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Help me connect my garage to the ocean.

820 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  K-max
I've been wanting to ride out of my garage in south San Jose to the ocean and back for a while now. I think I may try it this weekend as I have the time available. I live close to the hills and know that just a "few" ridges further is Santa Cruz. I always thought it'd be cool to traverse them to the beach, hitting as much dirt as possible. However, barring a whole lot of road riding, I have no idea how to do it. Riding road isn't out of the question, in fact I'll have to most of the way, but it'd be nice to connect as much fireroad (or singletrack!) along the way. I was looking at Google's hybrid satellite map feature (cool) and saw that I could go:

through Santa Teresa Park
To Quicksilver Park
To Hicks Rd
To Mt Umunhum Rd
To Loma Prieta Rd
To Summit Rd
Then up into Soquel Demo (Hinckley Creek Road?)
Then down Aptos Creek Rd

That's just one option. Anyone know a better route? One that goes through Big Basin perhaps?

I have no idea of the mileage of this route so I'm not sure how long this would take, but I figured I'd tow my BOB trailer with camping gear and set up camp if I run out of light or legs. I could even make it a bigger one way trip and get a ride back, which might be a nice option.

Any thoughts? Experiences?
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It's doable...

But it would be much more fun on a spring day when much more daylight is available and it is still pretty cool. The trailer thing is a great idea if you are going to do it this time of year. Could be done w/o trailer easy (well, sort of) if you waited for a longer daylight part of the year.

You' got a real purty mouth

K-max said:
To Mt Umunhum Rd
To Loma Prieta Rd
To Summit Rd
Lots of banjo music and snaggle-toothed guys in old trucks and jeeps with guns up around this area. I wouldn't do it.

There's some decent looking watershed sw of Umunhum (Cathermola and even some st north of that) that drops down to Lake Elsman. It's all got a giant no-tresspassing sign on it though.

What about the other way: Fremont Older, Steven's Creek Cyn, Saratoga Gap, not down Skyline-to-the-Sea (no bikes), then Big Basin/Gazos Cr Rd or China Grade to Butano Fire Rd.

If you went through Butano there are some Hike-In campsites right off the road at the top of the park complete with an outhouse. You could drop your gear at the top, ride down to the beach and stock up at the gas station/store, ride back up, camp, and go home the next day. A couple miles north in Pescadero there's a Taqueria and a bar!
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Oh, yeah

Fast Eddy said:
Lots of banjo music and snaggle-toothed guys in old trucks and jeeps with guns up around this area. I wouldn't do it.
I forgot about that! Been awhile since I lived in the area. But you are so right about this!

stash your gear...

This is a great idea Kyle. If you decided to go the Big Basin route, I could hook you up with a guy who lives on China Grade and you could stash your gear at his house. You could easily make it to his house in one day (35 miles from my house in LG), spend a day riding and exporing down to the beach, then ride back on the third day.

Hey, that sounds pretty fun. Lemme know when you plan on going. If we rode in the spring maybe, we could start on a night ride on Friday and make a weekend out of it.

I would love to do this, too

If you do hold off until spring, I'd come up from SoCal. My parents live in San Jose and my sister and her husband live in Santa Cruz, which could be helpful.

Epics are best!
Banjo-pickin'? Sweet!

They must be happy people, there's no sad banjo music. :D

Your route sounds good. More dirt. I think that may be a more scenic way, anyway. Whatever I decide to do this weekend, I'm going to plan a multi-day ride for the spring. Sounds like there's some interest here. It'd be a lot of fun with more people, especially if there were some strategically located stashes and maybe even a place to crash.
I rode something similar about 10 years ago. I was in Campbell, in my early twenties, and bored with work and Campbell in general. So on a whim I took off out of the garage on a 3 day weekend. Of course none of my buds would come as what I was doing would take actual work.

All I had was a a little bit of money, a map, a sleeping bag, and some very basic eats, all on a back rack.

I rode up past Lexington reservoir late in the afternoon and raced the sun to Summit road. Did I mention I was out of shape? I figured I would get in shape on the way (that didn't work out too well). I slept just off of Summit road, just before the land slide covers it. Woke up in the morning just above fog line, beautiful.

Then travered the land slide and continued on the road past the illegal shooting range, with assorted appliances etc. Cue banjo music. Then rode up to the back of a long park I cannot remember the name of (Niesene Marks?) and wheeled down the fire road for about 9 miles and came out near Capitola. Grubbed a burrito on the bearch and started riding north to Gazos Creek along hwy 1.

Note that wind off the ocean will be in your face when riding north. The whole way...

Well I broke some spokes on the way, ran out of water, but made it and camped on the beach. I thought it would be glamorous sleeping on the beach, but it is a harsh evironment. Wind, bugs and high tide kept me awake.

Next morning I woke up, begged someone for water then rode up Gazos Creek road (?) and into the back of Big Basin. Rode fire roads throughout Big Basin popping out near hwy 9 and back up over Summit Road. This day was the hardest, as I was fatigued, sun burned, wind burned, out of food, out of money, and running out of water and it was all up hill on hwy 9. Ping, ping, more spokes breaking. Being in my early twenties, meant that having proper tools for the ride was out of the question.

I earned Summit Road and to reward myself bombed down hwy 9 towards Saratoga. by this time I had lost 4 spokes and my rear wheel was so out of true it was almost rubbing the stays (1.5 tires). Zoom! Ping! Another spoke gone. Zoom! Ping! Ok, slow down.

The rest of the ride was mellow and about savoring my acheivement.

It was an eye opener for me. I changed on that ride. Discovered things about myself and about the generosity and warmth of strangers. It was truely epic for me. Adventure can be had at home.

A huge help is the Bay Area Bicycling map (dunno the name), it can be bought at most bike shops. It shows the traffic density of roads, MTB open fire roads and trails we can ride as well as the gradients of the hills.

As Henry Rollins says (screams):

Mr. P
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Hey Brian, that sounds great! Let's just plan on setting this up in the spring. If we could arrange it to where we don't need to haul gear, we could go further and make a big crazy loop out of it. It'd be lots of fun and I'm sure others would be interested, too.
You're on. Look for the official post in the spring. We'll set it up and then go big.
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