September 29, 2018

Wildlife Week

Commuting to work this week, no earlier than usual, I was surprised when a coyote popped out of some bushes and trotted across the road, heading in the opposite direction. It was handsome (well-fed) and not the least bit interested in me.

Then I was even more surprised when a second one popped out, following the first. I'd seen one, years ago, in the same neighborhood—but much earlier in the morning.

That was more than the usual wildlife for the week, but ... little did I know.

While the rest of our group today chose to head out on Calaveras Road, as far as they could (it's still closed near the dam), I chose to skip that part and head straight up Felter. If I were to combine them, I'd rather tackle Felter first—but that was not their plan.

I was thinking about the time I saw a bobcat sitting upright in a field along this road, and then ...

A bobcat darted across the road, about 20 feet in front of me! Slightly bigger than a domestic cat, with that distinctive bobbed tail—no doubt about it.

The air was clear, the cloud formations were interesting, the sun was shining. There were turkeys, quail, a snake, and one scrawny tarantula. The scenery looked like an oil painting, the way the light fell on the hills. I chatted with a guy at the summit on Sierra Road. He wondered if there were more vista points (not really). I explained that he'd see the Calaveras Reservoir if he kept driving, but warned him that the road is barely one lane wide, with many blind corners.

Descending back the way I came, I was grateful to be on one of the wider sections when a red Ferrari approached in the opposite lane. I wonder how his drive turned out? There are long stretches where two cars really cannot pass.

And there are times when a single car should not pass, like the place where I boldly took the lane and signaled, palm back, with my outstretched left arm. Because at that moment, a bunch of cyclists were coming downhill in the opposite lane. I pulled to the right when it was safe, only to be yelled at by the eco-driver in the maroon electric vehicle that I'm supposed to stay to the right. [Right.] If you can't safely pass me [3 feet, it's the law] I am going to help you understand that, by taking the lane. It's a pity that you had to wait 5 or 10 seconds to pass. [Seriously.]

A scenic 19 miles with 2,195 feet of climbing. I waved to the rest of the group when I passed them (climbing) as I descended.

Maybe I should have taken that right turn and finished Calaveras ...

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