Park closures reduce traffic

Blue Lupine at Quail Hollow Ranch county park.

Enjoy it while you can. With state parks closed in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this is the best riding since 1983 when many roads were washed out.

I rode from Saratoga Gap, heading southeast on Skyline Boulevard toward the first park closed — Castle Rock. Still, some rock climbers’ cars lined the road. With temps in the high 50s and clear skies, this was one of those early May days you dream about.

I saw only the occasional car as I continued on a downhill slope. At Bear Creek Road I noticed that the next mile is Highway 35. Huh? This tiny appendage reminds us of highway builders’ dreams to extend Skyline Boulevard/Highway 35 all the way to Mt. Madonna Road. Today we still have Summit Road.

I’ve only ridden down Zayante Road a few times. I much prefer the climb through the dark, silent redwoods, but age convinced me to go down and not up. Mostly it’s a bumpy ride and not so fun.

There’s only one short climb all the way to Zayante Creek Market & Deli. Sadly, it was closed. I’m not sure why. There was a nice Asian lady running the store. I haven’t been by in several years though.

So I headed on to Quail Hollow Road. This stretch of Zayante Road is my least favorite with all the traffic, but there is no alternative.

Quail Hollow had a lot of traffic too. My bike got tired and took a rest at Quail Hollow Ranch, a county park, which has a nice bloom of blue lupine.

Another unfriendly stretch of road remained — Hwy 9 from Ben Lomond to Boulder Creek. Even with Covid, lots of cars.

I stopped at the Redwood Keg Mini Mart and made a purchase, dressed as a masked robber. But I still had to pay.

Big Basin Way, Hwy 236, is another unfriendly stretch of road until the golf course, but once past that traffic evaporated and I rode alone under the sun and mild temps.

Once in Big Basin Redwoods State Park I didn’t see a single car. All the parking lots are roped off, including every turnout for several miles along Hwy 236. I wasn’t complaining.

Back on Hwy 9, the last 10 kilometers is a grind. I have a few memories of blasting up to Saratoga Gap, but mostly it was a slog after those long rides to the coast.

There has been some paving at mile 22.9 and culvert improvements, but the road’s overall complexion hasn’t changed since I rode here at least two years ago. Time flies. I’d prefer that they widen mile 24. Maybe someday, but that will be for future generations to appreciate.

After forty years these roads never grow old, but I do. It has been a blast.

3 Responses to “Park closures reduce traffic”

  1. jamesRides Says:

    The traffic on Summit/35 is reduced during the week, but the remaining traffic is faster and louder than normal – lots of joyriders.. Sunday morning from Page Mill to 9, traffic was not reduced and the the speeds were very high in both directions – motos and race cars. Almost lawless, though a higher percentage of motos seemed to be riding more sanely, very noisy not sure how the neighbors handle it. Open space is closed on weekends (though Montebello parking was open) so not even any ranger trucks. I’m looking for peaceful loops so will most likely try Big Basin this weekend (though down Bear Creek from Old Santa Cruz Hwy/Summit/35).

  2. Jon Blum Says:

    Today I watched some guy in a fancy car doing donuts on Skyline at a major intersection. I have never understood why the police ignore the numerous drivers blasting along Skyline and Highway 9, 20 or 30 MPH above the speed limit. It’s like a free-fire zone.

    • Ray Hosler Says:

      I’m seeing more doughnut swirls these days. It’s a result of poor upbringing. We have petulant children masquerading as adults, in all walks of life.

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