February 27, 2016

The Clean-up Crew

Gray clouds loomed over the hills (where we were headed, of course). It was a leap of faith that the skies would clear. [And they did.]

Field of yellow flowers with distant green hills and puffy clouds, San Benito County, California
I was bringing up the rear, as usual. [Note to self: Ride back into shape. Soon.]

A pond and trees in a small valley, with low clouds lingering in front of distant mountains, San Benito County, California
It was an ideal day to visit some little-traveled roads east of Tres Pinos. Roads that snake through wide-open rolling hills, dead-ending at gates to private ranches. The hills are green, now, and the cattle are fat. Dramatic cliffs pop up in surprising places.

Red rocks and green hills, Quien Sabe Road, San Benito County, California
I regret not pausing to snap a photo of the oh-so-blue sky and green hills reflected on the surface of a pond, with a bull lounging nearby. “I'll stop on the way back,” I thought. But then, some twenty minutes later, a stiff wind rippled the water. A memory, that's all.

Having learned that lesson, I did stop for a peculiar alignment of cloud and hillside.

Clouds rise vertically above a hillock, San Benito County, California
Heading back toward Tres Pinos, I spied not three pines, but three enormous buzzards on the road. One with wings spread wide, the other two picking at a freshly flattened ground squirrel. I slowed; they were surprisingly reluctant to move, and promptly circled back to their prize once I'd passed.

The longest ride I've done in a while: 46 miles, 3,440 feet of climbing. Sleep well tonight, I will.

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