Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gilroy wandering

June 4 - 11, 2013

On the road again at 10 AM, heading southwest to San Juan Bautista near Gilroy (Garlic capital of the world).  We went past dozens of road stands selling cherries, almonds, strawberries, peaches, artichokes, garlic along the way, a most agricultural ride !  It was easy cruising until we came to the Pacheco Pass on Route 152, that was a wicked long steep uphill climb, but no problem for the big D/Max.  We arrived at the "Betabel RV Park" about 2 PM, it's a comfy full hookup kind of place, a little too mobile park feeling for me, but it's and too expensive and in a good location.  This is an extended stay for us, a full month, lots to do and see around here. 

We went into Gilroy on Wednesday morning to check out the old downtown area.  It is very hispanic, very photogenic, clean with several interesting restaurants and stores.  We found the train/bus station which we intend to use, possibly a San Francisco trip.  Then a ride out into the surrounding country and a random bathroom stop at the "Chitactac Adams County Park".   It turned out to be very interesting as the park was originally an old "Ohlone Indian" village site and then latter became the site of the "Adams Schoolhouse" in 1850. They had very interesting exhibits on the culture of the Ohlone Indians.  Another sad ending to a whole race of native people at the hands of the Spanish and then the US settlers.  It was then to the other side of Gilroy, near the RV park, to the town of San Juan Bautista where Twinkles found her second quilt shop of the day, while I took a quick look at the San Juan Bautista Mission.  Gilroy

Thursday we were in need of some exercise, so we went off to the Mt. Madonna County Park, near Hecter Pass in the Santa Clara Mountains in search of hiking trails.  The Santa Clara County Park system is huge and has lots of camping and trails.  This area was logged, clearcut for the Redwood trees in the late 1800's, but the forest has now grown back.  It is weird to see a cluster of large Redwood trees with a huge old old stump in the center.  At one of the highest points in the park, Henry Miller, a wealthy cattleman built a huge summer home complex for himself. All that remains now are the foundations, a few steps and wall fragments.  His story is pretty amazing, he came to the US with $6.00 in his pocket and somehow ended up being one of largest cattle barons and land owners (1.5 million acres in California, Oregon and Nevada) in the country.  The signs there tell how you could see the Pacific Ocean from the house with the forest cut down. 

Friday was a solo day for me back to the Mission, which unbeknownst to me was a school trip day.  There were hundreds of young school children visiting which made for an interesting, noisy time at the old mission.  I learned that there are two separate independent entities here, the State Park and the Mission Church. The state park administers the old hotel, the old house, the stables, blacksmith shop and carriage house.  The church administers the old mission, a museum, gift shop and the grounds.  The mission remains an active church in constant use.  The mission along with the whole town of San Juan Bautista have sustained heavy earthquake damage over the years as the San Andreas fault runs adjacent to the Mission.  There are earthquake warning signs in the mission explaining the risk of being inside during an earthquake.  This did make me a bit uneasy ! San Juan Bautista

Next stop was the town of Hollister a few miles away.  Hollister is one of the larger towns in the area with lots of history and agriculture.  Hollister is also famous for having one of the best examples in the world of "aseismic creep" due to the Calavaras Fault running through town and claims to be the Earthquake Capital of the World to boot.  If that isn't enough, Hollister claims to be the birthplace of the American Biker, according to the mural on wall of Johnny's Bar and Grill.  I was not quite believing this until I checked it out, it's true !  It seems that on July 4, 1947 4,000 bikers (The straight piper's) rode into town to watch the bike races and do a little partying, which got a little out of control and labelled a riot by the media.  This became the basis for the 1954 film, "The Wild One" starring Marlon Brando. The Hollister city council recently voted to resume the Hollister Bike Rally in 2013 after closing it down for several years.  Johnny's Bar

Saturday Twinkles and I went to the town of Morgan Hill which has an upscale downtown with nice restaurants and shops and yet another Farmers market.  You just can't get enough of these fresh California strawberries, cherries and other fruits, nuts and vegetables.  

Sunday Twinkles and I went to another local Santa Clara County Park, the Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch Park which is a 635 acre lake surrounded by a 4,595 acre recreation area.  It has boating, fishing, camping and about 30 miles of hiking trails.  We did about 6 miles of hiking on the Coyote Ridge Trail which for the most part follows a ridge line with vast views in all directions.  On one side you are looking far down into the fertile farm valley, on the other side you are looking at golden hill country with these incredible Live Oak trees.  Also part is open cattle range land, watch where you step, cow pies are everywhere ! 

Have to cut this post off now as I have hit the limit for photos. 

Much more to come, keep watching,
Twinkles and Slick

Garlic Capital of the World mural

Garlic figure in downtown Gilroy

Gilroy mural, another railroad town

Gilroy electrical cabinet

Henry Miller's story

Old Redwood stump surrounded by new growth

Old Redwood Tree stumps

Rooster walked out in front of me and sat down
for the photo

Old photo of the Hotel bar room in San Juan Bautista

Old mission stables

El Camino Real

Mission San Juan Bautista

Mission San Juan Bautista

Inside the mission

Mission San Juan Bautista

Hollister town mural

Home of "The Wild One"

Old sporting goods store sign in Hollister

Old Hotel sign in Hollister

Mural in downtown Hollister

Would you hire this lawyer ?

Morgan Hill farmers market

Morgan Hill mural scene

Beautiful golden hills and green valleys at Santa Clara County Park trail

Sharing the trail with the cows

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