I figured Saturday would be as good a day as any for a spring ride along the coast to Santa Cruz, with all the wind we’ve been having.
I wasn’t as lucky as I’ve been in some years, but the tailwind was enough to make the ride as enjoyable as possible on a day drenched in sunshine and temperatures in the high 60s.
One year I averaged 20 mph all the way to Santa Cruz, pushed by a strong tailwind. Those days are behind me as I grind out the miles in my usual survival mode.
On Cloverdale Road I saw evidence of the heavy winter’s rain and understood why strawberries from Watsonville will be in short supply. Some fields are flooded, although the Swanson pick-your-own strawberry patch looks to be in good shape. A tractor tilled the soil next to one of the large plots planted with strawberries.
I blasted through Santa Cruz on the always busy Hwy 1 and then made my way to the San Lorenzo River path and bridge where the homeless congregate in large numbers.
On the way up El Rancho Drive the stop sign and slide has finally been fixed and local residents have the good fortune of not having other slides to deal with.
As I made my way up Glenwood Highway I saw plenty of warnings that there’s no access to Hwy 17, but I was headed up Mountain Charlie Road, which I heard was open.
Sure enough Mt. Charlie was open, although the “road closed” signs are still there. The road is looking more and more like the goat path it was in the 1980s, pavement crumbling everywhere.
I came across a slide that had been repaired (closing the road) about halfway up. Near the summit I saw another big culvert blowout that took out half the road and will surely need fixing.
Old Santa Cruz Hwy survived the winter in good shape, as did Los Gatos Creek Trail. There’s still a lot of roadwork to be done in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Skyline Boulevard southeast of Castle Rock State Park, and Zayante Road are closed.