Monday, January 17, 2011

CenCal Tag Run 01/16/11

After enjoying being able to ride in the nice weather to the Junction RTE I decided to go for it and move the CenCal Tag on Sunday the 16th. I got a pretty late start but I finally left just before noon and the whole San Jose area was still pretty much fogged in, making it about the 3rd or 4th day in a row of being socked in until well into the afternoon.

I started by grabbing the existing tag, which is the Pat Tillman Memorial located in the New Almaden area, directly across the street  from the Hacienda entrance to Almaden Quicksilver County Park. I stopped for a few minutes to take the tag picture and reflect on his life, remembering to say a silent thank you to him for his service before I mounted up and went one my merry way.

Since I had decided where to put the new tag before I left on my tag run, I headed to Paicines. I made quick stop along the way to have lunch at Togo's in Hollister and then hit the road once again. Once I was past Hollister all the fog just disappeared and the weather was gorgeous. The scenery along the way with beautiful green rolling hills and the farms was lovely. I felt myself wanting to stop to take photos every 10 feet!

I finally made it to the Panoche Inn, my choice for the next tag location. There were only a of pirates there when I arrived so I was able to park in the primo taking position. Of course I failed to realize when I parked on the slight and very gravelly incline was going to make muscling the STeed off the kickstand difficult... Fortunately, I was able to get it done without any stupid stunts, slipping feet, or begging for help...

After taking my tag photo, I didn't feel like turning around and going back the same way as I came so I continued down Panoche Road and took the fork in the road where the sign was to get to New Idria, about 27 miles further. And since my GPS was telling me that eventually it would come out at Coalinga Road I decided to see where it really led me.

I didn't realize I had reached New Idria and I just kept on going. Not too far afterwards I came upon the warning sign that says beware the road is not county maintained... which is the beginning of the Clear Creek Management Area apparently. I made it about 1/2 mile or so past that, after the pavement had mostly disappeared and ruts replaced it, and on up the hill a bit... I finally was able to turn around where there were 2 or 3 boarded up buildings (no photo unfortunately) and plenty of room to easily maneuver the bike.

If I had known how ugly the ride back down that part was going to be I would have found a way to turn myself around a lot sooner. It was really starting to remind me a little too much of my Grand Canyon adventure riding. I was willing to do a pretty rough paved road but not a four wheelin' road... 

Actually I should have turned around when I saw the only other traffic was ATVs...

I'm pretty sure I could have gone further but I did NOT enjoy going back down that hill at all... and I fear it would have only gotten worse. There was one part I wasn't sure if I'd be staying upright on but I was okay.

On my way back out I found this cool building and decided it would make a great extra credit tag...

I still didn't go back to the same way I came in. I made it back to Panoche Road and then turned onto Little Panoche Road towards Mercey Hot Springs and I5. I headed north on I5 and then took Hwy 152 to Gilroy and made my way home from there. About the time I passed Mercey Hot Springs the fog was back and persisted the rest of my way home. 

Another excellent day with Gigolo!

Trip total: ~290 miles

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