Sonora Run - Sunday June 9, 2024

Your Host(s) for the Event: Paige Lane Route: https://maps.app.goo.gl/tGNYaz7VcvVDeXPLA Download the map for off-line use  - in case we lose...

Santa Cruz Mountains Run - May 20, 2023


Santa Cruz Mountains backroad


Your Host For The Event:

Duane Caldwell

Run Details:

Apologies for the late posting of the run description and registration. The last round of strong "atmospheric river" storms a few short weeks ago washed out a key section of our original route around the backside of Lexington Reservoir, so the route for this run had to be completely revised.

The new route has a few potholes, but not too many. The mountain springs are all running thanks to our very wet winter, so the roads can be wet and slippery in many spots even on clear, sunny days.

We'll start our day by meeting in South San Jose at the Princeton Plaza Mall parking lot (1436 Kooser Road, San Jose, CA 95118) along Kooser Road between Michaels and Walgreens. There is a Starbucks, McDonald's, a small bakery, and an Electrify America charging station all located here in the mall. There are also gas stations between the Hwy. 85/Almaden Expressway offramp and the mall at the intersection of Almaden Expressway and Blossom Hill Road.

Please have a radio tuned to Channel 7-21 CTCSS to hear alerts during the run! The Club has loaners if you don’t have your own. Leaders will use the club radios to alert drivers to hazards, so please have your radios or borrow the club radios to listen in.

The concept for this new run route is a tour through the backroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains, spotlighting the mountain lifestyles instead of following roads heavily traveled by those on their way to the Boardwalk. We will be up close and personal with the scenery and homes of those who live in the mountains. Many of the homes we will pass started as vacation cabins for the wealthy residents of San Francisco back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The small mountain towns we will pass through started in the early 1800s to support the logging and mining industries. The coast redwoods we will see along the way are the tallest living things on the planet and were known to produce enough lumber to build as many as 20 homes from a single tree. Only the famed giant sequoias are more massive than these redwoods.

We will meet in the Princeton Plaza Mall parking lot along Kooser Road between Walgreens and Michaels. Please fill up your gas tanks (or charge your SE batteries) before you arrive. You can stop in to use the restrooms at the Starbucks or McDonald's located in the mall near the Kooser Road and Blossom Hill Road intersection.

Princeton Plaza Mall Meetup Location

After the driver's meeting, we'll head south out of the mall parking lot on Meridian Avenue. We'll turn right onto Coleman Avenue following along the Santa Clara Valley Water District's groundwater recharge ponds named after the historic Almaden Vineyards winery, the oldest commercial winery in California (est. 1852). The winery closed many years ago and the vineyards became tract homes, but the name and the history live on.

A short distance down Coleman, we will turn right at the stop light onto Camden Avenue and immediately transition to the far left lane to make a left at the very first, very close stop light onto Hicks Road. Be prepared to turn and change lanes quickly. Our group leaders will help lead us through only when there is no cross traffic coming down Camden.

Quick Left onto Hicks Road from Camden Ave.

This is where the roads really get fun for MINI drivers. Be prepared for tight and twisty roads as Hicks Road snakes along beside the wooded Guadalupe Creek. We'll turn right at Shannon Road, and start heading up into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains heading towards Los Gatos. We'll make a left turn onto Kennedy Road, watching for oncoming traffic, of course, and start climbing even faster up and over the first set of hills. As we reach the bottom of these hills, we will need to slow down a bit to pass through a quiet neighborhood in the exclusive town of Los Gatos. Please obey the speed limits, stop signs, and watch out for bicyclists and pedestrians. We'll make a left at the stop light onto Los Gatos Boulevard, then a right at the stop light onto Saratoga-Los Gatos Boulevard (one end of Hwy. 9) passing over Hwy. 17 and taking the cloverleaf onto southbound Hwy. 17.

Kennedy Road downhill to Los Gatos

We'll enjoy the Hwy. 17 cruise up into the mountains towards Lexington Reservoir and exit at the Bear Creek offramp. We'll drive past Bear Creek Road back towards Los Gatos on the frontage road, Montevina Road, and turn left onto Black Road. Once again, we will head up into the mountains on tight, twisty, and narrow roads, so keep your eyes open for bicyclists and oncoming traffic. Please stay in your lane and don't blast around those blind hairpin turns if you can't see the roadway through the hillside and the trees. The roads we will travel are popular with driving, motorcycling, and bicycling enthusiasts, and there are many homes along the way.

As we head up Black Road, you'll notice we'll start passing many Christmas tree farms. These farms qualify for government agriculture subsidies, so many homeowners with acreage plant Christmas trees to help pay the bills. We will also pass a few vineyards and wineries. The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is an official viticultural area with a long history of winemaking that is growing in popularity and international acclaim.

