on private or shared private access roads.
6.    Amplified Music and Outside Noise:  All outside music and outside noise must stop between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. Please be aware that noise from loud voices, laughing, and general socializing travels in this area and results in neighborhood disturbances. Please move outdoor conversations and activities indoors after 10:00 pm. The spa may be used after 10:00 p.m. provided that voices are kept to a minimum.
7.    Respond to all noise complaints:  Please respond to ANY request, even if it appears to be unreasonable, by a neighbor, owner of this property, law enforcement or private security firm. Please contact the owner immediately if you are contacted by a neighbor or the sheriff’s office with a complaint.
8.    Trespassing:  Please do not trespass on neighboring properties.
9.    Garbage:  Please recycle all garbage. Failure to recycle will result in additional charges. Garbage must be limited to the available garbage cans. Please call the owner to arrange for removal of excess garbage. Under no circumstances may you place garbage in the garbage cans throughout the neighborhood or leave it in bags where animals are likely to rummage.
10.    Energy and Water Consumption:  Please conserve the use of water and energy.  Use “green habits” to turn off lights and appliances when not in use and to avoid wasting water.  Excessive use of water and/or energy may subject you to an energy or water use surcharge.
11.    Smoking and fires:  Smoking is not allowed inside the house and is allowed only in designated outdoor areas.  Fireworks in the house or on the property are prohibited. Please be aware that there is severe fire danger in this area, particularly during June-November.
12.    Dogs:  If your rental agreement approves of a specified dog or dogs, please make sure you clean up after the dog, that you do not leave the dog alone in the house to bark or do damage, that you confine the dog to the property you have rented, and that you keep the dog on leash off the property.

We believe that if you and your guests comply with these common sense rules, your stay will be peaceful, relaxing and fun.  Our  neighbors have been provided with a copy of these rules and will report violations if they occur. If there are any violations, please be aware that enforcement is mandatory and you will be subject to immediate eviction, forfeiture of your security deposit, and/or other significant fines and penalties.  Thank you for your anticipated understanding and cooperation.

Put Yourself in Someone Else’ Shoes

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

It’s not uncommon today to be quick to judge, complain, and voice our opinions of the lack of service we feel we should get.

Please take a moment to put yourself in someone else’s  shoes.  In the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen Covey, he talks about a story of a man taking the bus home with his 2 children.  The children are becoming more and more noisey, and in fact become quite a nuisance.  Finally a man speaks up to him and says “can’t you do something about your kids?”  The father says “Yes, I suppose I should, but their mother just passed away.  We’re coming back from the hospital and they don’t know how to take it.”

Doesn’t this story put a whole different perspective on an inconvenience?

We just experienced someone who ‘yelped’ one of our staff because of what they felt to be a lack of professionalism or service.  In fact this employee is very genuine, good hearted and patient.  This employee can get confused when presented with too many options, or when a potential guest or tenant doesn’t know what they want and are needing a deep level of service.  This person tries very hard, and processes information slower than average.

We expect people to be ‘right on the ball’ and move as quickly as we do, and when it doesn’t happen we get impatient and angry.

Remember that the person with whom you’re dealing may have had head injury, trauma from the war, or just a very bad day.  Let’s try and remember we’re all part of this together, and have a little patience when the car in front of you, driven by an older couple, doesn’t go as fast as you think they should.  Isn’t life too short for all that anger?

Sonoma County Vacation Regulations

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

This is one of several updates to all guests in all areas considering vacation rental stays in Sonoma County.  The PRMD department (permits) is making moves to make vacation rentals restricted and we believe eventually illegal in Sonoma County.  This means a traveler’s choice is limited to B & B’s, hotels, campgrounds and RV parks — no more houses — a real limitation for families.

