Bill and Will Roadtrip Day 1 – Santa Cruz

Will and I spent the earlier part of this week in San Jose where Will’s hockey team was competing in the National Roller Hockey Championships (NARCH) in the San Jose. While the teams bid for the championship ended earlier than planned we had other things ready to go. We would take the slow route home to San Diego and get in some camping and riding. We did not have a set schedule just some general ideas.

Our first day was a ride in Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz. I have ridden here several time before and I knew Will could handle the place. We started off near the park headquarters off of Pacific Coast Highway and started working our way up to the top of the park using the Engelman Oak and Long Meadows trails (fireroads). Will has not been biking much lately so that and the recent hockey made for a good bit of effort on his part.

The Climb

Once we got up to the top of the park we ventured over into the UC Santa Cruz area. Since this included some gravity-assisted riding, Will was having a heck of great time.

UCSC Cruising

After the UCSC fun, we popped back into Wilder Ranch and worked our way over to the Old Cabin trail which is one of my favorites out here. I was pretty stoked to see that Will cleaned everything on this trail. While he might be getting pretty descent on a bike, he is a pretty horrible “model” in front of the camera. If given a chance he will make a silly face everytime. I pretty much have to sneak attack pictures of him.

Goofball

While Will was starting to feel a little tired, after describing the Enchanted Loop to him, he was game. Once again the boy surprised me with how easily he picks up new skills. On a tricky switchback into a rooty ledge he got up one of the smaller ledges without even blinking. We then sessoned it for a bit and he cleaned one of the bigger ledges after a couple of tries.

Ledge Up

After this we took the Baldwin Loop down to the ocean. Will complained that the trail was really bumpy and that is when I realized that Will had spent the entire ride with the rear shock locked out. This was his first real ride on a full-suspension rig and he did not realize it was locked out. Will is really tall for his age and has been growing like a weed lately. Having already gotten taller than his Mom, he can now fit on my medium Spider by swapping out the seatpost and stem.

Down to Ocean

Down along the ocean we followed the bluff trails back to the park headquarters. Will was getting pretty darn pooped by now so the breaks came a little more often.
Break time

I did manage to get in a “sneak attack” picture during the break
sneak picture

We finished off the rest of Ocean Bluff trails at a reasonable pace due to a strong tailwind which made it pretty darn easy to tick over a big gear. When we finished up we had logged in just over 20 miles and the boy was pooped. On our way through town we hit up a little hole-in-the-wall Falafel shop that I love and introduced Will to some new cuisine.

Will at beach

It was getting pretty late in the day and we knew we would not get too far down the coast this evening. I had a “Camping California” guidebook with me and while I drove south, Will would read out the description of spots down the road from us. The Laguna Seca Recreation Area ended up sounding pretty good so we swung by there and grabbed a spot. The Red Bull Moto Grand Prix was starting to ramp up for the weekend, but there were plenty of spots still open. I packed my smaller camping gear so that that it would not take long to setup and break camp each day so we had camp setup in no time flat. After some chillaxing, hot chocolate and a few snacks we hopped in the tent and were soon crashed out.

Camp at Laguna Seca

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