Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Heat Did Me In

Yesterday, I was rescued by firefighters for a training exercise.  Perhaps that explains why I felt so faint and pooped today.  No, not really.  The heat overwhelmed me and I was only able to do 34 of the 38 or so miles of the lovely route Miss P. mapped out for our club ride in the Santa Cruz Mtns.  Off to drink more water.  See you later when I've recovered....  p.s., Miss A joined us, having returned from Germany only to be shipped off again soon.

Monday, July 21, 2014

One Last Hike

After Bumpass Hell, we decided to continue hiking to Cold Boiling Lake.  We were surprised by the dramatic change in scenery.  It was stunning.

Just stunning.

Miss P taking in the wildflowers and the sheer beauty of it all.  Alas, our legs could take no more and we bid farewell to the park.  I gave the car keys to Miss P and she drove us off into the sunset, ending a most wonderful road trip. 

Some Like It Hot

It was like Hell, the noise that is.  Unbelievable.  Where are we now while in Lassen Volcanic State Park?

We're in Bumpass Hell at 8,000 ft.  Here's the description:

Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the park, and marks the principal area of upflow of steam and discharge from the Lassen hydrothermal system (see illustration in photo gallery below). The temperature of high-velocity steam jetting from Big Boiler, the largest fumarole in the park, has been measured as high as 322°F (161°C), making it one of the hottest fumaroles in the world.

Time for Lunch

We ate lunch at Lake Helen.  My photos don't do justice to the color of the lake. 

At this time of the year, this lake can be half frozen but not this year due to the drought.  Lunch break over and time for our next adventure .....

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Sunday, July 20th

Well folks, we ain't done yet with our road trip.  Next up, Lassen Volcanic National Park, and first hike of the day, Lassen Peak.

Start of the climb at 8,512 feet.  See what looks like a trail.  Well, it's not.  That's where idiots decided to venture off the trail, and create what is called The Scar.  In fact, today, rangers were dispatched to capture said bandits, and Miss P. helped by giving them a description of the offenders.  You go Girl.  Please people, respect nature, respect our parks.

It was ever so exciting.  I was determined to do the climb despite suffering vertigo.  Part of the trail is closed due to restoration but we were able to get as far as the Grand View.  Well, I got almost as far ....



Wow again.  Great hike.  But we weren't done.

McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park

You think Miss P and I were done after biking 88 miles for the Fall River Mills Century ride.  Heck no.  Let's get this party started, people.  We headed on over to McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park and took in the incredible thundering white water falls -- a natural and welcome air conditioner to beat the heat.

Hello, I loved this park.  We watched people fishing for trout.

We walked along a nice path, taking in the views, enjoying the sounds of the Falls and its cooling effects.  There's a lot of history to read up on about this park, including the Pit River tribes, and the families involved in saving and preserving this land for generations to come.  Thank you.  Plus, I got a good and much needed latte at the store.

Benches along the trail, this one is for The Boyfriend.  I'm glad we had the chance to visit this park.

Fall River Mills Century

 Saturday, July 19th 

At 6:30am, Miss P and I rode from our hotel in Fall River Mills to the fairgrounds, the starting location for the 20th anniversary of the Fall River Mills Century.  It was a four mile warm up.  Our early start was twofold:  first to beat the heat (the temperature in the area hovered close to 100 degrees later in the day) and to take advantage of the pancake and egg breakfast.  At the start of the ride, we were surprised and delighted by a hum of electrically driven paragliders. The best ever century ride send off.  Loved it.

Back track.  At our breakfast, we chatted with other riders.  Some came from Oregon.  Some from other parts of California.  Interesting mix of people.

The beginning of the ride took us through flat lands of farms.  Alfalfa.  Perhaps some rice fields, too.  Peaceful and sweet, as one imagines a small town.  And lots of flowers.

There were maybe 300 of us on this ride.  I loved the Ponderosa Pine, one of the many conifers in the state of California.  The fire in the Redding area meant that some of our views, particularly of Mt. Shasta were obscured but heck, it was still a beautiful ride.  It was only 3900 feet or so of climbing but you know what, in the heat we encountered, believe me, you would not want more.  As the day progressed, so did the heat.

This particular road was a fabulous nontechnical descent.  Loved it.

As the day wore on, so did the heat.  We certainly appreciated the rest stops and the volunteers. 

Another great view.  Around mile 70, it was probably close to 100 degrees.  And at about this time, as we were climbing a hill, Miss P. got a flat.  Lo and behold, a SAG truck appeared.  Yay!  We pulled into a rest stop that was, wait, wait for it, sponsored by the library!!  OMG.  And the guy who took care of Miss P. recognized us from when we biked along Hwy 299 to the start.  Loved it.  We didn't do the century but we came close.  Fabulous ride.  Good food, good people.   Support your local town.  Thank you.

Just the Stats:

88.29 miles
35.5 mph descent
12.2 avg mph
7 hr 15 min

Road Trip!

Friday, July 18th

Months ago, when Miss P. suggesting doing the Fall River Mills Century, I was like, "Yeah babe, let's hit the road."  Girlie Road Trip, my first ever, taking my Mom's car.  As some of you may recall, my mom gave me her car back in November and I got a Kuat hitch rack, specifically for future bike road trips.  As some of you also know, my mother died May 1 after living with brain cancer for 14 months.  My mother loved to travel. I honor her by seeing the world in her car with my friend, Miss P. 