At the root of this movement is Sonoma Valley, which has two sensative areas, one on Hoff Road and the other in Sobre Vista.  Apparently the noise and complaints were so out of hand that Supervisor Valerie Brown was called at night with complaints from the neighbors.  Upon looking into this further, however you will find hyper sensitive neighbors, blocking driveways, screaming at guests, and even installing security cameras to ‘catch’ illegal activity (not drugs mind your or not noisey parties, but things like excess vehicles, swimming in the pool after 10 p.m. and other ‘offenses’ along this venue).  One neighbor even complained to the Board of Supervisors about a wedding coming up in a month with 100 people and invited them to come look.  It turned out that the wedding was an owners best friend, not even a vacation rental guest.

The Press Democrat published an article on vacation rentals which sung the praises of these complaints, and painted a picture of out of control parties, weddings, events, thievery, etc.  This simply isn’t true.  Of over 800 noise complaints in all of Sonoma County (not just vacation rentals, but ALL noise complaints), only 30 were in sonoma valley, and almost none in the coastal or river areas.  That’s for a whole year mind you, and of those, a handful were for vacation rental.

Homes that are managed well either by a mangement company like Healsburg Property Management or Sonoma County Vacations, or a single homeowner who is actively involved with their rental typically do not have the problem, rather it’s the owner who throws up their product on VRBO and let it rip!

We are working with the board of supervisors and the tot board, and the PRMD and have established a code of conduct for both vacation rental guests and owners, to respect quiet time, neighbors, cars parked in the area, trash pick up, etc.  In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had theft at the home or in the area, and our guests have quieted down when called.  Generally it’s first night excitement in being all together, not to be unruley or difficult to neighbors.

It’s further been discussed that folks come from out of the area and don’t give a damn what they do when they’re here.  That’s simply not true.  As a rule of thumb we’ve not only had respectful guests, but they’ve often participated in charity events, come to live here, helped support our communities financially and even bought a 2nd home themselves.

Please write the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and explain how you’ve handled yourselves during past stays, taken care of the home, been respectful of the neighbors, etc.  If you don’t want to see vacation rentals go away, it’s very important!!!  The Supervisors do listen!

Very Dog-Friendly, Sonoma County

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Will you be visiting Sonoma County soon, and you don’t want to leave your four-legged best friend behind? No problem!

Various establishments in Sonoma County understand you and your dog’s needs, and there are plenty of activities within the county that are dog friendly. I certainly understand how hard it is to leave your pet dog home alone, as I am a dog owner as well. I understand how important it is to be able to include your pet dog in your plans, and we’d like to share a few options you might like to consider as you head up to Sonoma County…

There are a number of dog-friendly wineries. A few wineries out here have canine companions to greet guests with a big smile as they arrive! These friendly creatures will charm you with their cute and friendly demeanor, and all they ask is that you enjoy your stay at their humble abode! If you will be in the Healdsburg area, we highly recommend that you visit Foppiano Vineyards, Forth Vineyards, Mutt Lynch Winery and Lambert Bridge Winery. There’s a wonderful picnic area with umbrellas at Lambert Bridge Winery, so don’t forget to bring food and a few treats for your doggy!

If you would like to dine at Healdsburg Plaza, there are a few restaurants that will allow you to bring your pet dog with you as long as you dine in their outdoor area. Sitting at the outdoor area is ideal when it’s sunny, and it’s a great way to experience and appreciate the beauty of this small town. There are always a lot of people walking their dogs at the plaza, so your pet will surely make a friend or two.

If you would just like to take your dog to the park, The Sonoma County Regional Parks Department allows dogs in all the county’s parks, excluding Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach, Spring Lake Regional Park and the hiking trails at Shiloh Regional Park. Just a reminder, your pets must always be on a leash for safety, and please don’t forget to pick up after them as well.

Lastly, we do have several vacation home rentals that can accommodate your pet, so please check with our Healdsburg Property Mgmt. and/or Sonoma County Vacations reservations/sales team for more information and details.


Hope to see you all soon…Enjoy!