Gist Road

We will turn left onto Gist Road. Be prepared for lots of tight, steep hairpins as we climb up the mountain through oaks, redwoods, and mountain homesteads. At the top of the ridgeline, we will make a sharp left turn onto Hwy. 35, taking the southern loop and turning right onto the coast side of Bear Creek Road. This side of Bear Creek road will take us past the David Bruce and Byington wineries on our way to connecting with Hwy. 9 at Boulder Creek. We will pass through one traffic control restriction around a partial road washout, so keep your eyes open for oncoming traffic and listen to your radios for guidance from your group leader.

In Boulder Creek, we will take our rest break at Johnnie's Super Market. Stretch your legs and use the restrooms at one of the nearby businesses. There is a gas station across the street from Johnnie's. We will continue south on Hwy. 9 out of Boulder Creek towards Ben Lomond, but we will turn right and uphill at Alba Road just before we reach Ben Lomond. Alba is a very fun run up through the trees to the next ridgeline. Passengers will have some spectacular views as we travel through some of the burned-out portions of the forest near the top. Drivers should ignore those views and concentrate on the road ahead, as the road gets very entertaining through this section.

Johnnie's Super Market Mural, Boulder Creek

When we reach the top, we will turn left onto Empire Grade Road for a relaxing and scenic cruise downhill to our final destination at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum parking lot. The Arboretum is a series of gardens filled with exotic and some native plants. The grounds and the garden store/nursery are a pleasure to wander through, and you can picnic here if you choose. The Arboretum requests a small donation in one of several donation kiosks if you choose to stay. If you'd rather enjoy a coastal lunch, it is a short drive from UCSC to Santa Cruz.

UCSC Arboretum flowers

Meet-Up Time/Departure Time:

9:30am/ 10:00am

Meet-Up Location:

Princeton Plaza Mall parking lot along Kooser Road between Michaels & Walgreens 1436 Kooser Road San Jose, CA 95118

Additional Run Details:

*Please bring your radio*, fully charged, turned on, and tuned to Channel 7, Subchannel 21 CTCSS before you arrive at the start. If you don’t have a radio, ask for a loaner at the driver’s meeting. For radio recommendations, please see https://www.facebook.com/legacy/notes/728353274556164/.

Be sure to turn the “VOX” voice-activated setting OFF, or we will hear the wind from your AC, your conversations, and any noise in your car broadcasting to everyone.

Make a pit stop before the drivers' briefing. We will be driving for a while through twisty hills before our rest stop up in Groveland, so plan ahead.

Hilly California backroads can be rough, especially after winter storms spawn new and bigger potholes. There are no major hazards that would take out a car, but some of the backroad sections are definitely bumpier than others.

There are stretches where local wildlife may be seen on each side of the road. At some point, these animals may decide to cross the road, so please watch out for deer, wild turkeys, etc. trying to get from one side to the other right in front of your car.



UCSC Arboretum Parking Lot

Lunch Suggestions in Santa Cruz:

Lupulo Craft Beer House
233 Cathcart St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Mission St. BBQ
1618 Mission St. 
Santa Cruz, CA 95023

Seabright Deli
415 Seabright Ave. 
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

West End Tap & Kitchen 344D Ingalls St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Register Via MotorSport Reg:

Check out 2023 Run Calendar for complete list of events for the remainder of this year.

The following guidelines are our best attempt to secure your safety given what is known at this time. They are by no means comprehensive, and we cannot predict every circumstance. Therefore, we are counting on you to exercise your best judgment throughout the event. Please have an awareness and understanding of the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
• NorCal MINIS asks that anyone who is at higher risk for severe illness, feeling unwell, or who has been in contact with anyone that is sick in the last two weeks to STAY HOME
• In line with State guidelines – people who are fully vaccinated may attend without a face mask. If you are not fully vaccinated – we kindly request that you maintain a face covering.
• NorCal MINIs will encourage everyone to maintain personal hygiene in regards to washing hands
• Club loaner radios will be available at the run. These will be sanitized prior to be handed and out will be sanitized again upon return.
• Any PPE you wish to use must be supplied by yourself. This includes any face coverings or hand sanitizing products
• Participants will be required to Sign Waivers Electronically
• Please be courteous with people who wish to maintain PPE and social distancing. It is their choice to do this and we cannot question their vaccine status
Anyone who continually or willfully violates these guidelines will be asked to leave by a club officer or director.
• Any participant that falls ill within 2 weeks after the event MUST contact NorCal MINIs and share a description of their symptoms, related test results and movements during the event
• NorCal MINIs will make every effort to alert affected participants privately of the situation
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to assess the risk to you and make a responsible decision on whether or not to participate. You assume all risks and agree the Club holds no liability if you or anyone in your party should develop any Covid-19 symptoms afterwards by attending a NorCal MINIs event. Participants are required to follow these guidelines; any participant may be asked to leave the event for non-compliance.

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Instructions for joining MotorSportReg and joining NorCal MINIs can be found in the following document:  Instructions