Coffeeneuring 2018 Ride 5: Portals

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 / 16 miles /

This was a spectacular day. The more I think back on it the happier it makes me feel. It involved some relaxation, the beach, redwoods, a resurrected cemetery, a big honkin hill, brussels sprouts, hot sun, deep shade, and tea. It had distinct sections that may have involved time travel.

I drove over the hill to Half Moon Bay. I parked near their brand new library and went to check out the brand new restrooms therein. While touring the rest of it I happened upon the baby book club where the kids were crawling all over the floor and each other while the librarian, in a Halloween costume of a big spotted cat, read to them.

Once on Pokey, rather than just start my route down Highway 1, I decided to cross the highway and head to the beach. I did my first coffeeneuring there, sitting on a bench and sipping my tea. As I rode along the bike path atop the bluffs I felt everything just sort of slide away. You know – when your shoulders stop being so close to your ears. Ahhh.

So, south to Santa Cruz? North to San Francisco? Nah – let’s go straight across to see the ocean.
I hit the bluffs above the beach, had some tea, enjoyed the ocean views. Aaaahhhh. (micro inadvertent selfie in there too)
Now on Hwy 1. The Pacific Coast Bike Route (saw some tourers in town at the bakery). High speeds, wide shoulders. And just about the flattest part of this section of the coast.
Artichokes to the sea.

I was on Highway 1 only a few miles before turning off on to Verde Rd. to head east towards the coastal hills. This was the next section. It got quiet immediately. I saw a gate that hadn’t been used in a while that in retrospect I will take for a portal to the past. When I turned back to Pokey after taking the photo the light through the eucalyptus looked different. Isn’t the winter light special? And so we passed through the first time portal.

This gate to the fields beyond hasn’t been used for a while. But I found it transported me.
The light through the trees . . . . oh my.

I’m pedaling along and get out of the eucalyptus grove and then I see a gate with a sign on it that I don’t ever remember seeing before (on the exactly two other times I drove here). And what’s a natural burial ground? And since 1868? Hmm. I pulled over to explore and I pass through another portal.

I learned later that a natural burial ground means you aren’t embalmed nor use coffins/caskets that have decay-resistant materials, or you’re just ashes. Or only wrapped in a shroud. This cemetery was founded in 1868, and probably was pretty “natural” back then, but it’s had periods of disuse. The current resurrection happened only earlier this year.
The story of the town of Purissima (sic) (Yanks can’t spell Spanish words. Should be Purisima).

I was entranced by this cemetery. I thought it was quite appropriate for visiting on Halloween, and it felt rather atmospheric with the lichens hanging from the trees and the overgrowth. The warm sun and the view of the agricultural fields down to the ocean made it feel like it hadn’t changed all that much since it was first started. The residents have a fine view.

The cemetery was so overgrown that the new owners had to hack through the blackberry vines and poison oak.
They also had to hack away at overgrowth to reveal the existing stones and crypts. More and more are being uncovered and repaired. These are from the 1880s.
Only 22! But still remembered and cared for. Edit: a friend who is into geneaology looked up Susan Morrell and sent this link:

There might be a stone or two in this family plot, somewhere under that greenery.
A really recent burial – maybe only yesterday. Or this morning. These flowers are pretty fresh.

Verde Road takes a dogleg south and heads back to Highway 1; the road that continues straight becomes Purissima Creek Road. It starts with a 12% bump to the wide-open. Next portal! To ranch land this time. A fine valley, pretty well protected from the ocean breezes; good sun makes for a good place to live and grow things. It’s so well protected that I’m getting pretty darn warm.

Purissima Creek Road starts with a lovely 12% bump. I’m still less than half a mile from Hwy 1 but I feel like I’ve traveled a long way back and forth already. The eucalyptus grove and the cemetery aren’t far in the background.
And then the road meanders up the valley to the hills. Always trending upward.
An oil well, if you can believe it. I read somewhere online that Purissima had a few oil wells in the area back in the day.
Pokey eyes this old Case tractor and whatever that is behind it – a harrow? a plow? This place was a veritable graveyard of ancient tractors and other farm equipment.

The ranches get smaller and hillier as we proceed up the valley. Finally we get near the end where there is a canyon full of redwoods that is now an open space preserve called Purissima Redwoods. Next portal!

