One of those “eventful” days I’d just as soon forget

It wasn't all bad news. Mushrooms a plenty.

It wasn’t all bad news. Mushrooms a plenty.

My favorite bike rides these days are “uneventful.” Nothing at all happens beyond a quiet bike ride in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Not so today.

It was in the high 30s when I left and it didn’t warm up until late afternoon. That made things unpleasant most of the ride, so it was already edging toward “eventful” territory.

As I rode north on Skyline on the long straight after Grizzly Flat Trail two cars approached one another going opposite directions at their usual high speed, but the car behind me had to slow abruptly (slight tire screech) when he realized there would be a three-way passing situation, all of us lined up side by side.

The driver didn’t take kindly to having to slow down and he made sure to let me know it was my fault. He drove up to my side and matched my speed. I stopped. He said, “Why do you ride your bike on this road?” I responded in kind. “Why do you drive your car on this road?”

What followed is familiar dialogue. “It’s dangerous riding a bike up here,” he said. “I just want you to know.” I realized this was not a situation where anyone was going to win an argument, so I did my best to diffuse any tension, speaking with genuine sincerity. “You’re right. Riding a bike is extremely dangerous. I tell that to everyone I know.” It worked. He didn’t get upset and drove off in his punked out BMW.

But my close encounters were not yet over. As I was riding up Hwy 84 two or three miles outside La Honda I stopped at a driveway to check my bike when out of nowhere this young man shows up on Hwy 84 wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants. He told me he was walking to Skyline Boulevard and needed to know how far it was. After I told him, he asked me to call his mother and have her pick him up. He gave me a number and I punched it in to my smartphone, but first I moved close to the highway because this guy looked like he was sketchy, although he didn’t sound threatening. No service. I told him I’d ride up to Skyline, but I was none too happy about it. The guy did not give off a good vibe — more like a scared deer.

I got to Skyline soon enough and tried my phone. Still no service at Sky Londa. Oddly, there was a Sheriff standing a few feet away in the parking lot. I told him my story and he immediately used his walkie talkie to talk to dispatch. Turns out the guy “escaped” from Camp Glenwood, a probation facility in La Honda off Pescadero Road and they were searching for him. He had been wandering around since 3 a.m.

I have no idea what became of their escapee, but if he’s smart he accepted a ride from the Sheriff when he drove by.

This camp is not to be confused with the Honor Camp located in Pescadero Creek County Park, which closed in 2003. It was supposed to be turned into a campground, but I haven’t heard any news on that front. Ken Kesey stayed at that one back in the 1960s and got some material for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest while there.

2 Responses to “One of those “eventful” days I’d just as soon forget”

  1. Bob Gong Says:

    I admire your ability to keep calm and not get angry during your encounter with the BMW driver. I need to follow your example and not get so defensive when I cross paths with individuals like that. Something for me to work on in the coming New Year…. Glad to hear your “Spidey-sense” was working during your other encounter as well. The best rides are indeed ones that you get back home to safely and have the opportunity to enjoy another in the future!

  2. Mark Eastman Says:

    Great way of handling this. Best to avoid confrontation. You never know who may be dealing with.

    In late November I did an early morning ride from Santa Clara to Palo Alto over Skyline via Saratoga, Highway 9/Big Basin road, Saratoga Gap, Skyline and dropping down via Page Mill. On Hwy 9 up to Skyline, that is posted 35mph Speed Limit. I was passed a few times, very close, by sport motorcycle riders exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 15-20 mph. I was also passed uncomfortably close by a few drivers, notably in vans and trucks, that alsways seem to intentionally gun their engines and pass close. The latter happened on skyline. The driver of the truck was driving extremely fast when passing me. Up ahead near the intersection of Page Mill and Skyline I could see two road cyclists, who were riding side by side (definitely a mistake on Skyline). The truck driver leaned on his horn and let them know that they were in his way while he was speeding.

    I didn’t have a direct encounter with the driver or the dumb speeding motorcyclists, but I wanted to complain about this to local authorities but not sure who has jurisdiction on Skyline and or Hwy 9. It’s definitely a concern. Especially dealing with locals in trucks that always seem to act like “rednecks”.


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