West Old LaHonda slide report

The missing section of West Old La.
Sort of a goofy (and cold!) ride, checking out the damage to West Old LaHonda road. As you can see, it’s on the upper section (the forest), less than half a mile from Skyline. A bit more than half the lane had been undermined and was originally hanging mid-air; that has since collapsed. Since there are two saw horses (caution signs) down the hillside, it looks like the collapse continued after the county closed off the road.

The collapse was apparently caused by water eroding around the outside of an under-the-pavement pipe. Repairs to this section could prove difficult as the hillside can’t be cut into as it was further down a few years ago (too steep and likely unstable). Presently the outlook doesn’t look good.

It appears the county did temporarily lay in a new drainage pipe to try and prevent further erosion. Remaining pavement is wide enough for bikes to get through, but there’s no certainty that will continue, or that it couldn’t collapse while transiting it.

I will contact the county to find out what their plans are, as I believe this is a safety issue for cyclists, given that the alternative route up to Skyline is via 84, which has heavy & fast car traffic as well as very narrow and sometimes non-existent shoulders on some of the corners, due to continuing rockslides.

And yes, it was cold out there. Strava says the average was 36, but that doesn’t take into account the 20 minutes or so that it was recording too high because it had been in a relatively-warm garage overnight. Had we left a bit later, it would have been less wet and warmer. By 10am it was not longer raining, or even drizzling, but the roads were a mess so our “rain” bikes were a very good choice. Lowest temp we saw was 31.1 degrees, as we rode from Star Hill to Skyline. It was pretty much right at freezing the entire way along Skyline, warming up to a nice toasty 41 on our return to Woodside. A bit of snow but we were hoping for more. No ice, always a good thing!

Your Skyline Road Reporters back at work! And watch out for the CHP & Sheriff at intersections.

Kevin, Todd & Kevin at the scene of West Old LaHonda’s latest road closure
It really didn’t seem like that big a series of storms, but this past weekend, we had two sections of roads taken out. One, on Skyline just south of Page Mill, will probably be shut down for a week. It’s an important road so they’ll put a priority on getting it repaired. The second, another chunk of missing pavement on West Old LaHonda, might take much, much longer.

Nice, crisp morning, as expected. A little bit warmer than Tuesday, a bit less damp, so the overall feeling was a lot more comfortable. Todd showed up for the first time in a while, giving Kevin (kid) someone to ride with. And ride they did; they rode past me halfway up, and in just the remaining half of the climb, put almost 4 minutes into me. Yikes. But that’s OK, the 34 minutes up through the park, especially after the park section being really rough on me, was a whole lot better than the 40 minutes the “regular” way on Tuesday.

Once up on Skyline it was a matter of holding onto the wheel in front of me, which can be tough, but even tougher to see them riding on ahead and you’ve got to do all the work on your own.

We knew about the West Old LaHonda road closure; we didn’t know where it was. We figured it made more sense to ride from the top-down, thinking maybe we could see it from the scenic outlook. Well, no, because the missing section of road is really close to the Skyline side. We weren’t allowed to get close enough to see it, not even on foot. Our timing wasn’t the best for that; we were informed (by a former Chain Reaction employee who now works for the county) that the county’s road engineers had just arrived and were seeing it themselves for the first time, and told it was very dangerous. Subsequently someone remarked on my Strava ride description that they’d seen a picture of it, and it showed a 20 foot section of pavement hanging in the air. That doesn’t sound good for a quick reopening!

Heading back we had another interesting moment. Making the right turn from Skyline onto 84, we were pulled over by a CHP and Sheriff because one of us, Kevin (kid) had gone through the stop sign a bit too quickly. He was let off with a warning because he was with the other three of us, all of whom had done a pretty decent simulation of a stop. We figure Kevin owes each of us about $80, right? The CHP guy was doing all the talking, very friendly, and explained that we did not need to put a foot down, just making an effort to come to a slow speed, kind of a walking stop, was fine. I wasn’t sure if this was actually for our benefit, or the Sheriff who was with him.

More about West Old LaHonda as soon as possible.