Tag Archives: san jose

Highland Way, Nisene Marks, 7.2018

Somewhere around 30 July I found myself in a car with a sleeping kid on 17, so I figured it’d be a good day to drive out to one of my favorite views in the world, southwest from Highland Way, which is in fact not what the Los Gatos crowd calls Summit Road, but indeed the road below it. At sunset the view to the south (left in the photo) feels like the end of the world. Not even the Hearst-Argyle tower is visible; just a curtain of pointy trees and the coastal fog.

IMG_0305

This photo was taken from the well-known lookout point about a half mile southeast of “Mar Vista,” only about 14 miles from the bottom of Buzzard Lagoon, as the sign indicates. Recently it has been polluted by what appears to be a truckbed full of household refuse.

IMG_0309.jpg

I wish I knew what that ridge to the south is called. I can only say that this deep valley heading toward the void Pacific (center of photo) is where the Hinckley and East Branch Soquel creeks slice down deep over the shoulder of Nisene Marks and help create the moat around the fortress of the Soquel Demonstration Forest. I went to a crazy crazy party up that damn muddy Hinckley/Amaya territory in 2007, let me tell you. But you wouldn’t believe it.

IMG_0302.jpg

As you can see, nature is leading a successful roadfighting campaign, probably from winter 2017. I’ve tried this on my bike when I was a wee little boy, from the Mount Madonna Road side, which is a fucking puker. Not knowing at the time that said road becomes Loma Prieta Way and not indeed Highland, I made it only as far as Croy Ridge Road before I turned back (still don’t bring food or water on rides), and now I see why. This was before Google Maps or practical internet in my house.

IMG_0308.jpgNow that I’ve seen it and counted the miles from the Los Gatos side, I’m excited to try the escapade again by bike, this winter, using my old pal the Los Gatos Creek Trail route. Living in San José has its perks!

Advertisements

San José Floats On the Backs of Salmon

In The Guadalupe River and the Hidden Heart of San José, Eric Simons writes in the latest Bay Nature magazine about my beloved and trash-choked Guadalupe River and its system in the Santa Clara Valley. The interviewee, Roger Castillo, has showed the writer around the city where salmon, whom I never see in my stretch of the Guadalupe, are living in the storm drains of the freeway system. I found this astoundingly poetic. Homeless fish living under the freeway because they can’t afford the river! Thanks, successful people!

andreaLaue_guadalupeRiver-8768.jpg

Photo by Andrea Laue of the storm channel along the Guadalupe Trail facing Park Avenue from San Fernando Street. I disagree with the sanitization and happy color but it’s a good picture.

The article is worth a read no matter where you live. If it smashes some preconceptions about Silicon Valley, that’s a bonus. There are a lot of us in this town who would love to see the freeways, semiconductors and banks vanish with their neonazi brogrammer operators and have our cheapass stonefruit and goats back.

Those moved to help the river can sign up to clean it with the 222 Crew of South Bay Clean Creeks Coalition, a local organization with community-based anarchy leadership. Make it a punishment for when your kids are on their phone too much!

In related news, I recently looked and found out that people living downtown such as the Washington “Goosetown” and Reed neighborhoods use groundwater, so it’s in everyone’s best interest not to trash the river.

SJPD Clears Homeless Shelf Under 280/87 20 June 2018

Beginning approximately 1PM today, Wednesday 20 June 2018, cops cleared out the Shelf, a popular camping spot for homeless San José citizens.

unnamed-2

The Shelf is on the Guadalupe Path, beneath the 280/87 interchange, whose conception is documented in Jan McDaniel’s master’s thesis Demolition of a San José Neighborhood. The novel I’m working on takes place right here, as does much of my real free time.

unnamed

Was on my bike finally on the way to visit someone there, when the cops show up. Crews in trucks marked Tucker and Jensen came to pack up trash and whatever gets left behind. SJPD is known to impound and eventually destroy property during sweeps like these.

It is not totally illegal to sleep out in San José, which is a rare luxury in the area. However, a representative of the Santa Clara Water District confirmed by telephone today that it “owns” the entire Guadalupe River. Water companies in the city are known to frown on camping on their property, so the call to clear the Shelf could have come from them. There is also a restriction on sleeping in cars and “storing” vehicles on public curbs.

It’s a drag because the camp has held out for a solid six months, as peacefully as we can imagine without having seen it the whole time. A man I was talking to as a source for my novel was living there, though I did not see him when the sweep began , and now I’m not sure if I’ll find him again. We haven’t traded phone numbers. I would like to have shown him my appreciation better, even with just a beer or a sandwich.

Clifford Coulter – Sal Si Puedes

How in the hell did I only just find out, today, 19.6.18, about Clifford Coulter and his East Side tunes??? And on Impulse! Man, I owe a lot to Eric Avila for Folklore of the Freeway. His bibliography saved me from looking like an ignoramus. The book gave me the tip about the Mayfair district being called Sal Si Puedes (there’s one in Watsonville too, heh), as well as about Helena María Viramontes’ Their Dogs Came With Them that I finished yesterday. Let’s get out if we can.

Apply yourself and it comes to you …
If you believe in this lie, you’re a fool, my friend!
The odds are too high, you’ll never win. That’s the way it is.

