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Drove to Rio Del Mar SB again. We started heading out on Hwy 17 but traffic forced us to turn back and take the back roads – my favorite back road, actually. I finally got to drive McKean road in daylight with little traffic (or a marathon) to interfere and it was the enjoyable drive I knew it would be! Great sweepers, majestic views, great visibility and lots of turns and little elevation change.

The clouds on an otherwise sunny day were thanks to CDPR who removed the fire rings sometime in the last two weeks, effectively cancelling our cook out. For future reference, beach fire season ends just before Thanksgiving.

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November 25, 2012 driver's log

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The e30 has been acting so strangely lately but today it was running great so I decided to put my trust in it to get us to Rio Del Mar SB and back. It’s amazing how much this little car will hold: I got all my emergency car parts, automotive fluids and tools in the trunk as well as 2 bundles of wood and all of our day’s supplies – a tent, sand toys and food.

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A – Santa Clara to Aptos CA via Hwy 17


Driven this route enough to be comfortable with it. I didn’t like some of the hills in Aptos though – there is almost nothing more nerve racking for me than encountering a stop sign on a 45˚ incline.

B – Rio Del Mar SB


A great beach with fire pits that officially closes at 10:00PM and is regularily patrolled so drunken rowdies are kept to a minimum. Lots of local families and the one group of teenagers seemed well behaved and played music we liked (Boney M and dubstep). We pitched a tent, lit a camp fire and cooked our dinner over it. Definitely doing this again!

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November 11, 2012 driver's log

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I got up at 5AM and drove to Santa Cruz. That’s a strange town… lots of 24 hour restuarants and sketchy people out early in the morning. Of course, I look sketchy with this car and my hipster king moustache. I felt conspicuous driving around in the dark but the cops didn’t seem to even look in my direction. Hwy 17 is getting fun now that I know it better. Here’s some photos with lots of lense flare:

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November 4, 2012 driver's log, photos

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Took the e30 on it’s longest single journey to date, this time with the family!

A – Start: Santa Clara


Packed the sand toys, beach blanket, ukelele and other stuff into the e30 and departed shortly before 8AM. Hit a Starbucks then left town.

B – McKean Road


Definitely one of the valley’s hidden driving gems. Driven this stretch once before but today the opposing lane was marked off with traffic cones for a marathon. We saw deer and the occassional runner in our lane so I had to take it slow. The scenery was pretty and I found drive mellow when the sun is out, would have been more enjoyable without the marathon. I’m sure the runners felt the same about me.

C – Capitola


The drive over Hecker Pass to Hwy 1 and onward to Capitola was great. Hecker Pass and it’s hair pin turns are familiar to me now and in the revealing light of day everything felt fun and safe. Visibility around corners is great and the changes in elevation are fun. Had breakfast at Zelda’s, played on the beach, then around noon we grabbed coffee and headed north to Half Moon Bay.
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E – Half Moon Bay


Taking Hwy 1 out of Capitola sucks, since the first 7-10 miles are through city streets. After that it was easy driving. Half Moon Bay is terrible for traffic though, practically gridlock.

F – La Honda Rd.


Because Hwy 92 was bumper-to-bumper we took La Honda Rd. instead. And this is where things started suck. We got stuck behind a slow, cautious driver who insisted on driving 10 mph under the speed limit, then another driver who – I kid you not – drove between 5 mph and a top speed of 25 mph down the mountain. I could not drive slow enough and rode the brakes the whol way. This is where the car developed a misfire, but we did get home o.k. As for the road, La Honda is a beautiful road, great curves, elevation changes and visibility around corners. This is a popular drive for a reason.

October 29, 2012 driver's log

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Woke up at 4AM and decided to drive. I didn’t realize it had been raining until I got to my car. And I didn’t realize that the roads were terrible until I turned onto the highway and skidded when accellerating out of my turn and simultaneously being an idiot. I remembered the CCC from Saturday and caught the primary skid easily, and also the small secondary skid. After that I took the corners a little slower. Here’s the route I took, more or less.

A – Start, Santa Clara:

    Took a round-about way to the highway to avoid as many red lights as possible, then go on 280 and took it to 101. In the future I’ll try to get on Almaden Expressway instead of taking the 101.

    B – McKean Road:

      Beautiful road that eventually becomes Uvas Road. Lots of gently arcing turns, little elevation changes and the speed limit gets as high as 50 mph. Center line is well marked as are all the turns. This is probably a beautiful Sunday drive. Locked up my tires when a fox darted out in front of my car.

      C – Watsonville Road (Hecker Pass):


      Starts out flat and gentle but soon the road becomes hairpin turns with exhilarating elevation changes and beautiful 1 lane bridges. There are some amazing views, which I only saw hints of because it was pitch black. This road would have been more enjoyable if I was familiar with it, it was not night and it was not raining.

      D – Highway 1 to 17 North:


      Driven this stretch before. It was raining, people either drive too fast or too slow. Wish I’d turned around and taken the scenic route back home. Some great roads that I will definitely revisit another time (preferably when the sun is out).

      October 22, 2012 driver's log, video