Santa Rosa Creek Road! Just south of Cambria, it’s the jumping off point for many of my central coast adventures. It’s also one of the few roads that I can really measure my riding progress on as I gain experience and ability over the years.
From Santa Rosa Creek, our little group of Tony, Andrew, Gary, and I turned north onto Cypress Mountain Drive to begin the dualsport portion of the trip. It made me very happy that I was able to find other suckers willing to hit the dirt. 😉
It should be pointed out perhaps that any accolades I may feel I deserve for dualsporting on this trip are completely overshadowed by the accomplishments of my peers. Gary rode his heavy BMW R1200GS with Tourance tires, Tony had supermoto tires on his DRZ SM, and Andrew wins first prize for offroading for the first time on stock street tires. I felt rather like Fred Astaire…sure, I might be doing something cool, but my partner is doing the same thing backwards and in high heels.
Back to Cypress Mountain Drive. We passed a few wineries and ranch driveways but, for the most part, it’s a desolate road winding up into the Santa Lucia Mountains. The initial ascent is pretty steep and could be treacherous if muddy, but we had a clear day and the views were wonderful.
A friendly laborador came bounding out of nowhere while we were bullshitting at the top of the hill. She pounced around and played and jumped and drooled and was clearly ecstatic to see people. I’m pretty sure she would have run away with Andrew if given the chance. She led us down Cypress Mountain Drive for about a mile, running along with her tongue flapping in the wind, looking back to make sure her new friends were still with her.
Sadly, I was only able to get this blurry picture of her.
Farther along Cypress Mountain Drive is Klau Mine, an abandoned mercury mine (1868-1970) that is now a federal Superfund site. We made sure to stop and roll around on the ground and eat some of the soil hoping to glow in the dark.
I took some pictures once we were back on Cypress Mountain Drive but the mercury exposure must have somehow enlarged my fingers to gargantuan proportions as they make special guest appearances in all of those shots. It’s like the hand of god reaching down for Gary as he rides.
We regrouped on Chimney Rock Road, where the pavement began again for the next segment of our ride. For those following along at home, we took Chimney Rock to Nacimiento Lake Drive, where we stopped for our annual “park in the no parking zone” photos.
Vineyards off of Chimney Rock Road:
We stopped at the Bee Rock Store for lunch. It’s a fun little place with decent pizza and outdoor patio seating (only a port-a-potty though, if you care about such things) and a little daschund named Peanut.
The weather was so nice that I even busted out my “I *heart* Manatees!” hat. I predict everyone will be wearing them in the future.
…to be contined…