Deb and I went riding last weekend, which was fun as it was our first ride together. She’d been up to Alice’s and environs on her Buell, but not yet on the YZF, so we decided to head on up there.
Deb and Ben rode over to my house, where Deb and I exchanged excited banter about the trip, and the boys commiserated about how their womenfolk were insane to ride “in the cold” (note: about 50F). Peter wished us well, Deb and I rode to the gas station, and Ben headed back towards the freeway to ride home (it was her first freeway ride on the YZF, so he tagged along to make sure nothing exploded or flew off the bike).
I ran through the rough itinerary with Deb and we were off! I led during the first portion of the ride, since I was taking us the Sekrit Way up to Alice’s (Stevens Canyon/Pierce Road to Hwy 9). I hung back a bit, as much for my own good as for Deb’s, but she was right behind me the whole way. Once we got to Highway 9, we separated for a bit due to stupid cagers indiscriminantly using turnouts, but we reunited at the next intersection. I’d forgotten yet again this year that it’s Christmas Tree season up in the hills — people drive their pickups and minivans up to Skyline, get a tree, lash it on, and then drive about four miles per hour back home. You really get to examine the ends of many Christmas trees while riding in the hills in early December.
We made it up to Alice’s with no problems (nor frostbite, you wimpy boys!) and had just settled down on the patio for some nice hot chili when Tony appeared! Turns out that he’d been up there riding with a Tuono group, and he was about to leave for home when he noticed our bikes. He joined us for yummy warm food and told us about the road conditions on Pescadero/Highway 84.
I put Deb in the lead on Highway 84, heading down to the coast, so that I could snap some pictures of her. 😉 She was riding really well for having a brand new bike.
As we neared the open area right at the western end of Hwy 84, we got behind a slow-moving pickup truck who was doing that really irritating thing of sort of half pulling over to the shoulder, so you can’t really tell if he wants you to pass him or whether he’s just driving like shit. Deb backed off — wisely, as it turned out, because all of a sudden, a 2×4 came flying out of the back of his pickup truck and went flying straight back at us! Deb was far enough behind that she didn’t even have to hard brake; she was a complete superstar. I have no idea whether she rode over the plank or avoided it — it happened pretty quickly.
We pulled over at the San Gregorio General Store to giggle about the 2×4 and decide where to go next. As we were discussing it, a grumpy old woman waddled out of the building next to the general store and started yelling at us. “You’re shouting!” she cackled. “If you want to shout, go stand by the road” (which, incidentally, was exactly where we were). She mumbled something about how we should clean up our acts and shut the hell up, and waddled away again. Deb and I burst into giggles and rode off towards Highway 1. As we passed the parking area, I saw the old woman again, and I shouted for her to have a nice day, which earned me a big ol’ stinkeye. I figure I’m authentic biker scum now, as I have been chastised by a grumpy old woman.
Highway 1 and Pescadero Road were uneventful. I didn’t get any pictures of this section, as my camera battery helpfully crapped out right after our stop at San Gregorio.
When we hit the intersection of Pescadero Road and Alpine Road, Deb pulled over and asked if I wanted to try Alpine. Neither of us had done it before, so we decided to go for it. I’d heard it was narrow and windy, and it delivered. I had a blast; Deb was probably wishing the roads were a weee bit wider, especially when an oncoming Christmas Tree-bearing SUV came barrelling around one blind corner right smack dab in Deb’s lane.
Eventually, we made it up to Skyline, where Alpine becomes Page Mill Road and heads north down into Palo Alto. We started down the hill; I went in the lead this time at Deb’s request. Partway down the hill, I got behind a bicyclist who apparently decided that he owned the entire lane, as he drifted from curb to centerline and back through turns — he was basically following a motorcycle line through the corners, but at about 20 mph. I finally got around him by gunning it in one of the very few straights — I felt like a big asshole, but the guy was just not letting me pass.
About five turns later, I came around a corner to find three deer smack in the middle of the road. I slammed on my brakes and came to a complete stop so that the deer could decide where they were going. Two immediately jumped into the brush and ran away, but this huge deer remained in the road, staring at me. I began to get nervous that a car was going to tear around the corner behind me and plow right into the back of me. The deer finally turned away and followed its family off into the brush, right as that same bicyclist rounded the corner. “PULL TO THE SIDE!” he screamed at me as he pedalled past, as though I’d just decided to park myself in the middle of a curvy mountain road for no bloody reason.
Anyway, Deb and I finally made it down to Highway 280, where I took off towards home. It was a great ride, despite various people and animals trying to kill us.
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