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So pining for the SheetIron 150 of last weekend, i decided all i could do was go for a ride. I decided to head up to the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. One of the highest peaks in the Diablo Range, at 4196 feet it towers nearly 4100 feet above San Jose metropolis below. Mt Hamilton - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hamilton_(California)



Part way up is Grant Ranch County Park consists of 10,000 acres of oak woodlands and grasslands, it serves as a link in a major wildlife corridor for the mountains.





Joseph Grant's former ranch house, now park headquarters and public use rooms.





James Lick, a wealthy entrepreneur and landowner from the 1800's upon his death donated $700,000 to construct a telescope on the high peak overlooking his estate in the Santa Clara Valley. While the valley was famous for fertile land and expansive fruit orchards, the high peak allowed good night viewing, above the marine layer that enshrouds the lower elevations.



The 36" refractor telescope was the largest of it's kind in the world when completed in 1888, and was the 1st permanently occupied mountain top telescope in the world. It is still run by the University of California.



Turning on to Mt Hamilton Rd





Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) along the way





Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura)





The road is twisty and is said to contain 365 turns to the top, yet maintains a fairly gentle grade, as it was originally built for horse drawn wagons to haul supplies for the observatory.



Going into a hairpin turn





The oak forests change from Valley Oak at the bottom to Blue Oaks in serpentine soils, mid way up, Coastal Live Oak in drier sections, and California Black Oak at the highest elevations. Giant majestic trees, they are one of my favorite habitats in California.





California Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii) at sunrise





Ben Franklin's vote for the national bird

 

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Discussion Starter #2
Hall's Valley @ sunrise





The 36" telescope





San Jose sleeping below and the Pacific Ocean is just over the last ridge





Many of the buildings look like they are from the 20's and 30's, i think these were worker's quarters.





My trusty steed (note the lights are on Mike and Joemama!)





I always have to add some blooming wildflowers



Purple Lupine





Western Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum)





Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus)





another Mimulus, but in purple

 

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Discussion Starter #3
A yellow ranunculus





Mistletoe is a parasite that while photosynthetic, receives the majority of it's nutrients from the host.



Oak Mistletoe heart





Gray pine dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium occidentale)





This little bridge over a creek, from 1935. Roosevelt's New Deal still in use.









A great opportunity for a self-portrait

Thanks for coming along!

Ride On!

 

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Great report. Thanks.
 

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I have been up that road a few times myself. It is a fun ride.



Here is a picture of my TW at The Junction which is a short ride down the back side of Mt. Hamilton. To its right is Darrell's Honda NX which he no longer has. The Junction is funny -- it is usually either full of Harleys or BMWs.







Patterson isn't all that much further with its gas stations and fast food establishments. To bad it is all paved. I too long for last Saturday. Man, I had fun!
 

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Very enjoyable report, Joe. Thanks. The pictures are great, but I also enjoy the informative narrative. Looks like some great riding. You have a good combination of beautiful sights, flora and fauna, and twisty roads. Apparently the Momma vulture didn't teach her young not to land between the high tension lines. I've heard of a few fried birds who touched both lines when they stretched their wings to take off. Thanks again.
 

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Man, you really make the rest of us look bad with your detailed ride reports!!! You obviously know your plant life...



The sheetiron 150 is gonna be hard to beat, we just need to do it again!!! I did an alley sweeper for the first time this weekend, total chaos but really fun.



Hey Joe, you left your lights on again...
 

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Beautiful area. The large Grant Ranch reminds me of the Wrigley Ranch on Catalina Island. Though it doesn't look so dry on your trip as it was on Catalina Island. We see those "Ugly Eagles" out in our neck of the world too, and perched on the power poles too! Thanks for sharing.
 

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Beautiful area. The large Grant Ranch reminds me of the Wrigley Ranch on Catalina Island. Though it doesn't look so dry on your trip as it was on Catalina Island. We see those "Ugly Eagles" out in our neck of the world too, and perched on the power poles too! Thanks for sharing.
Hey admiral,

funny you should mention Catalina Island, it was at one time, owned entirely, the WHOLE island, by james lick.... the benefactor of the telescope.
 

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Great pic's, turkey's, turkey vultures and flower's.



Why anyone would want to leave the US is beyond me. I alway's said once I see all of the US I'll consider another country. (Maybe in my next life)



Great Job Joe,



Moose
 

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Still leaving the key on, eh? That sure is a fancy ass camera you have. On our "sheetiron 150" ride I pulled out this little point and shoot job and Joe pulls out a nice camera. We took some the same pics but his were a lot better. Nice detailed report and great pics. Hope to see ya at the "sheetiron 150, part 2"
 
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