The ranches get smaller and hillier as we get closer to the end of the valley. Then we greet the redwoods. I sat back and looked up as I pedaled. Can’t see the top of these. About 70 or so feet high at least.
Finally I see Purissima Creek up close. It’s a perennial stream which is notable in these parts.
I rode a short way into the preserve to see the redwoods and to do my real coffeeneuring. It was nice and cool in here. I contemplated the changes to this place from how it was 300 years ago, 200 years, 100 years.
These are all second-growth redwoods. Not much was left here from the logging from the 1850s to about the 1920s when by then it was pretty denuded. The trees aren’t as majestic as those old growth trees, but they have their own dignity. And the atmosphere is calm and earthy and serene. I’ll take it.

Done with our coffeeneuring, the next phase was to go up and over the ridge to the next valley to complete the loop back to Half Moon Bay. Next portal! Out of the shade of the redwood canyon to the bright hot sun of the road.

Up we go.
The road is a bit wavy, single lane too. Only three cars passed me over the next 45 minutes.
A look back into the past: We were down there before the redwoods. And we still have a ways to go to the top of the ridge.
Almost there! We go through the line of trees in the distance.
I earned this.

Last portal: Crossing the crest then zipping through the countryside on the other side back to Half Moon Bay.

Last photo before really taking off.

No photos of the way down the next two miles because I was braking for dear life. Deep curves and steep grades. Ranches and a few houses and horses. Maybe some day I’ll ride up this way and take lots of photo breaks. It was quite wonderful.

When it flattened out again after a last bend in the road, the temperature dropped and the scenery opened up. Agricultural fields appeared again right up to the city limits.

Brussels sprouts. So glad I like them. You can buy a stalk of them from farm stands.
Here are some brussels sprouts less than an hour out of the ground, I’m guessing. Dumped into a hopper on the left side of the building, processed inside, then sent out to the truck for further beautifying before heading to your grocery store.
Approaching the city limits which is just this side of the building you can see in the distance. That building also represents the end of Main Street. I turn right and after a few blocks we’re back at the car.

And so back to town. I packed Pokey into the car and walked around town for a while to stretch out my knees. I felt a little disoriented. There were so many different experiences in such a short distance and over the course of only a few hours. I won’t forget that cemetery, or the slow easy pace up the valley, or the peace under the redwoods, or the heat of the ride over the ridge, or how tired my braking hands were on the downhill, or how lovely it felt to have the cool ocean breezes when I got back to the flats, then riding into downtown to the brand new library again, a whole different person than the one who checked it out in the morning.

tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle tricycle tricycle I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride my trike I want to ride my tricycle I want to ride it where I like (And I like to ride my bicycle too)

13 response to "Coffeeneuring 2018 Ride 5: Portals"

  1. By: Lah Posted: November 11, 2018

    That’s a lot of variety to find in one ride. I can see why you enjoyed it so much.

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 11, 2018

      Yes, the variety. I knew what I’d be riding through since I’d driven that way a couple of times. But I didn’t really know, since, as you are aware, it’s very different on a bike.

  2. By: Bikerdockeith Posted: November 11, 2018

    Hi Kathleen,
    Cool ride. The mystery implement behind the tractor is a road grader for smoothing out dirt roads.
    Question: what’s the only implement John Deere won’t stand behind?

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 11, 2018

      Stop spreading manure on this site, Doc!

      I agree about the grader, but there’s something else attached behind it that may be hard to see without enlarging. I now think it’s something to rake hay with.

  3. By: NancyG Posted: November 11, 2018

    Very nice Kathleen. So many different levels of riding, seeing, appreciating, and wondering. Devine!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 11, 2018

      Isn’t that great?

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: November 11, 2018

    What a fantastic ride! Great photos of all the various portals!
    The brussel sprout harvest is reminiscent of the canning days here when we would see asparagus, tomatoes, sweet corn, and even pumpkins being hauled in for processing.
    If e Clampus Vitus was mentioned in a medical facility it would be of great concern!! JK I looked it up. 🙂
    Many thanks for a great post!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 11, 2018

      Ha, Rich!

      I find it heartening that just over the hill from the bubble of Silicon Valley – and also not far south or east of it – there’s so much agriculture still happening. Thank goodness or we wouldn’t eat. One of the good things about California that keeps me here is the fresh food.

  5. By: Seasidejanet Posted: November 11, 2018

    I can hear the “weeeeeeeeeeeeee” all the way down! Great find! It is amazing to me how we can be so congested in some areas and go less than five miles to pure bliss!

    • By: Kathleen Jones Posted: November 11, 2018

      Got that right!

  6. By: The Navigator Posted: November 12, 2018

    What an awesome ride! I felt like I was right there, too. So glad you got this ride experience.

    And any day with brussel sprouts is a good day, of course, anyway.

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