Archive for the ‘Ride reports’ Category

East Ridge Trail where have you been?

August 1, 2015

Anybody missing a toy? They're at the Big Basin Park maintenance yard.

Anybody missing a toy? They’re at the Big Basin Park maintenance yard.


As I look around for the remaining trails I haven’t ridden (filling my bucket list), I stumbled across East Ridge Trail in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

I’m told Jobst had ridden it, but I imagine not often. I headed out today to see what I was missing. As it turns out, not much.

East Ridge Trail is an old logging road, I’m guessing (aren’t they all?), not really a trail, which is why it’s open for bikes. No single-track is open in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

I picked it up on the right a few hundred yards down China Grade after turning left at Hwy 236. You can’t miss the trail. There’s a big iron gate and a sign that says authorized vehicles only.

After a brief climb, the road starts a short descent into a saddle and at the low point there’s a dirt road off to the right that descends fairly steeply. That goes to Rogers Road and the state parks maintenance area. It’s open for bikes.

I continued on East Ridge Trail uphill. The 1.1-mile road, as you might imagine, follows a ridge and that means plenty of up and down. There’s one climb that’s impossible to ride because it’s about 35 percent and loose. But try anyway.

The road dumps out onto the little-used Lodge Road. I’m betting Lodge sees fewer cars than any road in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s a goat trail and doesn’t really go anywhere special.

I headed right because I wanted to check out Rogers Road and the trail I chose not to take.

After two miles I came to a junction and headed straight into more “authorized vehicles only” territory, the park maintenance yard. While there I got into a conversation with one of the park workers. That’s when I noticed a tree stump covered with all kinds of toys, left behind by park users over the years.

Anyway, the road I didn’t take comes into Rogers Road. Check it out. It’s all downhill, as opposed to East Ridge. There’s another trail that comes into the park maintenance area, but that’s one of those Once Upon a Ride reports.

East Ridge Trail where it crosses Lodge Road in Big Basin State Park.

East Ridge Trail where it crosses Lodge Road in Big Basin State Park.

Mammoth display trumpets bone discovery

July 28, 2015
Mammoth artwork at Trimble Road and Guadalupe River trail.

Mammoth artwork at Trimble Road and Guadalupe River trail.

Mammoth bones were removed for study.

Mammoth bones were removed for study.


Remember 2005 when they found the mammoth bones in the Guadalupe River next to Trimble Road? Who can forget?

Now there’s a life-size mammoth artwork on display next to the discovery site. It looks much better than that coiled snake in downtown San Jose.

With my life back in order, I toured the Alviso Slough/Guadalupe Slough levy, which is in great shape now that the gravel put down in the first mile has settled.

It’s pretty amazing that gravel sinks into the ground the way it does. It just seems to disappear.

Lots of lone white pelicans, egrets, cormorants swimming around. Even a couple of night herons made a showing.

Alviso levy on a warm morning.

Alviso levy on a warm morning.

Redwood roads always in-Spiring

July 18, 2015

Giant redwood stump fading away in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Giant redwood stump fading away in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


I hadn’t visited the giant redwood stump in eons, so I stopped by for a look. It’s showing its age and starting to fade away.

Back in the late 1800s that stump was a giant redwood, cut down to make shingles for homes in the Bay Area.

Out on Hwy 1, I noticed some feisty winds, thanks to Hurricane Dolores stirring things up out in the Pacific.

On the way back I took Fremont Avenue and noticed that the ancient bridge over Permanente Creek is finally being replaced. Road closed, but bikes can use the recreation bridge. So there’s almost no car traffic on Fremont through Los Altos.

Bohlman Road a good test for Sierra Rides

July 5, 2015

View from Quickert Road overlooking Saratoga.

View from Quickert Road overlooking Saratoga.


If you can ride up Bohlman Road in Saratoga, you can probably make it over Sonora Pass. They’re both painfully steep.

I couldn’t find out how the road got its name, but no doubt it was named for a Bohlman or Bollman. Road was paved in the early 1950s.

