30 December, 2009

Tidepools @ Patrick's Point

Heather and I had a good day at Patrick's Point State Park. We witnessed the regular seals and sea lions, and a low tide offered a few surprises.

In the tide pools we found lots of hermit crabs, little fish, anemones, starfish, and tons of plants/barnacles/mussels.
we found Gumboot chiton just like this one
we found 2 large crabs
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28 December, 2009

2009 Review

JBG 2nd Year in Review

Top Ten Moments of 2009

10. Bull Creek: summer fun on the trails with friends.

9.  Thanksgiving/Briones: family, riding, Indian food. 

8.  Lagrange Fall Classic: a top finish in this fun Weaverville race.

7. Snow Camp & Redwood: riding to the headwaters of the tall trees.

6.  North Coast: wildlife and ocean views.

5.  Trinidad w/Heather: celebrating 4 years together.

4.  Wacky Wednesday: work canceled, two trail rides with friends.

3. Lassen National Park: hiking a volcanic wonderland.

2. Sea Otter Classic: four days of fun & my first CAT 1 race.

1.  San Luis Obispo: biking and hiking the beautiful coastal county.

26 December, 2009

Xmas training (wheels)

Tanner took his first ride on a bike yesterday. Equipped with new training wheels and helmet, he mounted his vintage Schwinn Pixie.

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21 December, 2009

Montana de Oro SP

We awoke to another promising morning at Montana de Oro State Park. I immediately felt the itch to prep bikes and start our ride.

The Hazard Peak trail is truly magnificent and the riding conditions were optimal. Even the climb is a pleasure on the hand crafted single-track.

The way down was that much better. Swoopy rollers on rocks transitioned into endless sandy berms (Berm – a banked corner: Roller - a repeated rise and fall of the trail).

Hazard Peak, a trail perfect for bikes!

High fives and two thumbs up. We picnicked at Corralina's Cove. While watching seals and a sea otter play in the surf, I threw our frisbee in the ocean. D'OH!

It was raining on and off, we hid under the unstable coastal cliffs to stay dry. When the precipitation persisted we retired to camp. A family of muddy mountain bikers rolled by and waved. I'm glad we got an early start. 

Corralina's Cove

The next morning we downed 2-for-1 breakfast burritos at the Breakfast Buzz. In Paso Robles we visited Franklin's Hotsprings to soak in natural sulphur springs.

Perfect end to vacation!

20 December, 2009

Poly Cannon, Bishop's Peak

We drove through Arroyo Grande to Pismo Beach before heading north along the coast. At Avila Beach Heather had a breakfast burrito.

California Polytechnic State University, or Cal Poly, owns beautiful hills with mountain biking leading into Los Padres National Forest.
Poly Cannon
After a short ride we decided to save the few hours of sunlight left to hike nearby Bishop's Peak.

click image for Bishop's Peak 360 panorama

As the sun was setting hikers poured up the challenging final ascent. Many seemed unprepared and seemingly oblivous to the setting sun. I was happy to have conquered the 1,550 foot peak before dark.
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19 December, 2009

Huasna Valley

We spun 13 miles up a dead end dirt road to Los Padres National Forest. The Huasna Valley was as relaxing as a foot massage.

picnic lunch location just short of the petroglyphs; me under the tree (left)

That night we feasted to replenish our 5 hour voyage. Under the moon and beside a fire, a Chardonnay from the Edna Valley delighted our senses.

18 December, 2009

SLO, Lopez Lake

This morning we headed into San Luis Obispo to check out the town. We started the day fueling up at New Frontiers natural food store.

Downtown the three public parking garages make for a pleasant and pedestrian friendly experience. We walked past a great number of businesses in a few blocks.
downtown SLO

We were really looking forward to "Taste", a wine tasting store, but it was out-of-business. SLO (county) has a proven reputation as a great wine producer, and this shop featured samples of 72 local wines available for purchase.

After a few hours we drove to El Chorro Regional Park north of town. The drive up HWY 1 was further than I hoped. The camping was decent, but hardly remote. We decided to get out of town.

On the way to Lopez Lake Recreation Area, we drove SW hrough the Edna Valley.

click here for a video, Ntl. Geographic wallpaper below!

We quickly pitched camp at a nearly empty Lopez Lake. The sun was setting early as we hiked along the ridge to take in the beauty of the hills and rolling vineyards.

