My New-to-Me 1978/79 Guerciotti

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When I first moved to the Bay Area in 1990, I shared a condo with an old family friend. She introduced me to one of her friend’s boyfriend (are you following me so far?) who became a very good friend of many years. Well…he passed away recently. Way to soon!

He made an “adult cyclist” out of me. That means I got into cycling as something more than short-distance transportation, like at college. He helped me buy a “real bike” and make a healthy hobby out of exploring the hills of Silicon Valley. (He was very patient in waiting for me at the top of iconic local climbs, like Old La Honda Road.)

His wife (widow) contacted me recently to ask if I wanted his old racing bicycle “because he’d want you to have it”. I choked-up a bit, and shed a tear, and picked it up at her house. With a hug, I told her I’d take good care of it.

He bought it new, around 1978 or 1979, and raced it until sometime in the 1990s, when he replaced it with a Colnago. The Guerciotti was put in the garage, with the tires and brake pads getting hard and dry with age.

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It’s an interesting combination of Campagnolo, Dura-Ace and 600 components. He had made some swaps and upgrades over the years. I tinkered with it a bit, then decided it really should be disassembled and completely lubed. I didn’t want to damage any of the long-dormant components, and I didn’t have the tools and expertise to do it all myself.

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The local shop did a great job. New chain, brake pads, and cables. Everything else was completely cleaned and polished. The yellow seat cover and two color handlebar tape was left as it was. It rides very nicely!

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Yes, my friend, your memory is alive. I will take good care of it!

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Montara Mtn @ Pacifica, CA (Helicopter Crash Site)

27 years ago, a Navy helicopter crashed on rugged Montara Mountain, just south of San Francisco. A memorial plaque was placed and a redwood seedling was planted. The location was then largely forgotten.

It was recently rediscovered, by a hiking friend, with the help of some local people, who had been looking off-and-on for 15 years! It took several trips, into steep terrain. The plaque was found buried under 6 inches of mud, and the redwood seedling is now 30 feet tall. 

The finder is in communication with the Navy squadron from Alameda, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and a few friends and family of the flight crew. They are grateful for the rediscovery, clean-up, and adding to the memorial site!

The site is very steep, off-trail, and has large amounts of Poison Oak! The general public is not encouraged to visit at this time. It would be great if the GGNRA were to make an official trail to this area, and officially recognize the site!

Below: The beginning of our climb out of San Pedro County Park, which was a long one-way hike, past the crash site, to Moss Beach.

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Below: A scarce plant, nicknamed “Footsteps of Spring” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanicula_arctopoides

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Nearing the top of Montara Mountain (North Peak, I think!)

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A great view towards Pacifica / Linda Mar.

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Yup…San Francisco Water District owns big chunks of land around here. They take trespassing very seriously.

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Leaving San Pedro County Park, and entering GGNRA lands.

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Pointing at the World Famous “Maverick’s” surf break. The waves can be 60 feet (18 meters) during winter storms https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mavericks,_California

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Recently added to the crash site:

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The 30 year old redwood seedling, on the left, at the crash site. It has apparently spawned 2 babies, in an area that doesn’t have any other redwoods.

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The original plaque, which was buried in mud. A little hard to read.

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Near the end of our hike, looking towards the Half Moon Bay Airport, with the military radar dome and Maverick’s surf break to the rear.

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That’s it! It’s a great area to hike. Check the weather and brings lotsa water!

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A Little Death Valley Driveabout

A few weeks back, I met-up with a friend for two nights in Death Valley. We “boondock” camped off the beaten path, though we centered most of our activities near Panamint Springs, where initially met-up, then had breakfast both days (and maybe a flush toilet!).

First, I headed to Lake Tahoe for a day of skiing. (Below is Donner State Park, where, you know, those folks were stranded in a winter storm in the 1800’s and did what they had to do, in order to survive.)

