So yesterday we had a lovely warmshowers host, Oleg and Lera, both PhD Students at Stanford and with bigger travel dreams. They have been in some stunning places and had a nice collage of pictures on the wall (I have planned for one myself, but I don’t really have a home now). Oleg was home and decided to make dinner, and we helped out with Krissi cooking some and I heading to my natural state of being the dishwasher!
They were a lovely couple and we had fun chatting with them till, nearly, midnight and continued in the morning over b’fast! Lera had to top the day up with some nice cookies and tea too! Awesome.
We scouted routes and figured we would take the path with the least distance and a reasonable climb instead of being too ambitious. Oleg suggested taking a bike path along the west end of Bay area along the residential quarters and the GPS suggested the same and we followed it. The first 30 km or so was along this urban sprawl of residential communities and it was pretty boring.
We rode the back ends of some of the prime Silicon valley properties and It was interesting to imagine that some of the technologies we use these days was developed by people here. I would have been excited to ride thro here in a different era.
We headed into Cupertino at some point and meandered our way out into a cute little town of Los Gatos. We had the hill starting soon and I decided to take a lunch break. A nice sandwich ought to do it!
The route had to go thro highway 17 for a short while before we took an exit to a quieter road. We thought 4 km might not be that much of a deal, but 17 turned out to be a nasty beast. No shoulders, 100+ kmph traffic, inconsiderate drivers, 2 lanes and a rock wall 2 inches from my shoulder. Add to it a constant 8-10% climb and a bitch of a headwind which would not let up.
It was pretty scary riding up this one and we were glad when we spotted the exit and got on to the Old Santa Cruz highway. This was a quieter road and was pleasant to ride with 7% grades and newly laid asphalt with switchbacks. Awesome. I love climbs that are not stressful. We rode up to the ridge and turned off into a pretty sketchy looking road. This was a cutoff and took us to another reasonably quiet highway after a few steep inclines.
This bit of road was beautiful gradual descent, but with lots of impatient drivers. ugh. The ride down was fun and we stopped off for a bit of coffee before heading to our next Warmshowers host for the evening.
We have not been using warmshowers along the coast much as there has been pleanty of campsites and we have met numerous interesting people along the way. But the Bay area is a bit tricky and we decided to find some locals to host us and advice us on the route and we have been lucky to have 2 exceptional hosts in the last couple of days.
Tonight We stay with Bart. He is an avid cyclist and has done a number of tours. We had a long chat with him in the evening and he patiently pored thro all the details of the route going south towards Santa Barbara. This was after we had a Snack, followed by a dinner and then an Ice cream dessert! Heh, Bart knows what cyclists need 🙂
Route: Palo Alto (Stanford) to Aptos (Santa Cruz)
Distance: 73 Km
Ascent: 3400 ft
Descent: 3300 ft
Expenses: $ 19.38
Comment: Heavy headwinds while climbing in traffic was a bit terrifying