2.151 Mt. Hamilton drive

Wednesday 05/07/2021

As planned I and Patty left at 8am and drove to Mountain View to pick up Jean Pawek. From there we drove up and over Mt. Hamilton past Lick Observatory. The Observatory, which we all remember touring at various times over the last 30 years, was of course closed to the public.

The car’s GPS directed us up Quimby road which is extremely steep. I was sure this was not the route I took the two times I rode my bike up to the Observatory. Eventually Quimby intersected the correct road, Mt. Hamilton road, which was the route I remembered. I remembered it particularly because it is not a difficult bike ride, because it was originally made for the mule trains that carried construction materials for the Observatory in the 1880s. Mules can’t handle steep grades, so the road is quite comfortable for bike riders too.

There was a fast-moving fire last summer that drove through this area. It destroyed one residential building but did not damage the several telescope domes, nor caused any harm to people. Blackened oak skeletons were all around.

From the top of the mountain we continued East and North another 40 miles to Livermore. This is very sparsely settled country, a ranch maybe every 3 or 4 miles. There were signs of the fire all along the first half of the route.

Downtown Livermore was crowded; we had a hard time finding a parking space and all the restaurants along the main street were doing well. We had Thai food for lunch. Then drove by freeways on to Mountain View to drop Jean and back to CH on El Camino. 147 miles, 55mpg (go Prius!), seven hours.

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