by Anura Guruge
Route 130 from San Jose across Mount Hamilton to Patterson (CA) just off Interstate 5. From Wikipedia. Click to ENLARGE.
Wikipedia link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_130
Wikipedia entry for Route 130.
Click to ENLARGE and read here.
Google Maps view of some of the route. Click to ENLARGE. You can see the twists and turns.
I have so far been lucky enough to drive this amazingly scenic and exhilarating route thrice; once West-to-East in 1992 and in both directions in April of this year — coming back East-to-West thanks to Teischan, who like I loved it, and insisted that we come back on it.
To me this is the ONLY way to go to Yosemite from the San Francisco area. Just sets you up, so nicely for what is to come.
I used to go to San Jose often during 1992 to 2000. I would always see this beautiful observatory (the ‘Lick‘), with iconic white domes, way up on the hills. I wanted to go there. That is how I found Route 130. Then in September 1992, after delivering a 3-day seminar for Cisco in San Jose, we were going to drive to Yosemite for a vacation. I chose to use 130 given that I was already in San Jose and the route started just there. Loved it. I was driving a rental Lincoln Continental that time. I did make the mistake of setting off without a full tank of gas. That was a mistake. Though end-to-end, San Jose to Patterson is only around 54 miles, all the hairpin bends and the steep climbs — 4 of them — does a job on your fuel economy, especially in a big, heavy V8 like the Lincoln. In April I was driving a rental, fairly new 4WD Nissan Pathfinder. I filled up with gas on Alum Rock Avenue just before setting off.
Driving the Pathfinder on 130 was an absolute joy. That was why I wanted to get one — though we ended up, instead, with a Nissan Quest.
Every car manufacturer should use this route as a way to showcase their cars. I would love to drive it again, at least one, before I die — ideally in a Jag.
West-to-East, the first half, up to the Observatory is absolutely picturesque. You also get to see some expensive, multi-million dollar mansions. The second half, especially the last 20 miles is tranquil beyond description. Mainly flat pastoral land, horses, small streams, lots of greenery — extremely peaceful and quiet.
You really have to drive it. Weekends, as we found out, tend to be a tad crowded, though it is not bad. Lots of cyclists, motorbikes and even joggers. But we came back mid-week, on a Thursday. Hardly met anybody! Beautiful.
This piece from “motorcycleroads.us” sums it up nicely.
Click to ENLARGE and read here. (Use above link to access original.)
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by Anura Guruge