Mid-Week Rides: Mt Hamilton and Calaveras
Wednesday, Apr 17 2013
Five riders appeared at Mike’s in downtown Livermore. Looked like the same cook and staff from the days of the place being called the L&M. Paul Hampton, Dick Zunkel, Don Thelie Jonathan Jefferies and yours truly, Chris Weld, turned-out. We rode for Del Valle Park, taking the turn-off and up the canyon on Mines Road. We paused briefly about mile #13 to take-in the canyon and ponder a PG&E operation down below. We were hoping to find wild flowers but it wasn’t until our elevation was up above the eight mile marker (numbers painted in the roadway), that the hillsides became a consistent ‘green’. We stretch right at the Alameda/Contra Costa County line, where Dick Zunkel took the group photo. We stretched again at the Junction House (a closed [open weekends only] roadhouse) where the road give one the option of turning SE for Patterson on CA Hwy #33 (about 40 miles distant), or continuing toward San Jose via the crest at Mt. Hamilton (4122’ elev. as I recall - see pics for specifics). We lost our first rider here, Jonathan didn’t have time to linger and was directed to turn left on Quimby Road. The rest of us dallied about, taking pics of Jonathan who, while miles down the road, wasn’t a half-mile distant.
Paul Hampton expressed an interest in riding around the Calaveras Reservoir and everyone else was ‘game’. The group headed for Quimby Road, a steep and very twisty decent down into Silicon Valley, lots of true 10 MPH turns and great views. We needed to get to the intersection of Sierra and Capitol Aves. GPS delivered! But wait! It’s way past lunch time. The shopping center advertising a McDonald’s had one - but one under construction. We used GPS to find a Taco Bell but it was one with a tricky entry and our leader at the moment, Don Thelie, was in the wrong lane. It was a big ‘wendy’ and long light to get to where we wanted to be but by this time Paul Hampton wanted to ‘boogie’, but still do the road around the Calaveras Reservoir. He bid the rest of us ‘farewell’. Five minus two equals three riders, Thelie, Zunkel and Weld - all ‘game’ for the reservoir loop. We dined! Thelie even ordered the water but had to get the ‘wait person’ to come around and show him how at the self-serve beverage dispenser delivered just H2o.
We rode Sierra Road along the first ridge east of downtown San Jose, the road changes name at one point and becomes Felter - this before the intersection ( a ‘T’ type’) with Calaveras. It wasn’t until here that we started to see a plethora of wild flowers. They’re (San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission) .operates this reservoir and because of earthquake safety, they’re building a new and much higher damn. In spite of the signs warning otherwise, we saw very little traffic, just one bicyclists We had the world to ourselves.
Calaveras intersects IS #680 (880?), where Thelie peeled-off towards Dublin and Zunkel, toward San Jose. Weld was left all alone. He rode Hwy #84 (Niles Canyon) for Palomares, taking this very scenic 8 mile’er so route into Hayward and thereafter the San Mateo-Hayward Bay Bridge for the freeway route home. Weld knocked-down 208 miles on the day. Regulars like Burns, Grass, and Hendricks were missed.
During the course of the day two rides were discussed. There was some keen interest to visit the Castle Air Force Base Air Museum in Merced, and a ride through Jolon for the Nacienmento-Ferguson Road to Highway #1 on the Big Sur Coast. Either would be a ‘long-day’, one involving considerable ‘freeway time’. Got a preference? Let your choice be known… Chris Weld
PS: The big Honda was operated by Don Theile, not Dick Zunkel (WHO USED TO OPERATE ONE!).