Last weekend, on Saturday, since the weather was predicted to be great, I decided to spend the whole day on a ride to some old familiar places and some new ones.
The ride took me south from Tracy with a destination of Carmel Valley Road to the coast and back up Highway 1. Here's an overview of the route:
The fog was predicted to lift around 8:00 and by 8:15 I was out the door and rolling. As the morning continued, the weather continued to warm and clear. It sure didn't seem like the middle of January.
I think all the way from Tracy to Mt. Hamilton I saw only two or three cars. I felt like I really did own the road. Mines Road was beautiful with the green hills. When I got to the Junction Cafe, it was not open yet, so I continued onward to Mt. Hamilton.
Here's a picture from Mt. Hamilton from the Junction side. It's never been that clear whenever I rode up before. I think I could see 7 or 8 sets of rolling hills and I thought I could almost see the ocean.
At the top, I naturally had to stop at the observatory and take in the view. This was the first time that I was the only one at the observatory. I arrived around 10:00 and the only other person there was the lady filling the vending machine on the east observatory entrance.
Here's my bike with the hills in the background:
On the way down the west side, just a few miles down the road was a fellow rider standing beside his bike ( a new looking Aprilla race bike ) parked on the up hill side. He was in kind of a bad spot to be seen by cars coming up the hill and when I gave him the thumbs up, he gave me the thumbs down. So, I turned around to see what I could do to help. It turns out that his throttle cables came loose and he needed some wrenches to get them tightened back up. I had a couple sets with me and between us we got his cables reconnected and he was on his way and I on mine.
Here a pic from the downhill run from Mt. Hamilton:
After refueling at the bottom of Mt. Hamilton, I slabbed down 101 to Gilroy to pick up 25 S.
I ate lunch at Tres Pinos and took a short break to get ready for the rest of the journey. I just love the country side on 25 south of Tres Pinos. It's one of my favorite back roads.
I made a 20 minute HD video of the ride south from Tres Pinos, but I didn't check the resolution setting and it was all recorded at 1024p. This made the file size gargantuan and I can't post it anywhere due to the size. So, here are some collages of the trip south to Bitterwater and then over King City Road to King City.
I was just smiling the whole time just like it was the first time that I had ever ridden as I could not believe how beautiful the day kept becoming.
Leaving King City, I picked up Central Avenue and intersected Carmel Valley Road. This was a new road to me and I can't describe how beautiful it is. With the narrow, twisting road with the overhanging trees and going through the hills it seemed to me to be the best of Patterson Pass, Mines, Mt. Hamilton and Calaveras Road all rolled into one. This is definately a "do not miss" road if ever in the area.
Here's a sampling of the experience on Carmel Valley Road.
I left Carmel Valley Road and took Laurels Grade road and Monterey Salinas road into Del Rey Oaks to pick up 101 north.
Being on the coast in the middle of winter with clear skies, sunshine and 60 degree weather doesn't get any better.
I continued north on Hwy 1 through Santa Cruz and Davenport, headed for La Honda Road to go up the hill to Alices. Just a couple of miles before Pescadero Road, the sun was setting and I saw a rest area called Bean Hollow State Beach. So, I stopped to take some sunset pictures. There were only a couple of people on the beach. With the weather, the sun setting and the waves crashing on the beach it was just like something out of Hollywood. Here are two views of the beach, one to the north and one to the south.
Here's the view to the North.
And then the view to the south:
I don't usually stop to take many pics, but I'm very glad I stopped for this one.
After a brief rest, I continued northward on my route to Alices. I think I arrived at Alices at about 5:30 and there was only one DS bike in the lot. So, I kept going on my way down 84 to Woodside and then down 880, across to 680 and 580 to home.
All in all, it was 11 hours and 430 miles in the saddle before I was done.
I've been riding four years and have ridden 23,000 miles and this day was a new high moment for me in the whole riding experience with the combination of roads, scenery and weather that will be very hard to top.