Mid-Week Rides: Carmel Valley Road
Major WWWobble writes:
MidWeek Riders brave January weather a second time this year. We depart in light traffic for breakfast at Bobbie’s in Cupertino. Outside air temp registers 48F on the JetBlu instrument cluster. Low overcast. Hot coffee arrives promptly and breakfast is served as the rear tire on Al’s Banana Slug VFR deflates. Uh oh!
Anybody got a pump? Oh sure, this is the MidWeek Riders group! A couple guys admit to having some CO2 cartridges that might work, maybe, they might be kinda old… Al considers, and calls Elsie, his loving wife, who responds almost instantly with a 12 volt electric pump. The failure is diagnosed as an unscrewed valve stem. It’s re-screwed. Pump activated, tire inflated, we are off for the day’s adventure.
Al leads south on 85, south on the 101, exit Bailey and stop for a tire check. 42psi. Check! Over the hill on Bailey (such a good short section to squid out on) then south on G8 along the reservoirs. Does anybody notice there is NO WATER in Uvas Reservoir? Nobody stops. No pictures are taken. We go rollin’ on by a big empty series of dry craters that used to be Uvas Reservoir where the Captain accidently dunked his helmet. Where’d the water go? “Down” says Zunkel. “Away” adds Marco. Explanations in the MWR tradition!
West Hwy 152 over the mountain at a spirited clip until the wet, tight sections, then down toward the coast. Chris reports there were seven motor officers behind us, apparently on a training run. Clearly they had not yet reached the chapter on activating red lights and siren. Through Pajaro (que bonita) Al heads a la derecha and we hug the curb passing 110 cars to a down crossing gate where we watch a train do nothing. Excitement is the theme for the day. Soon the train moves enough to allow the gate to rise, and we lead the pack to Hwy 1.
Real ride destination is Carmel Valley Road. Sunshine “rains” down upon us (ha ha) my ARD is working flawlessly. We begin CVR from the west and head inland. There is little traffic, the road is in good condition, some residual sand from the cold weather in the low, wet spots on the west side of the mountain, great road conditions going up the mountain, then some minimal scattered loose gravel from recent road work on the east side. Pretty, as always, but, well… dry.
We stop for malts in Soledad, then homeward bound via Old Stage Road and the recently paved (early last century maybe) San Juan Grade. Multiple “ride leaders” on various sections of this ride, good weather, good conversations, a great way to spend a Thursday in January!