Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Making the Case for Complete Streets

Making the Case for Complete Streets

Return of S24O Adventures

Back in the saddles again 

As most of you know we love to travel, and we do it a lot. In recent time we did a whole lot of traveling but I neglected to document all of the  trips that we had taken. Now I'm back at my writing table, that also serves as our family dinning table, arts and crafts table and more often that not a political pulpit.

Our most recent trip was a Bike Overnighter to Uvas Canyon County Park, and René Martinez joined us for his first experience on an S24O. Original plan was that we would take the Light Rail near our home and travel all of the way to Santa Teresa Boulevard where the Light Rail ends, and from that point we would ride. Considering how nice the day felt  a quick decision was made that we would ride the entire 40 miles (64 km) on our bikes. Laurie's and my kit,  was our "standard" S24O gear that we used in our previous adventures.

René had a Bike Planet Eco Rack installed a couple of day's before we went to this trip and he also used Detours Panniers.

René also used REI Minimalist Bivy Bag instead of his backpacking tent to sleep in, since the weather was warm and no rain was in the forecast.

Half of our ride was just urban ridding along my regular commute path, that I normally would ride to get to work. Once we got to Santa Teresa Boulevard we stopped by for lunch and Coffee at my favorite coffee shop, MoonBeans Coffee

We also stopped to purchased some Raisin-Cinnamon Bread and Almond & Honey Butter from a local Farmers Market, that is open every Saturday on Kaiser Permanente's parking lot next to the Public Library.

Once all of our supplies were packed safely in to our panniers we continued along Santa Teresa Blvd. Scenery quickly changed from Urban to Rural once we passed Santa Teresa Golf Club on our right. We were surrounded by open farm land with its full glory.

Being that it was late winter in Northern California, everything was a pleasant green color. Wind was in our favor, pushing us at a pleasant speed as well as providing a cooling effect. Mood was reflecting the general feeling of happiness and enjoyment!

Once we reached the Willow Spring Road we entered a narrow canyon that was surrounded with rolling hills where California's happy cows were grazing while keeping a curious eye on us cyclist. Car traffic was so sparse that we didn't have to worry about taking over the whole lane, had we needed it.

René was constantly ahead of us for the most, acting as an outrider, scouting what was ahead of us and bringing the news back. Laurie and I were less focused on the speed and more taking it all in and having fun while riding.

Once we crested the ridge, Willow Spring Road was all downhill Chesbro Reservoir, at the intersection, we went right onto Oak Glen Avenue that followed the reservoir.  It once was full of water, now its just a large grassy meadow with a small stream trickling through.

Dire state of California's drought was more that apparent to anyone that has seen Chesbro Reservoir during normal years. Back in the days the shore was lined with fishermen, as well as there would be a small flotilla of sports fishing boats moving up and down the lake in search of good fishing locations. Today the only thing floating on the surface of the small pond near the dam was a flock of geese. I couldn't help but wonder, how long is this drought going to last? How much worst will it get? Based on dismal snowfall during the winter months this year was going to be even worst than past.
We were not the only cyclist on the road, there were a solid number of weekend worriers dressed in tight nylon coaching & mimicking the professional riders that were traveling up and down the road. Some of them would nod their heads in silent acknowledgment, some on the other side of spectrum would watch us with bewilderment. Not sure if there were admiring us or if they were disgusted with this band of Gypsies on the bikes slowly climbing the many hills we encounter. Regardless we were happy and content in our endeavor.

We soon arrived to the Uvas Road where we merged to the left, and we were greeted us with is first hill that was not steep but just long gentle rise in the topography. Scenery has changed, trees on the side of the road were gone and we were surrounded with green pastures and more rolling hills.
I was enjoying the surroundings, so much,  that I didn't even noticed that Croy Road was ahead of us on our right side. René was there patiently waiting for Laurie and I to arrive. Croy Road almost immediately become a steep climb, the pretty much set the stage for what was to come.

Croy road proved to be our biggest elevation gain and the curviest section of our trip. On the other side it was nicely shaded and cooled down by continuously babbling Uvas creek,  that despite the drought was still flowing with decent amount of water in it. Our energy was now running low, and our conversation was about the dinner and glass of wine that we were looking forward to. However Croy Road was not yielding to our wishes to end. Narrowing more with each turn that we took
the sun became a rare site, and as René pointed out this became thee longest 4 mile for all three of us.
Eventually out of nowhere we arrived to "Sveadal", Swedish American Patriotic League Private resort. At this point Croy Road become a single line road with ridiculously steep grade that at several point we were practically crawling up the hill burdened down with our camping gear.
Finally after all of the struggling we arrived at Uvas Canyon County Park, and to my big surprise there was a lot of people visiting. Parking lots were full of cars, picnic areas were busy with kids and adults enjoying this warm winter day.

Our Camp site was # 13, conveniently located next to the Restrooms and showers, yet far enough for all of the pedestrian traffic into the facility was not a problem. We quickly set in to our camp & set up as per our usual routine tent up, cheese, carrots and wine were on the table, we were eating our early dinner and talking about day behind us.

 René and Laurie went for a refreshing shower while I made some tea.
Sunlight faded quickly away and night enveloped us of just a brief  moment. A full moon quickly jumped up on the eastern horizon lighting the entire area. With night come the cold air that eventually motivated us to crawl into our sleeping bags for a well deserved nights rest.

Morning almost came to soon and we were lingering in our comfortable sleeping bags as long as we could justify, eventually coffee closely followed with an excellent breakfast that was prepared and consumed in short order.

We quickly broke down our camp site and packed it all away in to our panniers

With promise of another great day ahead of us we climbed in to our bike saddles with knowledge that for at least a while our ride will be all downhill. In no time we left Croy Road with Uvas Creek flowing down the hill behind us. We made a quick climb on Uvas Road and soon we passed by Uvas Road and Oak Glen Avenue intersection. By then all three of us were ready for a lunch on the side of the road.

On the menu was smoked trout, cheese, pita bread and red wine. We enjoyed our lunch while sitting in the shade of an Oak tree growing on the side of the road, while number of weekend warrior cyclist passed by. Some nodded their heads in our direction as a greeting. Some of them slowed down to make sure that we were OK and some just passed by focused on their ride not even noticing us.

Laurie and I were clinging on every little thing throughout the day, in order to prolong our mini vacation, knowing well that it could not last forever and that unavoidable end was closing by with every push of the pedal and every turn in the road.

Sunday turned out to be even warmer than the previous day, with a good steady wind from North-Easterly direction.

 Unlike the day before,  that same wind that was aiding us with our progress, was slowing us down significantly sapping our energy almost as much as the Croy Road did the day before. We agreed that the perfect way to finish the day would be by stopping by Rock Bottom Brewery in Campbell for an early dinner and refreshments.

In short our trip was an excellent opportunity to become more familiar with parts of our County we seldomly visit. We had taken the full advantage of a warm late winter day for our first S24O of 2015. Our equipment proved to be as reliable as our bikes did, and we managed a good number of miles without any incidents or malfunctions.
I can only suggest that anyone who likes to camp and to bike try this short two day adventure, since it is a perfect marriage of two great hobbies.