Category Archives: Personal stuff

In Close Encounters, Richard Dreyfuss had his mashed potato mountain. I have Sunflowers.

IMG_0543_DxO1200This means something. That’s what Richard Dreyfuss said each time he created a sculpture of a mountain, out of mud, out of mashed potatoes, or saw something that became a vision of Wyoming’s iconic Devil’s Tower. For me, it’s Sunflowers. I can’t see Sunflowers and not think of France, specifically the Tour de France. It’s an obsession, no question. How else can you explain traveling to France each July, 13 of the past 14 years?

For several years I’d see Sunflowers growing out of a yard near the top of Jefferson, as I rode towards the start of the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride. It was sad, a couple years ago, when a remodel displaced them. But a couple months ago Sunflowers have appeared again, not at the top of Jefferson, but in a small garden near the corner of Jefferson & Farm Hill. I pass them every day on my way to work.

As Richard Dreyfuss said, “This means something!” Indeed it does. The ‘Tour is coming.

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Old friends not forgotten

Over a period of three years or so, the goat in this field and that horse were inseparable, something you could always depend on seeing as you started up Tunitas Creek from the coast.
Over a period of three years or so, the goat in this field and that horse were inseparable, something you could always depend on seeing as you started up Tunitas Creek from the coast.

It’s been several years since the goat in the photo above has been seen, always with the horse nearby. The horse remains but the goat has likely passed on. It was something we always looked forward to seeing, shortly after making the turn off Highway One and starting the eastward run up Tunitas to Skyline.

This comes up because I was thinking the other day about how little has really changed over the past 40+ years I’ve been riding the roads and trails on the SF Peninsula. On the bay side, very different story, as traffic has increased exponentially, high-rises are popping up in the most-unlikely of places (Redwood City???!!!), and the success of firms like Google, Apple & Facebook have driven the cost of housing through the roof. But once you get past that first ridge and into Woodside (and beyond), change is slow-enough to rarely register. But the changes that do register are more… organic? Not sure of the right word. But the missing goat, the removal of the machine-gun man (and woman) sculptures on Stage Road, the Mastadon that frequently loses its footing off Pescadero Road, the remnants of an old barn on West Alpine that have slid a bit further down the hill each year, the removal of the ranger’s house (and coke machine!!!) off Summit Road where Sunnyvale Mountain Park used to be. I’m reminded of the famous quote from Blade Runner-

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain

That last moment, the coke machine at Sunnyvale Mountain Park… just did some research and discovered that it likely disappeared in 1977!

OK, enough reminiscing. Today’s ride report-

Thank goodness it was warmer! A good 10-15 degrees warmer than Tuesday and yes that really makes a difference. For example, I never felt like turning back heading up Kings. In fact, I’d let the two Kevins head on up ahead after we finished the section through the Park, making sure Eric had some company (he’d ridden one of those super-tough climbing centuries in Southern California over the weekend and was still recovering), but found myself able to ride back up to them (the two Kevins) three times (then drifting back to Eric) before reaching my limit.

I would have had some nice photos from the ride except my iPhone really doesn’t like my colder-weather full-fingered gloves. Well that’s not entirely correct; it didn’t like them today. And it didn’t like them today because I’d washed them. This is where it gets kinda gross, but I think slightly-damp glove that haven’t been cleaned for a while are loaded with salt, which helps to create a conductive pathway between your fingers and the screen (iPhones aren’t “touch” sensitive but rather respond to capacitive/electrical changes).

Kevin (my son, not the pilot) suggested that I bring my regular pocket camera, but do I want to carry an extra pound of weight up the hill? But I do often see things that I could easily get pictures of with a “real” camera while the time spent fumbling around trying to safely hold an iPhone while riding, and if I don’t take a photo, did I really see it? Was it really there? Like the coke machine at the former Sunnyvale Mountain Park.


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