Eastside Meadows Loop Ride


Found my new favorite ride in the Sierra de Santa Isabel region of San José this morning, which I dub “Eastside Meadows Loop.” I’d been looking at the maps and interested in two new routes: Sierra over this gnarly fire road back down into Alum Rock Park itself, and another route that went up Clayton over either to Alum Rock or Quimby via 130, the very top. I’ll write more about Sierra when I get around to it, but it’s a widowmaker, and I want to ride it strictly out of completism.

Instead of heading to specific spots, I started out straight down Story and just went until I ran out of road. The backroad that joins to it is called Fleming, which went northwest the high road along a nice deep cut between the first hill out of the city and the proper rise of the mountains. When the sun is behind the trees, it’s cool even on summer mornings. It’s definitely suburban, but there are spots that are still more country, even down that low. Beware: Corralitos Road, which sounded good, doesn’t have a dead-end sign like its neighbor roads, but is indeed a dead end, and steep one at that.

Fleming ends at Alum Rock, and then just as it gets steep it connects at right to 130. As the Google Map insists on rendering for you, there’s a shortcut up Porter to Alum Rock. To be honest I still never had done that hill, and I see why those Amgen CEO-ride ninnies use it. They weren’t kidding that it’s the easy way up the mountains, and also the most scenic, with views of apricot orchards, Dario’s Ranch, some old weird dead yuppie palaces with dead-walnut yards and neglected tennis courts, wild turkeys, quail, horse pasture and of course durr. And of course the rotting pustule of Silicon Valley poking out below.

Somewhere around the 12000 address mark of 130 (Mount Hamilton) there’s a doppelgänger for the two shithouses approximately at 4000 Quimby that ruin not one but two peaks standing mightily against the view of the valley. Some douchebags are going around like “hey! It’s the finite resource of two peaks shoulder to shoulder. Let’s wreck it for everyone and put two shite McMansions there!”

Just as one starts to feel the very easy but long 4% climb, the option appears to either keep going up another mile to Quimby or head down Clayton. I’d found Clayton in spite of myself! But the funny part is, when I got down again, I saw that I’d started there and not bothered to read signs to the right when I went up Story! So it was a big perfect loop.

The land up there looks like a solid wall from down in the valley, but it’s actually a slow stepping landscape of slopes and wide meadows. I thought about taking a picture with my Capitalist Scum device, but then I thought, nah. You want to see it, you got to ride it yourself!

I’m glad I did Clayton on the down rather than the up this time, because I enjoyed the Mount Hamilton section more than I otherwise might have. But I did go right past the monastery of the Descalzos and didn’t even notice. Clayton’s land is a little more like Quimby’s, not an easy grade up through high meadows but an express-elevator to the top. Much preferable for making a lovely loop to enjoy the season. Plus, Quimby’s surroundings suck at the bottom; there’s no fast way to get out of Tully-land up to the center of the city.

Once I got down I also accomplished a goal of going to a new liquor store, Jack’s, at the end of Jackson. Where the hell do you go to drink a beer in public at 10am on the east side, besides everywhere? Finally went to Emma Prusch. When you got the best, forget the rest.

Got an under-reported ride in the Santa Cruz or Diablo mountains? Comment it below!

Street Avocados in San José

This late in December, finally the avocado tree at our building is ready to glean. There’s a whole lot of fruit on it. Today my neighbor invited me to borrow his gancho and I took just this much, trying to take from the highest reaches so he could get the easier stuff. As you can see in the photo at left, some even matured on the tree.

20171218_163351

After a mellow but bastard-long summer, and what looks to be another bleak winter, my faith in San José is restored when a distant good winter gives us this many avocados. My landlord is barely aware of the tree and will get nothing from it as he grasps after the paperwork simulacrum of his genocidal private property, where we can now choose to feed ourselves on it or give it away to those who need it more than we do. I sure as shit won’t be letting any millennials make toast out of them!

There’s got to be like $1000 in market-value fruit on it if we could safely get at all of it. No narco conflict, no gasoline, no exploited labor, no dipshit agribusiness, no [further] deforestation, no sprays or chemicals of any kind, no Whole Foods, and no fucking organic certification!

Si se me acaba el dinerohh oohhhhhh … ¡les pagoohhhh con aguacate eeees!!

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2017/09/08/avocado-prices-soar.cnnmoney/index.html

David Mejia’s Before and After Thanksgiving

Finally, finally made it to the fourth floor of my beloved King Library, after a bitter monthlong absence, to be shit last in seeing San José old hand David Mejia’s exhibition Before and After Thanksgiving. It’s a painting (watercolor, right?) exercise and a modest history lesson. Mejia has been pushing his stuff for years. One of my favorites is the profane and puerile Ballman. It’s excellent that he’s getting some love at the library. Go see the paintings before November 30! I’ll let the paintings speak for themselves:

 

20171118_09570220171118_09574320171118_09581320171118_095558

 

Low-res, off-center photos posted for collegiality and appreciation only. I really dig the playful but purposeful use of color and the comic book-style planning in general. It gives an emotional directness needed by the subject, just as an improvised shamanic performance would in a more advanced culture than our own.

I also like how he mentioned using fish as fertilizer in poor soils, because it reminded me of the many years of my life I spent wondering why the fuck, as it said in some school textbook of mine, they “planted fish.”

miami25n-1-webDavid Mejia