Interestingly, John Brown’s (the abolitionist) second wife, Mary, lived on Bohlman Road for a time in the late 1800s.

The grade is steep for all except the last mile. I saw a maximum 23 percent on my cyclometer and that matches closely with what was recorded by Lucas on his website measuring grades of local roads.

I turned left on On Orbit Drive and descended Quickert, Kittridge Roads, fortunately with no traffic as the roads are barely wider than a large SUV.

It was a muggy, warm day with a fair amount of smog. Imagine what it would be like today if we hadn’t enacted smog regulations, Clean Air Act, EPA, etc.

A fair wind blows

June 27, 2015

Windsock says ride north young man. So I did.

Windsock says ride north young man. So I did.


Note the windsock located on Hwy 1 near Waddell Beach. Winds are from the south. Huh?

Yes, winds do come from the south on the coast, especially when a tropical storm moves in from the Gulf of Mexico.

You can be sure I knew in advance which way to ride today. I motored on the flats and downhills as fast at 30 mph. Not bad for a geezer.

Meanwhile, during my brief stop for victuals, a local resident of Davenport bemoaned the potential naming of the Coast Dairies as a national monument. He sees it as a magnet for more crowding in the form of traffic.

On the bright side, more government money may be shaken out for buying land as open space and that’s always a good thing. I’d rather see our money go here than being spent on needless high-tech weaponry like the F35. Cyber security, now that’s another matter. But I digress.

Jobst Brandt Memorial Ride brings back memories

June 20, 2015

Jobst Riders prepare to set off on the celebratory ride from Palo Alto. (Chuck Morehouse photo)

Jobst Riders prepare to set off on the celebratory ride from Palo Alto. (Chuck Morehouse photo)


On Saturday we gathered at the hallowed steps of the house of Jobst on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto for a tribute ride and gathering to celebrate our friend’s adventuresome life.

I can’t begin to identify everyone in the photo, but we had Jobst Riders there going back to the 1960s!

Many riders braved dirt Alpine Road, Jobst’s favorite route to Skyline Boulevard, even though they hadn’t ridden there in decades.

Everyone managed to make it up the narrow, bumpy trail with plenty of time to spare for the celebration.

The big yellow bike in the front is Jobst’s old one with a repaired rear stay, owned now by Richard Mlynarik.

So now it’s time for everyone who isn’t riding to get back on and pick up the pace. Jobst wouldn’t have it any other way.

Once Upon a Ride: Crested Butte 1985

June 13, 2015

Only known photo of my Ritchey mountain bike in 1985.

Only known photo of my Ritchey mountain bike in 1985.


When the mountain bike craze took root, Crested Butte, Colorado, became a focal point. It wasn’t long before riders from all over the country gathered in September for a bike-fest.

The big ride called for a day-trip over Pearl Pass to Aspen on a gnarly road. It was more than I could handle, but many do it annually.

I ventured out there in spanking-new Amtrak cars in September 1985 and had a great time with photographer David Epperson (Mountain Bike Hall of Fame) and friends of triathlete Sally Edwards.

It was a chance to ride my new Ritchey mountain bike, one of the most advanced at the time. While I enjoyed the experience, it didn’t take me long to realize mountain biking wasn’t my strong suit and I sold the bike shortly thereafter.

While the event has been moved to June, the Rockies in September can’t be beat for scenic beauty with the turning aspen.

David Epperson, an outstanding action photographer, rides in Crested Butte, 1985.

David Epperson, an outstanding action photographer, rides in Crested Butte, 1985.

Mt. Hamilton Road Race brings out the hammerheads

May 25, 2015

Leaders in the Mt. Hamilton Road Race. Not far ahead of the peloton.

Leaders in the Mt. Hamilton Road Race. Not far ahead of the peloton.


Racers pursue the breakaway at Mt. Hamilton.

Racers pursue the breakaway at Mt. Hamilton.


Talk about cyclists with energy to burn — they all showed up for the Mt. Hamilton Road Race on Sunday.