Tomorrow we ride Huasna Valley.
from coast to mountains
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17 December, 2009

Montana de Oro State Park

We're officially on vacation! Yesterday we loaded up Heather's Volvo for it's first road trip. Sunny San Luis Obispo sits 230 miles south of San Francisco and 190 miles north of LA.

I could hardly wait for sunrise to start prepping the bikes. Montana De Oro has trails that are equally scenic and fun. We warmed up by spinning the flat "Bluff Trail".
endless views along 2 miles of coast

I was beside myself with joy. In many places bikes would not be allowed on a trail like this. A sign cautioned hikers to be alert for bikes (though it was made clear bikes must yield).

After second breakfast we headed out to conquer Hazard Peak. The route I chose up Isley Creek was less than ideal, but the peak trail itself is a gem.

my new favorite trail, our campground below

The path is littered with rocks at the top and transitions to dirt/sand by the bottom. One thing remains the same the whole way down; undeniable flow.

Heather commented "it's like it was made it for mountain bikes!" No coincidence says the Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers.

view of Morro Bay from Hazard Peak
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SLO video


09 December, 2009

Briones Reservoir

Briones Reservoir sits on the opposite side of Briones Regional Park from us. We've never been there since it requires a longer drive and fee permit. For $10 we bought a year long pass to 3 local reservoirs.

Another new park, another 3 hour hike.

Thanks to Heather for the photos!
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08 December, 2009

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park

Today I accompanied Heather to school at Ohlone College's Newark Center. This location was built "green" and features recycled materials, solar panels, an efficient heating/cooling system, 26 miles of underground coil that moderate the building's temperature, and an innovative storm water treatment landscaping.
click image for more information

On the way south we hiked Pleasanton Ridge.

The trails at Pleasanton Ridge look much like Briones, but the views are unique. The snow from Sunday added a special element to the distant ridges.

olive orchards!

I've thought about riding here but every decent trail is marked "no bicycles". I find that odd considering that horses are permitted.

Links to Pleasanton Ridge reviews w/pictures:
Bay Area Hiker-
Mtb Ogre-

06 December, 2009

Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline

After hitting up the year-round farmer's market at Walnut Creek, we hustled to get on the trail before the eminent rain.

The radar @ weather.gov showed a cell over Briones so we went slightly north to Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline.
Mt Diablo left in background
view of Carquinez Strait, part of San Francisco Bay
These pictures show the dry summer, but today it was lush green with rainbows in the nearby rain clouds. We found out it even hailed at home while we were gone!

Check out Bay Area Hiker for the best listing of trails w/photos.
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05 December, 2009

Briones, Hidden Lakes

Heather and I rode to Briones to tackle an extended section of single-track we found hiking a few days ago.

Then we walked 2 blocks to Hidden Lakes Park w/Spirit.

S-dawg and great blue heron

the race

04 December, 2009

Golden Gate Park, SF

Today Heather and I went to the newly reopened California Academy of Sciences. To get there we took two forms of public transportation and neither of them were buses!
MUNI and BART took us within 2 blocks

The new building has a green roof and features the biggest digital planetarium, an aquarium, and rain forest.

view from De Young Museum (click me!)
We saw an albino alligator, anaconda, giant salamander, lots of fishes, poison frogs, penguins, and other awesome animals.
freaky gator & snapping turtle
rain forest and tidal pools
Optibike, fancy electric bike in "Climate Change" corner

After browsing restaurants, we returned to our old stand-by. The list of awards is as long as the list of vegetarian dishes.

Marnee Thai Restaurant (4.5 of 5 stars)
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03 December, 2009

Mount Diablo

Heather and I had a perfect ride up Mount Diablo. We started at Shell Ridge and worked our way up a valley. We found some huge mushrooms!
Heather's glove = 7.5"

After a steep ascent up BBQ Terrace we cruised by rock formations and down Wall Point Road. The trail surface is mostly "slick-rock", solid sandstone.

Wall Point Road

Back at Shell Ridge we poached the gorgeous Indian Valley trail at sunset. The singletrack is amazing. Perfect ride.

We spent 4 hours and only saw 1 horse, 2 joggers, and over 20 mountain bikers. Maybe East Bay Parks management should stop hating on bikers?

View past Diablo trips under "Favorites" on right.
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