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Discussion Starter #1
This section of the old road is the least maintained and the least used hence the closest to the original road as it was in 1941 when the new road opened. It is right off the highway and passed my thousands of people a day and I doubt very many people even know about it or care for that matter. For me I really enjoy finding and riding on these old, little used roads. It is part of local history.

For locals, at 1:56 or so, I marked Schulties Rd. If you take Schulties Rd. it will lead to where the town of Laurel used to be. In this area there is a portal to a train tunnel that was made in 1880 -- talk about history. The tunnel is 6000' in length and the other end comes out in Glenwood -- ever notice the Glenwood turn off on your way to the beach? Glenwood is also a "used to be town".

If you are wandering aimlessly in the Santa Cruz Mountains I highly recommend a visit to Laurel to see the train tunnel portal and then go to Glenwood and see if you can find the other end. It makes for a fun ride.

 

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backroads of the santa cruz mountains with tony!
 

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In this area there is a portal to a train tunnel that was made in 1880 -- talk about history. The tunnel is 6000' in length and the other end comes out in Glenwood -- ever notice the Glenwood turn off on your way to the beach? Glenwood is also a "used to be town".

If you are wandering aimlessly in the Santa Cruz Mountains I highly recommend a visit to Laurel to see the train tunnel portal and then go to Glenwood and see if you can find the other end. It makes for a fun ride.
For my benefit, I kindly request you aimlessly wander the area with your camera in the vicinity of the train tunnel portal!:D


Very scenic section of old road with all the curves, riding in the shade, and even throw in an old wooden bridge! I'm betting the newer road is boring compared to this section. TFS
 

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For my benefit, I kindly request you aimlessly wander the area with your camera in the vicinity of the train tunnel portal!:D
I second that! That was cool, put a grin on my face! I also like riding the old, little used roads. Thanks for taking us along on your ride, and for sharing the history. I love that stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Beautiful ride!
The redwoods are nice -- fun riding in this area.

Brings back memories, I lived in Santa Cruz and Soquel in the early 80's.
Beautiful country! Thanks for the video!
You're welcome.

backroads of the santa cruz mountains with tony!
The difference between these hills and the hills by you is truly astounding given they are just a few miles apart but both are beautiful in their own way.

For my benefit, I kindly request you aimlessly wander the area with your camera in the vicinity of the train tunnel portal!:D


Very scenic section of old road with all the curves, riding in the shade, and even throw in an old wooden bridge! I'm betting the newer road is boring compared to this section. TFS
Standby -- I have some stills I can post when I get them together.......As for the new road it can be very exciting when you consider semi trucks, people texting, cell phones, speeders or slow pokes, etc. It demands all your attention.

Is Alice's Restaurant still operating on Skyline? There's some great trails West of Skeggs Point if you don't get caught.
Taken today 9-7-'13. Any excuse to go for a ride. The sun was in the wrong place so I had to get off to one side but you get the idea.



Years ago Skeggs was a great place to ride -- endless trails. Now a days it is different. I think they will machine gun a motorcyclist caught in there. Not really, J/K. Probably only hang you.

I second that! That was cool, put a grin on my face! I also like riding the old, little used roads. Thanks for taking us along on your ride, and for sharing the history. I love that stuff!
You're welcome

+1 Great Vid, thanks for sharing!
Again, you're welcome.
 

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Thanks for the picture of Alice's Restaurant. I saved it. Brings back memories. I used to go past there virtually every weekend on the way to the P.I.T.S. to ride dirt bikes with my kids on those trails West of Skeggs point.

I don't think you'd get shot for riding there but your picture would be taken by multiple smart phones along the way and forwarded to the local LEO.

Just be sure to throw some mud on your license plate :) JK

You can ride mt bikes there now but you can't take your dog as it receives Federal money as an animal preserve. I still have an old map of the P.I.T.S. trails.
 

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I used to go past there virtually every weekend on the way to the P.I.T.S. to ride dirt bikes with my kids on those trails West of Skeggs point.
You can ride mt bikes there now but you can't take your dog as it receives Federal money as an animal preserve. I still have an old map of the P.I.T.S. trails.
another place in the santa cruz mountains, i remember riding my honda z50 at what is now nisene marks sp. i'm about as green as they come, and know we need to protect habitat, but some times they close off too many areas for riding.

hmm..... makes me think i'm heading to metcalf right now. ride on!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the picture of Alice's Restaurant.

