BICYCLE EXCURSION. - Sonoma Democrat, 14 July 1894

From Wooljersey


A Run of Three Cyclers Through the Midland Counties.

In reply to our request for some notes on their trip south we received the following from one of the three Santa Rosa wheelmen who spent a week traveling around in spite of strikes and tie-ups:

"Our party consisted of L. W. Burris, L. C. Cnopius and C. E. Brooks, and as we were out for pleasure and not for a record we traveled by rail and boat to San Francisco and from there wheeled our way to San Jose, where we arrived the same day we left home. The first twenty miles were not as good as Sonoma county roads, while the next thirty miles were slightly better and much more so where roads are sprinkled nearer to San Jose, but our road material is better and so will our roads be when they are properly taken care of. We found very few orchards on our road to San Jose. Most of the country is barren and windy, with sheltered places occupied by beautiful country residences. We rode through the grounds of many of these and passed through San Bruno, San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo, Palo Alto, Leland Stanford University, Mountain View, Santa Clara and several other other points, sometimes stopping an hour or so and often riding through without a stop.

At San Jose we spent a day riding through the fruit district, which is mostly all in one direction. All the roads are well kept and sprinkled and lined on both sides with splendid-looking orchards. The prune crop in the Santa Clara valley will be decidedly light, although the fruit will be larger. Some trees have no prunes at all.

"We rode fast or slow as we felt inclined, stopped to talk to the people along the road, inspected their pumping and irrigating plants, and were treated nicely wherever we went. The bicycle seems to have found a place in the affections of the people in general, and we were constantly greeted by smiles and cheerful words from the people we met along our way

"Mount Hamilton is twenty-seven miles from San Jose and the road is almost one continuous up-grade. As visitors are allowed to peep at the stars through the great telescope only on Saturday evening we had our trouble for our pains. We also had the pleasure of riding down the hill again, a joy which only riders of the silent steed and they who have traveled on the Sunset City scenic railway can appreciate.

"From San Jose to Gilroy the road for thirty miles through grain and pasture fields was the best we found, and we made it in less than three hours, including stops. Orchards are the exception rather than the rule. From Gilroy to San Juan the road is good. At San Juan some old adobes, the mission of San Juan and the old olive trees entertained us for an hour. This was the last station at which we found Examiners, delivered a distance of a hundred miles from San Francisco with bicycles, at nearly railroad time. The road from San Juan to Salinas is good, with the exception of three miles up hill. At Salinas we found six improvised stages, with from four to ten passengers each, resting and changing horses on the way from San Jose to Del Monte. It was the general opinion that the good old times would come again if the strike would only last long enough. Not a paper or letter had been received at Salinas for two days. Santa Clara county has a Sunday saloon-closing ordinance, which is strictly upheld, and we were obliged to enter those gilded palaces through a side entrance if we wanted a glass of mineral water, with or without a stick in it, as the front door of each was securely closed. The usual group of loafers was there and they kindly pointed out the way without even being asked.

"From Salinas to Del Monte the roads are sandy and for many miles unfit for travel, and runs through a barren country which made the grounds of Del Monte seem like a paradise. The hotel and grounds are as beautiful as they are advertised to be, and with our dusty clothes and sunburnt faces we only felt partly at home and left next morning early for Monterey and Pacific Grove. Monterey is a little, old-fashioned town, without any life and only some old adobes and missions as points of interest. Pacific Grove is more modern. The celebrated eighteen-mile drive is a splendid road. The beach at Pacific Grove is but a small spot and one hundred people could not stand at one time in all the shallow water to be found, while a hundred steam engines could not take the chill off the water. After a row out on the bay and a plunge in the icy water we headed our wheels again toward Monterey, where we waited for the steamer Corona, which landed at 10 o'clock in the fog and cold with every berth occupied, a passenger asleep on every chair on the cabin floor, on the tables and on the steps, no place being left except a bench on deck, and some could not even get a blanket or a pillow.

"Next day our company parted. One had an engagement for an excursion on the bay, while two left for Stockton to attend the great bicycle races there, as a guests of the Bay City wheelmen, and thus ended one of the most pleasant and interesting vacations we ever passed."

Sonoma Democrat, Volume XXXVII, Number 40, 14 July 1894