Archive for the ‘Weekly photo’ Category

Mushroom Ride Yields Fungi

December 9, 2012

Alpine Road at the tight turn at Alpine Ranch. Click on image for full size.

Alpine Road at the tight turn at Alpine Ranch. Click on image for full size.


What’s with the mushroom season this year? I haven’t found anything, until now. It wasn’t much. What’s odd is I found chanterelles in a place where I usually don’t find anything. Places that usually yield are barren.

We haven’t had much rain until the past week, so while our annual rainfall looks good, rain days are limited.

If you noticed your Comcast Internet and phone was out in southwest Sunnyvale, it’s because a telephone pole was smashed to kindling on Homestead Road near Wright Avenue. I didn’t see the vehicle that did it, but it must have been a mess.

Chanterelle harvest today. No laws were broken while harvesting these mushrooms.

Chanterelle harvest today. No laws were broken while harvesting these mushrooms.

Photo of the Week

November 24, 2012

Montebello Road summit with serpentine outcropping looking west. From here you can see San Francisco. Click on photo for full size.

On my ride up Montebello Road from Cupertino I took Stevens Creek Boulevard to check out the green bike lane. It’s striking. This is a particularly difficult intersection for bikes just west of the Lawrence Expressway as cars maneuver to take the 280 on-ramp. Bikes have to stay left, so the green bike lane serves its purpose. Great work.

Montebello Road is in excellent shape. It has its share of gravel, compared to years gone by, but there are fewer ruts, so it’s a trade-off.

Stevens Creek Boulevard near Lawrence Expressway sports a green bike lane that motorists can’t miss.

Turning Over a New Leaf

November 18, 2012

Broadleaf maple hitches a ride on my handlebars.

One wonders what it is about the Broadleaf maple that makes it have such big leaves? Is it genetically gifted? Or is it just being a show-off?

This leads me to a somewhat tenuous segue into the world of legal stimulants and whether or not they’re dangerous. Maybe so. The popular 5-Hour Energy drink has come under suspicion as some 13 people have died from taking the drink and 33 were hospitalized over the last four years. It could be a statistical coincidence, or there could be some validity.

While professional athletes will stop at almost nothing to get the winning edge, even weekend warriors have a compulsion to try all kinds of energy foods and drinks. I’ve eaten a yummy and easily digested gummy with caffeine and I’ve got to say I felt a difference. I rode stronger and felt better.

I wish I could feel that way just by eating a bowl of steel-cut oats, but I can’t. I know because I eat oats all the time. You shouldn’t be worried about taking something that’s the equivalent of a cup or two of coffee, but beyond that there could be complications.

As with all quick fixes in life, there are usually negative effects in the long run or I should say, the long ride.

As you’re riding up Redwood Gulch Road, just remember this photo. It looks so flat.

Photo of the Week

November 5, 2012

Brian Cox enjoys a secluded road in the Santa Cruz Mountains following Kings Creek. I can imagine this area saw its share of logging in the 1800s but you’d never know it today, unless you were looking for old-growth redwoods. Spectacular weather once again.

Photo of the Week

October 21, 2012

What does 23 percent look like through a camera lens? Not so steep. Approach to the Haul Road in Portola State Park.

So many road improvements this year. The Haul Road out of Portola State Park couldn’t be better. All that ballast dumped over the years has sunk in and now it’s fun riding.

Old La Honda Road (west) has been showing signs of wear, but now there’s a nicely done tar and gravel coating and in a few more weeks all the gravel will be gone.

Old La Honda Road (east) is looking good too. The entire length has new or fairly new pavement. That’s a big change from the 1980s.

Finally, Mt. Hamilton Road has also been receiving some attention and many bumpy parts have been resurfaced.

Work has been completed on the bridge at Sanborn Road on Hwy 9. All in all, a banner year for road maintenance.

Cambria Bicycle Outfitter Has Halloween Spirits

October 18, 2012

Cambria, California, has a lot going for it in addition to being the closest town to Hearst Castle in beauitful Big Sur. It’s home to artists and artisans, drawn to the bohemian lifestyle the town offers.

On a recent visit in October, with Halloween just around the corner, these creative types went to work building whimsical people and creatures from paper mache and other materials.

Leave it to Cambria Bicycle Outfitter to come up with a creative display that, in my humble opinion, tops the rest. We have skeletons, Snoopy, surfers and more pedaling away under the morning sun. Enjoy.

It says “Bury me with my bike,” a sentiment shared by many a cyclist. Seen in Cambria, California.

49ers Stadium Taking Shape

October 14, 2012

San Francisco 49ers stadium in Santa Clara right off San Tomas Aquino Creek trail is taking shape at a rapid pace. Still, it’s not set to open until the 2014 football season.

