Group Ride in the Hill Near San Juan Bautista

My group started out near San Juan Bautista, a town 25 miles South, so I carpooled with a friend with a van who could fit both of our bikes. We did an out and back, climbing San Juan Grade and dropping down onto the Monterey Bay Side, then out Old stage road which ends at the start of the De Anza trail, an off-road route back to San Juan Bautista. That would have been a good choice if it hadn’t rained so much this past weekend. I’ll go do that in the future. This was a great ride on a beautiful fall day. The only problem was the road was pretty bad, with lots of cracks and potholes, on the San Benito county side, though it got much better on the Monterey County side. This made for an adventurous ride on the descent of San Juan Grade on the way back. Fortunately, my bike is considered a gravel bike and has fat tires so handled it well. We had a great lunch in San Juan Bautista afterward.

Looking south from the top of the San Juan Grade
Looking Southweat from the top. Monterey is to the right, this side of the hazy lone of mountains in the distance. It wasn’t completely clear on this side because the morning for had just burned off.
The end of old Stage road, looking North, A friend is talking to the rancher who lives here. His family has been on this land since the 1880s. He said the combination of Old stage road and the De Anza trail was how his great-grandparents got to San Juan Bautista, by horse and buggy.
Sam spot, looking east towards the De Anza trail, which is definitely calling to me for a future adventure
Back in San Juan Bautista for lunch. That’s a historic old adobe building across the street which houses Dona Esther’s, a great Mexican restaurant. San Juan Bautista is a charming and very historic town dating back to 1797. It contains a mission and a nice historical park. Also, it is great for antique shopping.

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