Today several Nor-Cal Goats members hooked-up for a spirited drive up to Mt. Hamilton near San Jose, Ca.

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We have been wanting to make this drive for some time, but have always been a little leery of doing it on a weekend. This is a road that the crazy cyclists come to test their muscle, and it can be quite busy when the weather is good. Fortunately, Friday turned-out to be a perfect day to make the drive… there were zero cyclists on the road!

The group met-up in San Jose and headed up towards Mt. Hamilton. The road conditions were less than ideal and having the car with the most tire sidewall up front paid-off. To the best of my ability we tried to radio back when a big bump was in the road, but it was enough sometimes… there were several occasions where the GTOs had to slow down to avoid the rough roads.

As we made the climb up Mt. Hamilton we came-up on a Toyota 4-Runner, which normally would have been holding us back, but it turned out he was a local who likes to drive! At the top of Mt. Hamilton is the Lick Observatory. The driver of the 4-Runner was heading to the observatory and had obviously driven the road quite a few times… he was actually giving us a run for our money up the mountain!

At the top of Mt. Hamilton we stopped at the Lick Observatory for some photographs and sightseeing. Several of us had never been to the observatory, so being able to walk around and look at some of the memorabilia was very cool. They even have an original seismograph from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake! Before leaving we had to take advantage of the scenery and take a few photographs.

Rather than just driving back down the road we had just driven, we decided to head out towards the Central Valley and drive on San Antonio Valley Rd. and then out on Del Puerto Canyon Rd.

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The descent from the Lick Observatory down San Antonio Valley Rd. was just spectacular! This is a smooth section of road that through a series of switchbacks drops almost 2000′ in less than 4 miles (at up to a -11% grade). If this road wasn’t in the middle of nowhere we’d drive it every day. What better way to explain… than a video!

After the wonderful descent from Mt. Hamilton we headed out into the middle of nowhere. The only thing you’ll find out here are some farms and the occasional cow, but it does lend to some nice “relaxing” driving roads. San Antonio Valley Rd. leads out to the crossing point for three roads at “The Junction”. Mines Rd. leads to Livermore, Del Puerto Canyon Rd. heads out towards the Central Valley, and San Antonio Valley Rd. to the Lick Observatory and San Jose. The Junction is also the home of a little bar, named “The Junction” (big surprise huh?). We stopped there to catch our breath, and after spending some time with the locals we headed back out to finish-up the drive.

The day turned-out to be a great outing. Like always had hoped to have a few more cars, but thought it worked out better than we only had the four of us… it allowed us to push things a bit harder.