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The plaque on the rear of the Pioneer Statue reads (from Wikipedia):

NEAR THIS SPOT STOOD THE BREEN CABIN OF THE PARTY OF EMIGRANTS WHO STARTED FOR CALIFORNIA FROM SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, IN APRIL 1846, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF CAPTAIN GEORGE DONNER. DELAYS OCCURRED AND WHEN THE PARTY REACHED THIS LOCALITY, ON OCTOBER 29, THE TRUCKEE PASS EMIGRANT ROAD WAS CONCEALED BY SNOW. THE HEIGHT OF THE SHAFT OF THE MONUMENT INDICATES THE DEPTH OF THE SNOW, WHICH WAS TWENTY-TWO FEET. AFTER FUTILE EFFORTS TO CROSS THE SUMMIT THE PARTY WAS COMPELLED TO ENCAMP FOR THE WINTER. THE GRAVES CABIN WAS SITUATED ABOUT THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILE TO THE EASTWARD, THE MURPHY CABIN ABOUT TWO HUNDRED YARDS SOUTHWEST OF THE MONUMENT, AND THE DONNER TENTS WERE AT THE HEAD OF ALDER CREEK. NINETY PEOPLE WERE IN THE PARTY AND FORTY-TWO PERISHED, MOST OF THEM FROM STARVATION AND EXPOSURE.

IN COMMEMORATION OF THE PIONEERS WHO CROSSED THE PLAINS TO SETTLE IN CALIFORNIA. MONUMENT ERECTED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NATIVE SONS AND THE NATIVE DAUGHTERS OF THE GOLDEN WEST. MONUMENT DEDICATED JUNE 6, 1918

The next day, I skiied at Sierra-at-Tahoe. They had several feet of new snow in the prior few days. The conditions and weather were incredible.

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The next day, I headed south, along the Eastern Sierra’s Route 395. In the distance, from Conway Summit, is the really funky and salty Mono Lake (“thank you” Los Angeles Water Department.)

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…followed by the Closed-for-the-Season “Whoa Nelllie Deli”, at the base of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass entrance:

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…and my third or fourth visit to Manzanar. I stopped for a few quick photos, and the restrooms. If you’ve never been, plan about 2 hours, and be sure to see the movie in the Visitor’s Center. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzanar

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Eventually, fill your tank and hang a left when you get close to Mt Whitney, and on to Panamint Springs. It’s a privately owned store, restaurant, campground, and motel at the edge of Death Valley. http://www.panamintsprings.com/ (Cheapest gasoline for about 50 miles in any direction. $5.00/gallon. Also, the only gas for about 50 miles in any direction.)

View from the restaurant porch:

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Below, www.DryFJ.com and I tested the new Subaru on some rocky stuff!

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Below are the Wildrose kilns. This is in one of the higher elevation parts of Death Valley. You can see the Pinon Pine trees, which were harvested and turned into charcoal in these kilns, in the 1880’s. The charcoal was then transported to a mine, as a fuel source, in a more barren area, about 25 miles away. The silver-lead mine, and the kilns, were owned by the father of William Randolph Hearst. (The kilns were restored in the 1970’s by Navajo stonemasons from Arizona.) https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wildrose-charcoal-kilns

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Bits of snow, near the kilns. Time to repack the cooler, before heading back to lower elevations!

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Heading back thru Panamint Springs, we headed north on Saline Valley Road, towards the Boxcar Cabin, our campsite, and the next day’s hike:

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The Boxcar Cabin, below, is on BLM land, just outside the National Park. It was restored, and is maintained, by volunteers. We stopped for a few minutes, to poke around and read the visitor’s register. http://deathvalleyjim.com/buckhorn-boxcar-cabin/

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From there, we headed further north, to our next campsite…near a secret petroglyph site, which I won’t be blogging about…

Two other blog posts, for two hikes during this trip:

https://alpharoaming.com/2018/04/07/rainbow-canyon-a-k-a-jedi-transition-star-wars-canyon-death-valley/

https://alpharoaming.com/2018/04/08/burns-spring-hike-death-valley/

That’s it! we had a great few days, near Panamint Springs. Panamint Springs can be quite toasty in the summer, but it’s a pleasant place to stop, regardless. The current owner’s are from San Jose!

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Burns Spring Hike, Death Valley

I’ve been slacking-off on my blog recently. Why? Because I have a full-time job, in a Silicon Valley cubicle, so my time is more limited. Also, I’ve RUN OUT of interesting adventures close to home. So…that leaves distant adventures, like my recent trip to Death Valley (via a ski day at South lake Tahoe.)

One of the brief hikes in Death Valley, was a late afternoon hike to “Burns Spring”. It’s a short drive from Panamint Springs. It’s not hard to find the location, as well as the old buildings, on an old USGS map. If your interest is piqued, I’ll allow you 5 minutes to do the research. (Yes, there is an overgrown road on the USGS map, too. Hard to see from the pavement, but you’d find it quickly if you have the right navigation toys.)

