Just another day on Kings- tree down so we redirected traffic, repurposed some cones to close the road, but bicyclists are the source of all of the road issues?

It was a Tuesday morning just like any other Tuesday morning, except that it was raining which, well, that did in fact make it just like any other Tuesday morning this past winter. Well, another except- it’s not winter anymore! Somebody needs to get the message out- as of yesterday, it’s spring. Flowers, Sunshine, gentle breezes, feeling stronger each day as you head towards the wonderful summer. Yes, that’s how it’s supposed to work, and trust me, I’m ready for it. But not today. Today was, hopefully, winter’s last gasp.

It really wasn’t that much of a gasp though. It rained steadily as we climbed Kings, thankfully not very quickly (because Kevin had gone on a hike Sunday instead of riding, and he was hurting in places he didn’t know you could hurt!). It was about 200 meters from the top when we saw the tree fallen across the road. We had to have been first upon the scene, as we hadn’t passed any cars backing away from it (no room to turn around). Had to have happened within maybe a two minute window, yet even with our slow speed, we weren’t close enough to hear it.

I hoped that we could do our regular civic duty (as self-appointed road hazard crew for Kings Mountain) and move the tree to the side, but it was readily apparent this tree, relatively small at is was, was much too heavy for us. Maybe if there had been two others riding this morning, maybe we could have moved it far enough for cars to pass through. No problem for bikes though, as we could walk over the top of it on the right side. I briefly thought about walking under it, before realizing that might not be the place to be if the tree decided to finish its descent to the road at the wrong time.

Moving cones to indicate the road is closed
By the time we got past and made it to the top we’d warned off several cars (before they could get so far it would be difficult to back up), and once up top, repurposed a few traffic cones to close off the downhill lane. It was surprising how many motorists we came across on Skyline that weren’t familiar with the area, asking for directions on how else to get to Woodside. Thankfully we later confirmed that 84 was open, so we hadn’t been directing them into harms’ way.

If this winter did keep up, which it won’t, we might have to resort to stashing some traffic cones at various points along Kings, as well as some “road closed he to fallen tree” signs.

Best thing about this? The next “local” resident that thinks we shouldn’t be out there, on their roads, when there might be weather-caused issues… well, I can really let them have it. I mean seriously, I have yet to see a motorist stop to move rocks or branches from the roadway; they just drive around them, not even thinking about the next person driving along, who might not spot that big rock until they’re ruined a tire (or worse). OK, it’s not actually in my nature to “let them have it” but there are times I’ll confess to thinking it.

Push this button or another one of your roads will fail!

This puts the West Old LaHonda road closure in perspective (Highway 35 about 3.5 miles south of Saratoga Gap/Highway 9).
A different sort of ride today as younger Kevin had other plans. I’ve obviously had a need to check out the local road conditions, and how can you pass up an opportunity to check out that missing section of 35? Of course, getting there was half, no, 1/4, nah, maybe 1/16th the fun.

I headed south with a route through the foothills, dropping by our Los Altos store to say hi, before heading up one of the local roads I most-dread. Redwood Gulch. That was another opportunity to check out a heavily-damaged local road although it really didn’t seem that bad. Not much water on the road, and just a couple places where it was slightly narrower than normal. Redwood Gulch has actually been on the county’s list of “closed” roads, but there was no signage indicating that. It wasn’t a pretty climb, but I survived. Sometimes that’s enough.

Lots of hillside slippage evident climbing Highway 9, including a short section of traffic-light-controlled one-way pavement. A little bit tight for bikes and cars together, but manageable, and it’s not too long.

The really good news was that Mr Mustard was present at Saratoga Gap. I debated briefly whether I ought to fuel up before going off to see the missing roadway, or after. The decision was made when a young guy in team kit pulled up, and I had a bit too much pride to want to be seen eating something as healthy as a hot dog in front of him. So off I went, past the signs that said “Road closed 2 miles.” I didn’t really know how far it was going to be, so I was a bit relieved it was just two miles.

Well, 3.7 miles later I found it. It’s not like you can miss it… one set of barriers about a thousand feet away (stops cars but not bikes), and another set, with a fence, about 20 feet from where the road ends. I took some photos through and over the fence before going around the left side to get a bit better shots from the other side. It’s not like I came anywhere close to the edge though! Just didn’t want the fence in the photo.

After that it was a mostly-downhill ride back to Saratoga Gap and Mr. Mustard! I did have a minor incident with a car on the way; a group of young guys drove past me pretty close, with someone deciding it would be fun to tap me on the back as they passed, while someone in the front seat was taking a photo. Idiots, yes, but I’m pretty tough to rattle.

So of course, right as I pull up, so do another young cyclist, in racing kit, and I’m thinking yeah, whatever, I’m having my hot dog anyway. I’m not that proud. Funny thing… the kid ordered one too!

I was a bit surprised, looking at Strava telling me my run across Skyline, from Saratoga Gap to 84, was my personal best. It didn’t feel that fast. Descending 84 from Sky Londa, I checked out the mythical “driveway route” that exits from the northern side of the building with the general store. It bypasses the first of the two one-lane signal lights on the 84 descent, which could save a bit of time. Unfortunately, you’ve got to thread your way underneath a gate and pass more than one “no trespassing” sign before you can get where you need to be. A better option would be to hike over a small barrier that prevents traffic from Skyline using it as an alternate route; that barrier’s location can be seen here. Either way does get you past that first light, and in front of the second one where I noticed, for the first time, the signage that says “BICYCLES MUST PUSH BUTTON.” Must??? I mean, what happens if I don’t? I brought it up later with my son, who says that sign has been up there ever since the signal went in. Maybe I noticed it this time because I had plenty of time waiting for it to turn green and there were no other cars in front or behind me.