Every so often the urge strikes me to hop in the car and just go for a drive. Today was such a day, so I decided to take one of my favorite long drives: the backroads up and over Mt. Hamilton in San Jose. My route down to San Jose included a fun little blast down Palomares Rd and then Niles Canyon Rd. Along the way I caught up to a white BRZ that seemed to also be enjoying a Sunday cruise but we split ways before I headed down 680 towards Mt. Hamilton.
Traffic was pleasantly light on the way up Hwy 130 to the peak of Mt. Hamilton. I stopped off at the Lick Observatory for a quick break and to snap a photo or two. There was no one around when I pulled up to the front of the Observatory and I enjoyed the peaceful quietness and the commanding view of the South Bay area below me.
The drive down the back side of Mt. Hamilton is one of the most enjoyable drives for me. Unlike the narrow and treacherous ascent from the San Jose side, the descent features wider and smoother roads that are a pleasure to navigate. And as you reach the valley floor the scenery opens up and you blast through some beautiful meadows and open fields. And then out there in the middle of nowhere you come across the Junction Bar & Grill, a popular stop for all the motorists, bikers, and cyclists that frequent Hwy 130. I stopped in to say hi to our friends Dan and Mashelle that run the Junction, and scarfed down a delicious Wagyu beef burger and some onion rings, accompanied by some of the Junction’s delectable home-made Bourbon sauce. I’d say the Junction is like the South/East Bay’s answer to Alice’s Restaurant (the similar drive/eat mecca of the Peninsula), but no offense to the folks at Alice’s, the food here is even better.
The view outside the window is mighty fine, letting me admire and watch over my trusty steed as I enjoy my lunch.
After lunch I continued on up Mines Rd which leads back to the Livermore valley. This part of the road is less enjoyable due to the proliferation of rocks and gravel all over the road surface as of late, and it makes me sad that what used to be a really enjoyable road has now become marginal because of that development. Still, as I neared Livermore the road opened up again and I rolled down the windows to breath in some fresh air as I guided my machine through the winding roads for a relaxing drive back home.
Here’s some video from the drive.