This is the stucco-walled cabin, near a defunct little mill. According to a book I have, the owner established a mill, with a good water supply, and hoped to have customers from the neighboring mines. You can see, from the small amount of tailings, that business wasn’t so good!

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Mill, on the left, just above the 194x Pontiac:

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The interior of the cabin, in fairly decent shape. We found intact canned food, from ~1970-1975. There may have been a resident here that recently…IMG_0022

Campbell’s Soup, Mandarin oranges, and some black glop in a few Mason jars…all still sealed, but not looking too good. The cans were bulging…

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The mill, just before sunset. The early March weather was pleasant in the daytime, but temperatures dropped quickly, without the sun.

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194X Pontiac. Most of the glass was intact, which is unusual. Not too many visitors here!

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There were also bits-and-pieces of a few trucks, but not enough to identify the manufacturers.

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That’s it! If it looks interesting, you can locate it with a bit of research. Bring your own food, and leave the food that’s here for the next person to look at!

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Rainbow Canyon (a.k.a: Jedi Transition; Star Wars Canyon) Death Valley

Just a bit west of Panamint Springs, up a long, steep hill, is an observation point, officially known as “Father Crowley Point”, overlooking Rainbow Canyon. Informally, it’s known as “The Jedi Transition” or “Star Wars Canyon”

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It’s named as such, because the area is an official military “low altitude flight training area”. The aircraft will come in low, over the higher elevation plateau, and dip into the canyon below.

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It’s called the “Jedi Transition”, as the planes tip their wings one way, then another, to navigate between the canyon walls. The reddish mineralized canyon also looks like “Tatooine”, in Star Wars. (My photos don’t show the colors well.) One of the vantage points, a short walk from the parking area, attracts photographers from all over the world. It’s one of the only places where you can look down upon military aircraft, at close range. The spectators love it, and I suspect the pilots like showing-off (besides the realistic training for low-level radar-evading flight) We saw two F-18s and an awkwardly slow V-22 Osprey.

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-jedi-transition-a-canyon-that-fighter-pilots-love-1678453195

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We took a hike to the upper end of the canyon. Below, is a circuit board from a few decades ago. My hiking buddy says it was part of a weather balloon, from his prior research. I Googled some numbers off the board, without success.

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Tree hugger! The dead spines of the Joshua Tree are quite soft, but the live ones can puncture a car tire!

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The very top of Rainbow Canyon, which starts with a steep ~300 foot drop, right next to that guy taking a selfie!

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There was an old encampment, of some sort, we found on our hike. It included the outline of some rectangular stone foundations…too big for a cabin, but just right for a bunkhouse or dormitory. Based on the junk we found, we guessed it was a CCC camp, or roadbuilding crew from ~1930-1940.IMG_0107

Another shot of the upper canyon.

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…and an occasional photogenic cactus, but not many…

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That’s it! Bring a big lens, and be patient, if you like aviation photos. If not, “take a hike” and enjoy the photos that other people have posted on-line!

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Coit Horse Camp @ Henry Coe State Park

Beautiful weekend in Henry Coe State Park! I just came back from a quick overnight backpack to Coit Horse Camp. (I have some friends planning a five day, high altitude, trip in the Sierra. I haven’t done much backpacking in recent years, so this was a little test.)

Strangely, while sleeping at Coit Horse Camp, I woke up several times during the night to faint techno/rave dance music!?! I listened for someone coming down the trail, and also tried to figure out where there are nearby private lands, closer than Coyote Lake. It seemed to be very distant, to the south or west, fading in and out. Puzzling!!

This morning, on my way back to Hunting Hollow, I found the answer at the green bridge, ~4 miles down the valley: a box from a turntable/media player, a new campfire site at the bridge, and assorted litter and beer cans. 😢 (see last photos).

 

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Hiking Mitchell Canyon to Mount Diablo, with the SoCal Hiker

Nobody told me you could DRIVE to the top! 😉

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“Yours truly” accompanied Jeff Hester on his scouting trip to Mt Diablo a few weeks back. It was a great hike, and an opportunity to meet Jeff. I’m in three pictures, and my name is credited at the bottom! https://socalhiker.net/hiking-mitchell-canyon-to-mount-diablo/

A link to our track. https://www.strava.com/activities/1376750115/embed/482c74b126023f50ee2f023a21fe2b8d8e1373de

That’s all I have to say! Jeff did a great job detailing our trip. Will YOU be signing-up for his NorCal Six Pack of Peaks Challenge?

 

 

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