As I inched my way uphill past Halls Valley, a motorcycle official warned me the peloton was on its way. The freight train arrived a few minutes later, giving me time to dismount and snap a few pics of the Cat 1, 2 riders.

Then they were gone, only to be followed by a hundred or so more riders in lower categories. They weren’t going nearly so fast, but it was still like race cars going by compared to my snail pace.

On the way down the steep backside I didn’t see any accidents, which is a good thing because it’s easy to get carried away going down. I heard of only one accident, at Smith Creek, and I don’t think it was too bad.

The women’s leader going past The Junction store had a lead of at least five minutes. I’m told she was a national champion, so I can only surmise she won handily in the race that ended at the junction of Mines and Del Valle Road.

The race used to finish at Wente Vineyards on Tesla Road, then at Mines and Tesla, now here. In 1987 it ended on the second long climb of Mines Road, call the Double S. Not sure why but it probably had to do with permission from local authorities.

As I plodded home through Pleasanton and Calaveras Road, a bevy of racers blasted by on their way back to Silicon Valley. Youth.

Still a few wildflowers on Mt. Hamilton - Elegant brodiaea

Still a few wildflowers on Mt. Hamilton – Elegant brodiaea

Haul Road has Wild Iris in bloom

May 17, 2015

So much beauty on the Haul Road.

So much beauty on the Haul Road.


What more could you ask for on the Haul Road deep in the redwoods than Douglas iris springing up everywhere?

I headed up Page Mill Road into winter-like conditions with thick fog and mist blanketing Skyline.

Fortunately the fog lifted while heading down Alpine Road, but it was still long-sleeve jersey weather riding into the deep canyon cut by Pescadero Creek. How does GPS make it there?

I had Camp Pomponio Road all to myself (Honor Camp Road), it being closed at least a dozen years now. It’s a cathedral kind of place with tall stands of new-growth redwoods.

On the Haul Road I stopped to admire Pescadero Creek, which finally has some water after last winter’s drought.

Farther on I came across lots of wild iris and stopped to admire their delicate beauty. They seemed to like one particular location that’s also one of my favorite places on the road.

Back on pavement I headed to see how the Loma Mar store is progressing. The concrete foundation is in. It’s looking great. Soon the store will be restored. I’ll celebrate some lasting memories of ageless Jobst Rides.

In Pescadero I checked out the town’s 115th anniversary of the Holy Ghost celebration. Flags hung over main street and people gathered at the local church for some fun activities. The bagpipers were a nice touch.

I couldn’t help but notice the sign in an open field — in the Moore family since the 1850s. That would be Alexander Moore.

That brought to mind another Moore who grew up in Pescadero – Gordon. Yes, the Gordon Moore of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. Are these Moores related? I have no idea. Do Pescadero residents even know Gordon Moore?

I had that and more to think about as I checked out the Pacific Ocean from Stage Road for the hundredth time, an experience that never grows old.

Honor Camp Road's redwood cathedral.

Honor Camp Road’s redwood cathedral.

A delicate iris shows off on Bridge Trail.

A delicate iris shows off on Bridge Trail.

Loma Mar Store has a new foundation. Making progress.

Loma Mar Store has a new foundation. Making progress.

Drought update for the South Bay Reservoirs

May 2, 2015

Chesbro Reservoir in the South Bay is slightly less than half full.

Chesbro Reservoir in the South Bay is slightly less than half full.


Considering last year’s debacle, it’s fair to say that the “glass is half full” for the South Bay reservoirs in spring 2015.

I rode by Calero, Chesbro, and Uvas reservoirs to see how they’re doing. Calero is at 42 percent, but it looked that way through last year too.

Chesbro was empty last year. Now it’s 46 percent full. Uvas is doing much better, empty last year, and now at 71 percent.

The big winner this year remains Stevens Creek Reservoir at a healthy 94 percent of capacity.

What made this ride so enjoyable today was the wind. It was a mild headwind most of the way out, but a tailwind coming home. It’s usually the opposite.


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