Started out ugly & slow but turned into really nice ride!

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Got off to another really late start (what else is new?). Had to clean up some flight details for my brother Steve, who’s returning from a Trek Travel vacation in Italy. He’d switched his return flights on-line but they weren’t showing up in his itinerary, so I spent about 20 minutes getting things changed from being waitlisted to actually having a flight home. OK, that’s 20 minutes out of a 2+ hour delay. Not sure I have a good explanation for the rest!

Maybe we just wanted to make sure we got to ride when it was uncomfortably-warm heading up Stevens Creek Canyon towards Redwood Gulch? Or maybe we just enjoy racing the sun, trying to time our rides so we get home just before dark.

No Mr. Mustard with cokes & hot dogs... again?
No Mr. Mustard with cokes & hot dogs… again?

Of course even our late start got twisted backward a bit, when Kevin realized he hadn’t taken his epilepsy meds in the morning, we by the time we got done backtracking, it was about 12:30. The original thinking was to do a ride through Big Basin, but not quite enough time for that. Instead we did a run through the foothills to Los Altos, dropping in to say Hi at the Los Altos Chain Reaction and then grabbing a sandwich and coffee at Peets before the run up Redwood Gulch and 9 up to Skyline.

Neither of us felt very energetic so it was a pretty easy pace up Redwood Gulch (if “easy” is possible up Redwood Gulch), and it was a bit annoying to get to the top of Highway 9, at Saratoga

Fire fighters liberating cokes from the machine for us
Fire fighters liberating cokes from the machine for us

Gap, and not find Mr. Mustard! Thankfully, there’s a coke machine at the nearby fire station, and we’d wisely brought along 8 quarters, since the machine hasn’t taken dollar bills in some time. Even more thankfully, the firefighters were there to let us know the machine wasn’t working but they were happy to open it up for us and exchange a couple of cokes for our $2 worth of quarters. Fire fighters truly are heroic!

From there the ride took a bit different route than normal. One option would have been to descend West Alpine, take 84 out to the coast, and return via Tunitas. But how many times can you go up Tunitas before it gets old? This from someone who’s climbed

Incredible view from West Alpine
Incredible view from West Alpine

Kings twice-weekly since the beginning of time… so Kevin suggested an alternative, heading all the way north on Skyline to 92, returning via Canada Road. We compromised; we added the West Alpine descent, then climbed back up to Skyline via 84 before heading north on Skyline to 92. An awesome choice, because the timing was just right for incredible views of the coast and the bay. Nice enough to cause us to stop a couple times for photos, something Kevin usually isn’t into, but today was just too darned nice not to.

79 miles, a bit over 6000ft of climbing, plenty of sun, fair amount of heat, pretty much ended up being the perfect ride for the day.

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Bad Feng Shui caused by misplaced garbage cans wrecks ride

OK, you had to be there, but let me explain. There are certain rituals, things that you do on a regular basis, and sometimes you start doing them in a regular way, and that regular way picks up meaning that is entirely out of proportion to normalcy. Let me explain.

Wednesday is Garbage Night. After dinner, my son and I have to take out the garbage. Three bins; one for recycling, one for compost, one regular. They’re placed at the end of the driveway (naturally enough) and, since we ride Thursday mornings, need to be placed such that we can thread our way past the two cars (one dead, one active), the bins, and out into the street.  At some point, instead of placing the bins to the side, they each commanded their own special place. That special place meant approximately equidistant. And last night equidistant became debated more intensely than whether a stem is straight or not, eventually ending up with me bringing out a tape measure to make sure they were exactly right. And I was correct, Kevin was wrong. He had the right-most two bins offset 3/4 of an inch closer than the left.

All was right with the world, until we find out that my wife had to leave the house (in her car) before we’d get back from our ride, so we had to move them all off to one side, with no special attention paid to their arrangement because… because there just wasn’t much you could do with 3 bins and maybe 6 or 7 feet of space.

We should have left them where they belonged and had my wife move them to leave the house.

The result of having near-perfect Feng Shui and then deliberately destroying it was staggering. Fog moved in on our morning ride, we saw a Raven flying off with a squirrel (Seriously! Strangest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe just a couple of feet over our heads.), and Kevin had a rippin’ seizure midway through Huddart Park. Put him on the ground for several minutes, got un-needed attention from park staff, and Kevin never really got back to normal. Even hurt his shoulder a bit somehow during the seizure.

As a result, we shorted the ride, skipping the West Old LaHonda section on a day when it must have been just incredible on that side of the hill, with the tips of the hills pushing up through the fog.

Don’t take Feng Shui for granted. I sure won’t anymore!  –Mike–

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