Mid-Week Rides: Mt Hamilton
More pictures here
Chris sends these pictures and writes…
Dick Zunkel and Chris Weld arrived at the Burns residence on time to pick-up house guest Al Sobelski and the Major. Somebody was late and it was getting later. It seems Al didn’t trust UPS/Fed Ex et al, so he didn’t pre-ship his good riding gear from New York. Al couldn’t zip-up! Must have been Polly cooking…but not to worry, Al brought his loving wife Elsie. She could pack’n jam better and finally Al was dressed. We missed some of our usual attendees, Marco, Bill and Eric were all noticeably ‘absent.’
Randy Bush had notified earlier that he’d meet-up with us at the L&M in downtown Livermore. Yes, everyone had gas for Livermore, or so they thought. We were off’n running! At about the top’o the Dublin Grade Al pulls along side and signals the need for gas. His Honda doesn’t have a fuel gauge per se, but gets a series of bars on the dash when he hits ‘reserve.’ He explained later that they suddenly started to ‘blink’ which caused a rise in Al’s blood pressure. No problem, just find a petrol station. I move over to the right lane and both Burns and Zunkel flash on past. They know the L&M. By dumb luck I take a turn-off never before taken and think I spy a gas station. Shell will do!
Tanks full, blood pressure back to normal, we roll into downtown Livermore, albeit late. But wait! Randy Bush is merging into our lane ahead, he’s late too! Leonard, an HSTA riding friend of Bob’n Al’s was on time and holding a table at the L&M. We arrived as we’d left, under a heavy overcast with pockets of fog. It wasn’t truly cold, but certainly cool and damp. Seven for breakfast it was.
Our ‘plan’ was to ride-out Coral Hollow, connect with Hwy#33, and ride that into Patterson. So, we stayed on Coral Hollow and the name changed… and we eventually found that we were in Tracy. Well, since Hwy#33 runs parallel with Hwy. #99 and Interstate #5, we were bound to stumble across Hwy #33. I mean, they didn’t make me a big city detective for nothing, right? We rode’n rode. We were well E. of Tracy when I see this 20’ wide highway sign that says ‘Patterson’ with an arrow directing to the off-ramp, this at a time when Major Wobble is maybe 10’ in the lead. I signal the turn (always do, ya’know), expecting Bob to follow the sign, (remember Patterson IS on Hwy #33). He doesn’t and I blow the horn but it’s too late for Bob. What a gentleman!
He waves. Now the entourage is confused. Not to worry! Bob knows where Patterson is…or so we’d like to think. Here comes a fork in the road, absent a sign, I bear right, Randy bears right. Zunkel and Sobeleski bear left (they were right)! Flat, straight farm roads lay ahead. We were in sunshine now, nudge it up to 70+MPH and watch for a ‘Patterson’ directional sign. Only sign we find is one that says ‘STOP,’ but there’s this little corner grocery in the middle of nowhere. Clerk sets me straight for Hwy #33. We find Hwy #33 as directed and turn toward Patterson…can’t get lost now. After several miles we go under an overpass and up ahead, at the side of the road, two motorcyclists. Get close and realize that they’re Al and Dick (who, for the record), got there directly. Major Wobble and Leonard? We could only guess.
Our ‘assemblage’ arrives in Patterson and we stop where visible.
Cell phone message to Major Wobble…nothing to do but wait. 10-15 minutes later here comes the Major arriving from the opposite direction. Leonard? What’d he do with Leonard? About this time Al gets a phone call from Leonard, he’s back on Coral Hollow and heading home to Livermore - which was his announced plan at breakfast. Okay, five for Mt. Hamilton - everyone accounted for. We headed-up the mountain, the steep hillsides were all greening-up and traffic was all but non-existant. We rode 20 miles and took advantage of the Stanislaus County Park’s restroom facility. Dick, our official Mug-Whump Photographer, set-up the tripod and we had a group photo. Back on the road we crossed a slew of cattle guards and paused at the ‘Junction,’ the only surviving roadhouse between Livermore and San Jose. It’s located at…at…the ‘junction’ with the road to Patterson. We’d just had breakfast but somebody’s major was hungry and the roadhouse obliged.
Ride up to the observatory was next in order and I told the fellows I was going to pause where my late wife’s ashes are spread eight’er so miles up the road, I lead to there and wave the group around.
Shortly thereafter I’m climbing the mountain, it’s steep with lots of 10 and 15 mph marked turns when I see the group ahead, off their respective motors. Randy had gone down, he’d lost traction in the sand they’d used to dust the ice a couple weeks previous on one of these turns, caught traction but was then headed-off-road. He’d ground-off a little aluminum from the bottom of a rocker cover and broke a chunk out of his windshield. He was okay, least until he picked his bike-up-when muscles were strained. We’re back headed to the top of the mountain, I’m back in front, but that’s okay. Perhaps I can arrive in time to photograph the other’s arrival. I do, but the Major’s right on my tail.
We kicked tires, used the restroom and drinking fountain before dropping down the mountain and Quimby Road into San Jose where we split-up. Zunkel lives in San Jose, Al was do at his son’s at 4 PM in San Jose and Randy was going up IS#880 and back to El Cerrito to avoid any bridge.
That left Major Bob and yours truly, to beat a path up the Peninsula to our respective homes. Traffic was light enough that we could hold a consistent 75-80 MPH without drawing undue attention. Bob signals that I’m welcome to drop by for a drink…and I do need a ‘stretch.’ Little did I know at the time that Al was supplying the drink. Maker’s Mark! Oh twist my arm….. Had a nice drink, even got to pet a cat. Bob’n Polly run a ‘legal’ cat house mind you!
Home before 5 PM. Great ride…