New Year

New Years Eve I spent at my sister Celia's. Ron, her husband, made a wonderful salmon dinner. We drank wine, played Pictionary and after midnight Owen, their son, put on a fireworks display in the back yard.


Click to enlarge and appreciate the full magnitude of Owen's pyrotechnic display. All other pictures will also enlarge with a click of your mouse.

I did not stay late for I had to ride early in the morning.
6:45 am I met Vivian, Neil and Ray at the spot (Los Angeles and Spruce) and we set out for Mt. Diablo.
The sky was overcast and as we got to the top of the Berkeley Hills it was getting light. It was cold but bearable.

Fixing a flat

When we got to the other side of the hills we encountered a cyclist Neil knew, who was fixing a flat. Neil hailed him as having the first flat of the new millennium in northern California.

Oak tree

We rode many miles to get to Mt. Diablo. At one point it seemed a strange squeal was ringing from my wheels. Then as it got louder that didn't seem right; the noise was from up the road. I guessed it was birds. A good quarter mile further along we came upon a tree loaded with birds partying like crazy. Their assembled voices made loud drone. It was some sort of bird event going on. They'd found their spot; all the other trees were bare. Were they celebrating the new year?

I did not take any pictures on the way up Mt. Diablo.
We rode some pretty tough, extended climbs. I ended up pushing ahead and just as I thought I was getting somewhere I rounded a bend and came onto a ridge facing the mountain proper. Mt. Diablo's huge bulk rose inexorably up with its peak in the distance, disappearing into the clouds. Oh, boy did we have our work cut out for us.

The views were very scenic. The roads wound around a great deal. It was a constant grind upwards, but nothing unmanageable until the very top. The last couple hundred yards to the lookout was a straight, steep narrow lane that seemed like it was put there to make you weep.

Climbing in fog

Above is a look at the crest of this cruel test of a climb. Fortunately, once you've climbed it there is no where else to go. There is a station with a look out and the road back down. Above is a look at the crest of this cruel test of a climb. Fortunately, once you've climbed it there is no where else to go. There is a station with a look out and the road back down. I was the first up. Vivian followed about fifteen minutes later.

Vivian climbing

Last time I'd seen her she asked me to be ready to take her picture at the top. As she approached she fretted about being able to make it. She was a stone's throw from the top but ready to but her foot down. But she toughed it out.

Ray climbs

Next up was Ray.

Neil climbs

Followed by Neil.

We all made it.

I need to mention that it was cold. The further up the mountain, the colder it was. My toes were frozen and very uncomfortable. The summit was socked in with no view whatsoever.


This is a plaque from inside the tower overlook. I was looking for the elevation but it is not stated. Mt. Diablo, I've been told, is approximately 3,850 feet tall.

Runners arrived at the top. They'd run nine miles of dirt trails from the bottom to the top. There was a van waiting to take them down. They hooted and hollered as their friends straggled in and were in fine spirits for they had extra clothes in the van.

We poor cyclists had to descend in the cold wearing what we'd brought with us which was mostly damp from our exertions.

I was the last to depart. Part way down I found Neil and Vivian by the side of the road, trying to warm their fingers so they could continue to descend.

We all met up at a station half way down.

Ranger station

The air got warmer as we got further down and I was comfortable for the rest of the ride.

We stopped at Walnut Creek for lunch at a burrito place. Got back to Berkeley late in the afternoon. The whole trip took eight and a half hours.

That was my first day in the year 2000.