I’ve warned about riding on the bayland levees after a rain or in a heavy fog, and now I’ll show you why. I haven’t made this mistake for 25 years. I started out from Alviso where the ground was relatively firm after a few days of light rain. However, farther along on the levee about a mile out things changed for the worse.

Within seconds my rear wheel jammed with thick, sticky mud. It’s the kind of mud that literally locks your wheel so it becomes difficult to ride. A mountain bike or cross bike would have fared better, but it would still be a tough slog.

Time to cut losses and beat a hasty retreat on the Alviso baylands trail. I had to stop and clear the mud with a screwdriver.

Butano Fire Road Airport Open for Business

October 7, 2012

Butano Fire Road Airport atop a ridge overlooking Butano State Park offers few amenities. You can see the control tower in the distance, looking north.


After an eight-year absence I finally made it out to Butano Fire Road to check out the newly improved airport, which now has a solar-powered control tower. Over the past 30 years my visits to the airport with Jobst Brandt and riders always made for interesting discussions as we stopped to enjoy a soda in the airport waiting area. It’s a bit spartan here to say the least — no seating, no food service, no restrooms, no people movers.

Oh, and no traffic. You’d think the Half Moon Bay airport could work out a deal and transport hikers to the airport rather than making them hike a million miles from Butano State Park. It’s not a paved runway, but a small airplane would have no problem.

I saw dirt aplenty today. There’s the mile of China Grade that’s dirt and then there’s another nine miles on Butano Fire Road. The only longer point-to-point route in the area is Aptos Creek Fire Road and Buzzard Lagoon, which goes for 12 miles on dirt.

Over the years the road has become perfectly OK to use as most of it is now in Butano State Park. I saw no logging activity, although it may still take place from time to time.

One of the nice features of the road is that it’s mostly downhill, with only three steep (11 percent) but short climbs worthy of note. That’s not to say you can’t ride up from Cloverdale. I did that once. Despite being a long climb, there are some nasty steep spots of 15 percent. I decided that was one memorable experience I didn’t need to repeat.

Conditions vary but today with the exception of the occasional sandy spot it was perfect. In 30 years the road has remained a gem for cycling and due to its remote location, it will probably stay that way.

Butano Fire Road extends from China Grade to Cloverdale Road. It’s a long nine-mile downhill — a great way to work muscles you didn’t know you had.

Photo of the Week

September 23, 2012

Burrell Vineyards and Winery occupies a knoll overlooking Summit Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


Today’s history lesson is about Burrell School in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Summit Road. It opened in 1877. However, the building you see today is not the original. It burned in a grass fire in 1899 and was rebuilt.

It looks like it closed around 1954 and was sold. Dave and Anne Moulton bought it in 1973 and opened the current Burrell School Vineyards and Winery. They have whimsical names for their wines: Teacher’s Pet Chardonnay, Schoolyard Petite Sirah, Detention Red Zinfandel, etc.

As I returned on Schulties Road, the long suffering dirt road does see maintenance. County work crews shored up two sags in the road with substantial lumber construction.

It won’t be long before the harvest begins at vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Squish, squish.

Greer Road Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Location

September 9, 2012

Greer Road in Woodside connects with the road through Huddart Park.


Most cyclists heading up Kings Mountain Road pass Greer Road and never give it a second thought. Besides, it’s a dead-end road. Not really.

Greer Road is the gateway to the back entrance of Huddart Park, open only to bikes, walkers, equestrians. But there’s more. Every time I ride here I get the feeling I’m taking a step back in time, a place in our history when loggers ruled. I can hear the sawmills buzzing.

Just to the right of the road there’s a small stream, West Union, Creek, fed by the intermittent waters from McGarvey Gulch, Tripp Gulch and Squealer Gulch. In the 1850s the loggers found a bounty of redwoods. With easy access, these were the first redwoods cut as loggers slowly made their way up to Skyline and down the other side.

No less than 10 sawmills occupied the land along West Union Creek and in the nearby gulches higher up. One was owned by Willard Whipple. Of course today his legacy lives on as Whipple Avenue in Redwood City. John Greer owned another mill.

And guess who profited from the loggers? R.O. Tripp and Mathias Parkhurst built a store at the corner of Kings Mountain Road and Tripp Road. Tripp also pulled teeth. The historic Woodside Store still stands, and today it’s probably in better shape than when it was built in 1854.

No road story would be complete without a mention of past Jobst Rides. Oh yes, Greer Road also connected to Richards Road, a hideously steep road between Skyline and Greer. One winter day Jobst coaxed us down the muddy trail and the fun ensued. Never again.

You too can ride in mud. Ted Mock takes a spill on Roberts Road in 1981.

You too can ride in mud. Ted Mock takes a spill on Roberts Road in 1981.


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