Haul Road becomes a day’s labor

Brian checks out the Haul Road on our way to Loma Mar.

It used to be we’d ride from Palo Alto over the ridge and down to the Haul Road on our way to more distant venues. Today it’s a destination.

With temperatures more like May, I thanked Climate Change and headed up Page Mill Road. On the way, we saw a bike accident, the victim resting peacefully under the eye of a doctor cyclist. The rider was conscious.

In the next 15 minutes no fewer than four rescue vehicles drove by. We continued to Skyline Boulevard to check out the brisk winds, suddenly cool.

One of the best descents is Alpine Road and then Portola State Park road into the bowels of Pescadero Creek canyon. The air turned decidedly cold.

We rode over the creek’s new steel bridge, passed the aging ranger cabins, and walked up the steep section to the Haul Road. Back in the day some riders muscled up that slope. Not me.

We wondered what the railroad looked like in the 1940s when it was still operational. It reached from the mill at Waterman Gap to…where? Maybe all the way to a point just past Harwood Creek, near the road’s end. It followed the current Haul Road. Derek Whaley has details. Trucks took over log-transport duties and turned the dirt road into a highway. People who rode motorcycles could do 60 mph. Smooth, like pavement.

Today, not so smooth. We had to get around some mud holes the first part of the ride going northwest. Things improved about a third of the way along. Washouts from last winter’s deluge were fixed.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the Loma Mar store.

We stopped at the new Loma Mar Store to check on progress. We’ve got a wager. Will it be finished in one million years, or two million? It’s going to be a palace compared to the old store.

The fun part was riding up Pescadero Road. Along comes Tom Ritchey and wife Martha on a tandem, bound for Pescadero. We stopped and talked about riding our favorite off-grid roads, mostly griping, and continued on our way.

On the climb up Alpine Road, the temperature warmed in the late-afternoon sun. Looking down at the peaceful redwood forest and the blue Pacific, all seemed right with the world.

5 Responses to “Haul Road becomes a day’s labor”

  1. Rama Says:

    My question/comment was yesterday is missing now- flagged as spam?

  2. Rama Says:

    1. super jealous you recognized and chatted with Tom Ritchey. I barely recognize good friends riding on the road the opposite way!

    2. When you ride Haul Rd, do you make a loop of it or do an out-and-back? (Tried to send a Google Map link, but likely that’s what WordPress doesn’t like) Perhaps:

    84/Alpine -> Portola State Park Rd -> Haul Rd/Old Mill Rd -> Highway 9

  3. Ray Hosler Says:

    Rama, I rode with Tom on many a Jobst Ride. I ride from home, Santa Clara.

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