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  • Pi Day (3.14) Drive

    Posted on March 14th, 2009 tcorzett No comments

    With the talk of an April Greater SF Bay Area Meet on, I wanted to get out and try the route that I threw-out. It’s basically the South to North drive up Redwood Rd. from the Playing Hookie drive. I was quite interested to see what the bicyclist traffic would be like on a Saturday, as well as a few of the roads in the area… potentially resulting in a nice loop.

    Total Distance: 114 miles
    Driving Time: 4 hours 6 min

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    Last night I had not decided if I would go for a drive today, so did not set an alarm to wake-up. I figured that I would let myself sleep in a bit, and hit the road closer to the time a cruise would be. I didn’t get out of the house until Noon, so there were quite a few cars on the road… including a Magnetic Grey Metallic G8 Sedan!

    I wanted to get onto Redwood Rd quickly, so took I-580W rather than some back-roads. Once on Redwood Rd. I realized that the last time I drove this road I didn’t pay much attention to the speed limit. Much of the road is 25-35mph, but during a ‘spirited’ drive I was doing about 45mph… not too bad. Several areas would be fun at 35mph, but they are a blast just a little faster. I also found that I like downhill stretches of road much more than the uphill ones. When traveling uphill you really have to keep your eyes open for bicyclists (as they are going really slow)… compared to downhills where they are often going faster than you are! Oh yeah, on a Saturday there are easily 10x more bicyclists on the roads… they are also in pairs/groups that make passing a real pain.

    Thinking of a car cruise, Pinehurst Rd. is really too tight for a string of cars when you have to think about bicycles. Also, there are several sections where… most noticeably going North (granted just at the end)… you find yourself on the inside of curves having to watch-out for the walls of rocks, bicycles, hikers, and all sorts of other things that may want to be in your way on the road. More than likely, I wouldn’t suggest this stretch of road for a cruise… I’m sure there is another way to loop around missing the really tight stuff.

    After Pinehurst Rd, I did the now somewhat familiar route of Skyline Blvd and Grizzly Peak Rd (I still love that name). There was no one at ‘The Wall’ today, but the view was still quite stunning.

    After leaving Tilden Park on Wildcar Canyon Rd. I had a wonderful experience with a guy on a motorcycle. I saw him come up behind me, so I pulled over to let him by. Once he made the pass I was quickly chasing after him. The downhill stretch to San Pablo Dam Rd. is nice and curvy and I was having a blast keeping up! I think this is the hardest I’ve pushed the G8 GT (I couldn’t tell you what speed I was going… my eyes were on the road) but the rear end started to get a little ‘light’ in a few corners (about half-way through I contemplated what the road would be like with a Pedders Track II Package).

    Bear Creek Rd. is a wonderful piece of road… 50mhp speed limit and wide shoulders for the bicyclists. Make sure to watch your speed on the downhills, but on the way up the hill you will need some throttle to keep up to speed. While not too curvy, this piece of road is worth the drive… just nice and relaxing. It also connects to Alhambra Valley Rd, which loops around (West) to San Pablo Dam Rd., but can also go (East) heading towards Marsh Creek Rd. The loop around Briones and San Pablo Reservoirs is well worth it… all nice driving roads.

    Unfortunately, once you get past Wildcat Canyon Rd… San Pablo Dam Rd. turns into something boring. Maybe it’s because I was stuck behind a street sweeper, but in general it’s just too populated. I wanted to drive Acalanes Rd. because of a nice uphill hairpin, and while it was fun, it was not worth the trips on Hwy24.

    Now, for a great little downhill stretch that I will work into many drives in this location… Claremont Ave. Watch out for bicyclists, and I don’t think I’d drive UP this road, but it’s a fun little downhill.

    I wanted to drive down Skyline Blvd a bit more to see how it is past the Pinehurst Rd. turn-off. The trip from Claremont to Skyline was less than interesting, but brought me back to the summers spent at the LBNL Advanced Light Source. Snake Rd/Shepherd Canyon Rd. has a cool little hairpin turn at the top, but probably not worth connecting into a loop.

    Skyline Blvd. is a nice curvy road and goes quite a ways past where I wanted to turn-off… Yes, I missed the turn because I was watching the BMW M3 in my rear view mirror. There is a relaxing stretch of divided 4-lane road where you can easily drive from lane-to-lane apexing curves… but it doesn’t go anywhere interesting (other than a golf course if you need to use the restroom). After I realized I missed the turn I wanted (I can’t wait for my GPS!) I headed back up Skyline to Redwood Rd.

    The connection road from Skyline to Redwood, a stretch I missed in the past because of driving on Pinehurst, is very nice. Just another reason why Redwood Rd. is my new favorite in the East Bay for driving. The name fits it well… driving through the redwood trees is a nice change (especially in the summer).

    A caution for driving on Redwood Rd., there was a motorcycle cop at the entrance of Anthony Chabot Regional Park. The speed limit was 25mph and I was going about 35mph… and had no problems… but never know what is going land you a speeding ticket.

    The rest of the drive was rather mundane, other than seeing a Hot White G8 GT (that needed to be washed) pulling in to get gas at a Chevron station in Castro Valley. I would have pulled in to fill-up (even though I still had a half-tank), but I wasn’t in the right lane.

    I will make a few changes to this route to avoid many of the ‘poor’ areas and see if I can put together a nice loop for a cruise.