Just be sure to throw some mud on your license plate :) JK
You're welcome. If you want any other pictures in the area let me know and I will try to get one. As for mud on the plate, a piece of duct tape works too -- just leave an edge free so it can quickly be removed.

another place in the santa cruz mountains, i remember riding my honda z50 at what is now nisene marks sp. i'm about as green as they come, and know we need to protect habitat, but some times they close off too many areas for riding.

hmm..... makes me think i'm heading to metcalf right now. ride on!
The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park is a really neat place. Buzzard's Lagoon Rd. goes through it and the upper part of Aptos Creek Fire Rd. is open to powered vehicle traffic, or at least it was the last time I was there about a year ago. To bad it wasn't open to powered vehicles all the way to the bottom. It would be a really fun ride.

So how is Metcalf on a Sunday morning? I have only been there once and that was in the middle of the week. I was looking for an alternative to Hollister. If you ever get some time off in the middle of the week and want to go to Hollister let me know.

Thanks for the video, beautiful area.
You're welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Virtually all the tunnel portals are now on private property so one either admires from a distance, gets permission, or does a very quick in and out to get a picture. I have done all three.

The first is the portal at the used to be town of Laurel. It is guarded by a chain whose function is purely symbolic. Just to the left out of the picture is a house with Cujo sitting on the front porch. Definitely admire from a far.





The tunnel after the Laurel Tunnel (The Laurel Tunnel is tunnel #2) is the Mt. Charley Tunnel (or tunnel #3). One goes down the driveway which used to be the train right of way, 25' past the no trespassing sign, turn left, take a picture, turn left again and you're out of there. Takes about 45 seconds if everything is set up right. No harm, no foul, no one knows you were there. The facade is still there but clearly behind it there has been a cave in.



The best by far is the southern or western end of the Wright Tunnel (Tunnel #1). Here you ask a gentleman who lives at the end of the street for permission to cut across his property to see the tunnel and he enthusiastically joins you. He loves the old tunnel and likes to share it. A great guy! Here the remains are in pretty good shape and no doubt a party spot for the local kids.

The facade is dated 1908 and is made of cement. The tunnel was made in 1880 and the original facade was wood but it fell apart in the 1906 Earthquake.



Standing in the tunnel looking out one sees this.



There used to be a trestle crossing a canyon to the other side but it was dismantled and Mother Nature has reclaimed the area.

This is the last tunnel, #6 or #7. It is in the town of Santa Cruz. It still has the wood opening/facade and they really don't want you going near it and tell you so.



So that is it. A quick synopsis of multiple trips to the Santa Cruz Mountains looking for train tunnels. It was fun.
 

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Thanks for this, really cool stuff. To bad this wasn't kept open for the public to legally see. Then again these old tunnels fall into disrepair and become unsafe. Worth the wait for the pictures. I like the dash-n-go photo shoot.:D
 

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Thanks for that. It's amazing how many hidden treasures there are in this state.

I did some reading up on Laurel and the tunnel system in general. Always nice to locate "back in the day" pics of places like that. There are also pics of work crews hand digging the tunnels elsewhere on the 'net.

Santa Cruz Trains: The Railroads of Santa Cruz County: Laurel Station
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for that. It's amazing how many hidden treasures there are in this state.

I did some reading up on Laurel and the tunnel system in general. Always nice to locate "back in the day" pics of places like that. There are also pics of work crews hand digging the tunnels elsewhere on the 'net.

Santa Cruz Trains: The Railroads of Santa Cruz County: Laurel Station
Excellent link!

I have several books on the area. The Summit Tunnel is often called Wright's Tunnel or tunnel #1. There was a town called Wright's (or Wright or Wrights) Station on the other side of the hill by the tunnel entrance hence the name for the tunnel. The property is now owned by the SJ Water Co. and since 9-11 has a lot of barbed wire and many many no trespassing signs. I rode the TW there and was caught by the security guard before sinning and was informed that because of some homeland security rules the cost of an up close view of the portal is a $1500 fine. I came home and looked at pictures in my books. If it had been $50 I would have taken a chance, maybe even $150 if I was pretty sure I could get away with it, but for $1500 I am a law abiding citizen, yessireee!!!

Glenwood Tunnel = Laurel Tunnel = tunnel #2.

To everyone that said thanks -- You're welcome! I am glad you enjoyed it.
 

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Hey Tony,

I really enjoy your explorations of the backroads and history of this area. I have never ventured much off of Highway 17, 9 and Skyline. Looks like I am really missing out.

For those unfamiliar with where Tony is taking you, the Santa Cruz mountains form the western side of a place you may have heard of - Silicon Valley. That's right, all these old railroads and tunnels, etc., are literally minutes away from the headquarters of Apple, Google, Facebook, ebay, etc., (formerly the big names here were Intel, Hewlett Packard, NASA, etc.).

It's cool to see how much has changed in the last century from steam engines and horse drawn wagons to today's technology, but it is also a little sad. I wonder if those really were simpler times.
 
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