Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sunday STN ride 2-19-06

On Sunday (2-19-06) I met up with CBXTerry, Twist, Bluepoof, and DredheadV2.0 from Sport-Touring.Net for a quick little ride. Dred was visiting on tour from Chicago, so we HAD to get him out on some of our spectacular Bay Area roads.

We met at a Starbucks in east San Jose where we found some snow-topped "mountains," interesting characters, and a very busy bathroom. While munching on the snacks thoughtfully provided by Bluepoof, we decided that, despite the recent storm, the best route was to head for the Santa Cruz mountains.

With CBXTerry leading, we headed up 101 to Bailey road for the first twisties of the day. Happily, conditions were pretty good with only intermittent wet pavement. The pace was kept relaxed in recognition of Dred's 40k mile old shocks, flatlander origin, and the uncertain road conditions.

We stopped at one of the reservoirs along Uvas Rd for a smoke break (for the cancer-stick lovers) and some socializing (wait, everyone loves that!). I can't resist pretty landscapes, so I'm posting a few of those. Additional pics from Twist and Bluepoof's cameras can be found on the STN thread link above.




At the turnoff to CA-152 Hecker Pass Rd, Twist and I watched in horror as CBXTerry almost dropped his 2-week old Busa while trying to get around a big puddle. I know that I could NOT have pulled off the save he did.

Heading through the redwoods, we starting getting some drizzly rain. Cars stacked up ahead behind a bunch of cruisers. No big deal. We weren't in a hurry. We stopped at a turn-out just past Mt Madonna Inn to take in the view and let the long line of cars get ahead.



Next up was a long drone up CA-1 to get to CA-84. This part of the Pacific Coast Highway isn't particularly great. First there's a bit of congested freeway from Watsonville through Santa Cruz. Once you get past the city, it's a straight 2-lane highway with few legal passing opportunities. I suppose someone who doesn't see the ocean every few weekends would love the scenery, but there are better areas to check out the waves of deep blue.


The run up 84 to Alice's was a highlight of the day for me. I swooped along at the tail of the pack, hardly touching my brakes. The hillsides were green, blue was peeking through the clouds, and the road was empty of traffic.

I had never eaten at Alice's though I'd been by it many times. After carefully perusing the menu, I decided to be original and ordered the BMW burger. Dred got some of their famous garlic fries for the table to share. Mmmm.

After lunch, we split up to head home. Not trusting conditions on 84, Bluepoof and I went up 35 toward CA-9 and Saratoga. We stopped at the vista point on CA-35 to find excellent visibility conditions. You could see for miles: Oakland, bridges, snow capped Mt Hamilton.



Fellow travelers at the vista point had warned Bluepoof of hail falling ahead on 35. We soon found it. It was pretty trippy trying to negotiate a clean line through mud tracks on the road with hail pinging off my helmet and instruments. The side of the road was lined with white. I found myself continuously checking my GPS to see the approaching intersection with CA-9 and lower elevations. No pics of the weather, we were too eager to get out of it. Alas.

Once we got off 35 the conditions improved and it was smooth sailing and a relatively clean road the rest of the way out of the mountains. Twist later reported that 84 into Redwood City had been fine. We *probably* should have taken it. Oh well. A good day for all.

Mileage from the meet point to Saratoga: 136

1 comment:

Boy Blogger said...

your blog is really cool! I can't believe how beautiful your neck of the woods is. Last december i had a chance to drive the PCH from Ventura to Santa Cruz. amazing..