Mid-Week Rides: San Juan Bautista, Fremont Peak
Wednesday, Feb 18 2015
Pics start here
It was a good group that gathered at Bobbie’s in Cupertino for breakfast, sad only in the fact that Rich Penrose wouldn’t be able to make the ride. Wwwwobble (AKA: Dim Bulb), on the other hand, couldn’t make it in time for breakfast, but was there for the ride.
We went strait away for the little community of San Juan Bautista, nestled in the corner of one of California’s smaller counties, San Benito. The main attraction here is one of the original Missions and the town grew up around the Mission which was the ‘hub’. Even today, much of San Juan Bautista is as originally laid-out. I’m pleased to report that they’ve paved the town and, at some point in the accent past, paved the roads upon which we rode.
The goal was Fremont Peak at some 3100’ elevation. The location played an important part in John C Fremont’s pursuit of independence for the Californios from Mexico. This was prior to, or part of, the ‘Bear Flag Revolt’. The road snakes upward from San Juan Bautista some 11-12 miles and climbs to within walking distance of the peak itself, some 800-900’ feet higher. None of our group was hot to climb, line’o sight was not a quarter mile, but STEEP. We enjoyed the sun, having broken through the clouds at about 2200’ elevation - first ‘sun’ we’d yet experienced.
The decent took us to an intersection where we could turn toward Salinas on a road that changed names on entering Monterey County. The San Benito portion was last paved circa 1930 and today is just a collection of ‘patches’, but the countryside was worth the jarring. Upon decent GPS was queried for a lunch spot. ‘Country Kitchen’, only 4.7 miles distant was selected. That’s 4.7 miles the way the crow flys. It was a good 10 miles ‘road-wise’. The general consensus was ‘worth it’! Riders split-up for home after dinning (it was just a couple minutes to 2 PM at the moment and ‘beat the rush’ was on everyone’s mind.
Great ride, great company. Only delays involved minor slide setting adjustments on Scottie Sharp’s ride, a customer’s R69S that he’d just rebuilt the motor.
With the sky closed and a bit of wind at 8:30 am we met at Bobby’s Coffee Shop in Cupertino.
Chris Weld, Don Thiele, Scotty, Dana, Dick, Alberto, and Wwwoble, Rich Penrose, and Marco Hyman. Rich would not ride today, showing up only for breakfast.
Breakfast as usual very animated. Everybody had something to say. The food, just what a coffee House would offer. Not great but not bad.
Sometime after 9:00 Marco, at the parking lot hollered, “are we going to ride or talk all day! “. We mounted, Chris took the lead and chose the most direct route to San Juan Bautista… 101 all the way!
The day had a special coloring on account of the cloud cover, making the Mission special somehow. One half hour later, off we went to conquer Fremont Peak. Ahh, but this report would I not be complete if I fail to bring a sore subject. Yep, leader Weld got a wee bit lost… Just by one block off and for one bumpy minute. That’s okay Chris, we all forgive you. It must have been the sign saying Fremont Peak 11 miles, with an arrow pointing the wrong way.
Up we went. Fremont Peak, on our way had moments where visibility was quite low. The cloud cover was eerie making the front riders look ghostly. Soon enough, as we went higher, the sun showed up warming hearts and spirits.
We had a moment to shoot the baloney thick and heave at the top. Pictures and bantering which Dana seemed to be the recipient of humor. He is okay. Survived.
Okay, you have read this account so far… You deserve the following. Dana introduced us to an app on his iPhone. “GroupPic”. Very cool! In a group taking the picture, the photographer is left out, bummer! Well, have the group stay put (do not move) hand the iPhone to someone in the group and go take your place…. Snap a second picture. The software takes the two pictures and blends them into one with BOTH photographers in the picture!! This app costs $1.99 I never spend for gadgets like this… But this is a WINNER!! I went and got it. Thank you Dana.
As it turns out, when you get to the “top” of Fremont Peak you are not at the very, very top. There is yet another half mile or so and 1,000 feet to climb. This, additional distance however must be done on foot. The road is there but we are not supposed to, verboten to ride the bikes up.
After a half hour or so, time to head down. We all mounted and… As I am getting ready, a shadow heading a different way. Mild mannered and quietly (as if a motorcycle could be quiet), I see Mr Hyman going up the verboten road! Yep, he took off like a rocket heading up the forbidden road and catch the real mountain top. He must have gone like the wind as it took him little time to catch the rest of the group a third way down the mountain. Now I kicked myself, wished I had broken the law and done the verboten thing. Oh well. You surprise me Marco, I had you for a very law abiding and compliant citizen. Well!! How was the view?
Down we went through the fog and eventually thru a very bumpy road that rattled most everyone’s kidneys. Yes, most of us…
Bumpy but pretty, the road took us through what I think is rural Salinas and eventually 101. Chris directed us to a diner one not far from the McDonalds and Starbucks at 101 and Hwy 152. Great food.
After eating it seemed everybody was in a hurry to get someplace and everyone opted to head home… One more time 101 for some 50 miles. Shame because for me the day had just started. Oh well.