May 28, 2018

Upside, Downside

Calaveras Reservoir and the hills beyond, with sticky monkeyflower blooming in the foreground, Calaveras Road near Milpitas, California
The upside to the closure on the backside of Calaveras Road is the near-absence of traffic. [We shared the road with a total of three motorcycles, all well-behaved.]

The downside is that we can't ride all the way to Sunol, as is our wont. [Despite the helpful pointer from one member of our group that the road goes all the way. You're new here, aren't you?] Another member with intimate knowledge explained that although they did repair the slide damage, they've decided it's easier to keep it closed for a few more months and not have to sweep the road every weekend to clear the gravel dropped by trucks working on the dam.

It's not unusual to hear something rustling in the brush on back roads. Birds and lizards can make a surprising amount of noise in the dry leaves, especially if they set off a small cascade of debris. I glanced to my right and this time saw a small doe scampering away.

It was promising to be a hot day, though it turned out to be rather pleasant. I still face “the wall” with due trepidation, but as I grind my way up I admit it's not as bad as it used to seem. By the time we were heading back, a welcome wind had picked up. The hillsides had a golden hue, carpeted with sticky monkeyflower in bloom.

Round trip offered a mere 27 miles and 2,000 feet of climbing—and that will have to do until the road goes through again. Signage claimed September. [Promises, promises.]

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