Day 1. Thursday, June 3, Santa Cruz to Grant Park E of San Jose (43 miles)

It was fitting for my first day that I got a little bit of everything: rain, sun, coastal plain, mountains, off-road, on-road, cool weather, and cool weather (well, this is Santa Cruz).

The morning started out rainy, and I wasn't looking forward to starting my trip wet. But it mostly cleared by 10:30. I finished up cleaning the apartment that I'd been living in for the last two years locked the door, and got on my bike. I kept asking myself "Do I know what I'm doing?" (to which the answer is, of course, "No way!")

Picture of bike on Capitola Beach

I left about 11:00 AM, and rode from my apartment in Santa Cruz over Soquel-San Jose road. This road leads from Capitola, a beach town, up through the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. There was a good climb to the top, and when I got to the summit I thought I was finished climbing. I was wrong. After a bit of glorious downhill on Old Santa Cruz highway, I found steep up-and-down climbing on Alma Bridge Road, along Lexington Reservoir. I once more wondered if I really needed all the stuff I was carrying. An unpaved bike path in reasonable shape took me from the reservoir to Los Gatos. From Los Gatos, I took city streets over to Fry's (an electronics store and geek Mecca) to replace the CF card.

But it was already 6:30, and I was planning to camp about 12 miles from there, up Mt. Hamilton road. I was tired and sore, and didn't think I could go any further. Luckily, my close friend Gretchen was waiting at Fry's (we had planned to camp together), and drove me and the bike to the Grant county park, where we camped.

Gretchen and I had enjoyed bicycling together and having deep conversations. She has even picked up the recumbent bug, having bought my prior recumbent (a Linear CLWB). I was glad that she was seeing me off, and sad that I wouldn't be seeing her again for a long while.

Picture of camp at Grant Park

Grant Park is just over the first ridge of mountains east of San Jose. Camping there, you can easily forget that the hustle of Silicon Valley is just over the ridge. The hills are covered with small trees and shrubs, and there's only a few ranch buildings in sight. There was only one other tent there: a couple of young mountain bikers who were setting up for a weekend race.

Didn't have to cook, as I'd picked up a burrito in San Jose.