At a highway rest stop, we met other cyclists also on their way to Fall River Mills to do the century.  Ha ha.  Our drive went smoothly and we arrived in the late afternoon.  Fall River Mills has a population around 600+.  We found the fairgrounds to register and we decided it was easier and safe enough to bike to the start on Hwy 299 Sat morning.  The woman who took our details was the owner of the Fall River Mills hotel.  She was originally from the Bay Area. Love the whole small town feel.  We ate dinner at her hotel restaurant.  This is the 20th year for doing this century ride.  Probably only 300 riders for this year's event.   We learned all this because we met this lovely gentleman who is the town's historian.  He was probably in his late 70s and full of a lot of local color, thus adding to our wonderful experience in FRM.  We breakfasted with him our last day and he gave me a local brew to give to The BF.  These are the moments that make such road trips wonderful.  Thank you Don.  And thank you Mom. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Adventure in Alum Rock Park

At the start of our hike into Alum Rock Park from  Peacock Gap trail off Crothers Road.  I so want to return to Crothers (a left turn a few miles up Mt. Hamilton) and bike its steepish rollers.

Today's hike was a loop going along the mostly shady South Rim Trail.  We were determined not to get lost as we tend to do on our hikes.  Once again, the weather was mild and we had a swell breeze.

Besides great views, we encountered not too difficult switchbacks and this lovely bridge.  We also encountered to my delight other scenic views, namely the 3 shirtless runners....

We were so proud of ourselves having not gotten lost as we entered the park proper.  And then came the decision, "Hmm, is it this way or that way?"  Of course we got lost.  I asked a woman who swore she knew all the trails blah blah blah and told us to take so and so trail.  Of course we got even more lost.

And this is when the unexpected happened.  A rattlesnake came out of nowhere and it either brushed my leg or grabbed my pant.  I don't really recall.  All I know is that I saw an anaconda as far as I was concerned and I shook my leg violently or maybe I kicked the rattlesnake.  And then I ran. 

My fellow hikers ran down a small hill to avoid the trail and said anaconda.  We were all spooked.  And then, we saw six deer hopping and darting about; that helped calm our nerves.  They were magnificent.

So, we were still lost, obviously on the wrong trail, thanks to said woman who swore she knew all the trails in the park blah blah blah, when, of course, wait, wait for it, I met a man.  No you say!  As said man and I were walking and talking, we passed a restoration area.  I asked him what did he supposed was being restored.  He joked nothing was being restored.  It was to hide the mother ship.  OMG, a fellow friend with an overactive imagination. Loved it.

He showed us the way out.  Enough nature, enough adventure for one day, you know.  6.5 miles.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What I Did For Ice Cream

What I did for ice cream -- went through a tunnel (the one near California Ave. train station in Palo Alto).  The morning was chilly and overcast but quickly brightened with sunshine as we biked through nicely landscaped Palo Alto neighborhoods.

Oooh, Gate 3 with its no entry sign because that's where the aliens reside, also known as Palo Altoids.

Not an alien coming my way, though they could be hiding in the thick brush.  We had a fair amount of cyclists and cars on Page Mill Road today.  A lot of mtn. bikers too.  The weather was pleasant making the climb almost, dare I say, enjoyable. 

Guess what I finally found (thanks to Miss P and another cyclist). The water spigot!  Just look for the blue sky and the tree and hope there aren't any aliens lurking about.  Oh alrighty, look for the row of boulders and nearby are the Montebello and Los Trancos parks.    By the way, thanks to a club member, over at the Russian Ridge parking lot after crossing Skyline, if you go under the tunnel, you'll come to the visitor's center and it too has water.  Who knew. 

Lovely view for the descent before arriving at the club's annual ice cream social.  A couple of mouthfuls of Rocky Road and I was ready for my nap.  Funny thing, Page Mill used to be a challenge.  Not that I got up it any faster.  Doing Montebello last week was much harder.  Perhaps the weather was a factor, or the delightful members on the ride, or because I did it for ice cream.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nice Way to Celebrate the 4th

My once a year pancake breakfast with fellow cyclists before taking off to do a 4th of July club ride.  Different this year -- The Boyfriend was in town and joined me.

The route:   starting from the church on Hamilton and Leigh, we planned to climb Montebello, Redwood Gulch, Bohlman (well not really; perhaps in your dreams but not mine), Sanborn Youth Hostel, and then return through Saratoga and Los Gatos back to the church.

Miss P. went off to do Redwood Gulch while The BF and I climbed Montebello.  The BF stayed with me as I sang loudly and probably badly.  omg!

What and who do you suppose awaited me around one bend on the climb?   You guessed it.  A fire engine complete with handsome firemen.  omg!

The BF is now convinced that they track me down and that my blog posts contain the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. 

At the top of Montebello (whew glad that sucker was over with), we met up with fellow cyclists and Mr. G.

The BF decided not to do any of the remaining climbs.  omg!  I was so disappointed.  Not!  My lucky day, eh.

We deviated from the route sheet, climbing Mt. Eden instead (recently paved and a delight), and then, descending Pierce, past the million dollar homes with some of the prettiest gardens I've seen (and clearly native and drought resistant plants).  Nice.

The BF wanted to stop not once but twice for drinks (alas not the kind with umbrellas).  omg!  He almost never stops on a ride.  But the sun beat down upon us and a stop here and there was a good thing.   41 miles later and we were done for the day.  What a nice way to celebrate the holiday!