Local residents know that the roads in our area draw an interesting mix of people. Besides drivers of cars we are apt to meet bikers (motorized or not) skateboarders, an occasional horse rider heading for a local trail, dog walkers, joggers, strollers...you've met them and may be one of them. Mostly these people are out to enjoy the beauty of the landscape--whether it's vistas of Mindego Hill against a fog shrouded panorama sweeping to the sea or redwoods squeezing the roadway to a single lane between ferny banks. I can only hope that locals as well as visitors realize how beautiful our roads are.
One has to wonder about the motorcycle angled so far into the turn that it almost hits you head on or the SUV buzzing up the road threatening oncoming traffic with a scrape on the bank or a tumble over the side into the canyon--if not a head on crash. Are they seeing the sights or testing the road? More likely testing the road and their vehicle.
Of course, tourists paying too much attention to the scenery can also pose a risk...we've all seen that, too. We can hope in this case that they will pull over at Heritage Grove, get out of the car and take their time inspecting the beauty of our area.
Depending on your state of mind or the nature of your personality, Alpine Road, with its hairpin turns, can be a relaxing and often-anticipated outing or a white-knuckled challenge never to be repeated. And there are those of us to whom it's simply the neighborhood street you travel whenever you go anywhere.
Thanks to Google we have a nice map of the Alpine road turns--switchback, hairpin, whatever you want to call them. Sometimes you can look ahead and see what's coming so you can find a wide spot to dodge into just in case the oncoming vehicle has no clue where the middle of the road is. Frequent travelers know where those safety zones are! The outside turns leave you to hug the bank and run your wheels as close to whatever ditch might be there or keep to the outside shoulder, if there is one, and hope you don't run a wheel overboard. It's always good to drive as if there is a car heading your way around that turn.
Locals don't necessarily drive slowly. We just know where to take care. We respect our road.
I suppose the "road testers" look upon locals as a hazard, slowing them down. But those people can even get into trouble when no one else is on the road. Take for instance the other Google picture of the hairpin turn. This is where Alpine emerges from the wooded canyon onto the ridge that separates the San Gregorio watershed from the Pescadero. This is one of those turns where you can see the oncoming traffic if you know where to look. At one point, given perfect timing, the driver on the up side could probably spit out the window and hit the roof of the car coming from the other direction--but don't try that please!
It seems like someone coming up the road a few weeks ago was caught by surprise by this hairpin, which seems strange since they had negotiated the ones farther down. The car failed to turn and headed straight into a small oak tree, debarking it like a cork oak. (See bottom photo) The front grill was still beside the road. I was curious about the model of car but I'm not up-to-date on those emblems. A Google search helped me identify it as coming from an Infiniti™.
The Infiniti™ website says, Boldly Break Away! We believe a luxury vehicle should connect you to the road, not insulate you from it. It should put you in charge, not take charge. It should make your heart beat faster, not lull you to sleep.
Put you in charge? For some reason I think the road is the one in charge around here.
Yup. We respect our road!