Saturday, June 6, 2015

Making up time

Jim makes us detour into downtown Gilroy. The lunch place I picked out on the far fringe of town closed at 1, and it's currently 1:45.

We are "behind schedule". That's what happens when you descend at 7.7 miles per hour to avoid wiping out in loose sand that's just a little too deep. And dodge rocks that are slightly too big and too many to roll over.

On Route 66, bring at least 32s. Jim's bike has good, wide tires; the Waterford has 25s. Great in a rainstorm or on a packed dirt fire road like Montebello. Back there on Summit they weren't up to the task. I could see Jim's tracks winding ahead of me and could not follow them. Had to pick my own slow, uncertain path.

When there was pavement again, finally, there was relief and we both let out a little holler. Then, proceeded to make up time on the descents. On Mt. Madonna Road, suddenly forested, shady, still damp under the trees. Stunningly beautiful.

And on Hecker Pass, of which I have a vague primitive fear. Narrow, no shoulder most of the way down. Today we luck out: construction is our ally. Two stoplights slow the cars down and batch them together. This helps us keep it together until lunch.

Which is somewhere.

Jim and I have known each other a long time. We can really get on each other's nerves. For example, I'm feeling kind of peeved, dodging the Harleys and cars and people walking around on Monterey Street. It's a real main drag, crowded and noisy and hot. He jokes about there being a slight chance of us finding a place here that serves Mexican food.

Gilroy is an old, old town that was a little too eager to abandon its roots to the automobile. Most people know its car dealerships and fast food joints and gas stations and sprawling outlet mall along 101. There's a downtown?

It's a mystery, then, what draws me to the bowling alley. Its little cafe is open: Scotty's. Serving "American, Mexican, Asian, and Hawaiian food". Exactly the sort of place I'm leery of. If Jim had picked it, there would be mutiny. We lean our bikes in the little waiting area. The place is cozy and full of locals. He makes a beeline for a booth.

Both of us go for breakfast. It seems safe and comfort food goes down fast. Jim, two eggs over easy and sausage and hash browns. Me, Huevos Mexicanos (no cheese), hash browns. Iced tea. While they make the food we each hit the restroom (through the lounge) to freshen up. Our waitress was nice to us, even though I smell bad. That's the kind of place it is.

I swear, there's something about these big diner plates in the waitress' arms, landing on a clean formica table in a booth... That part is slow motion, but the eating is not. Everything is fresh-tasting, hot, delicious.

Jim's literally the fastest eater I've ever known. Fastest Fork in the West. On a bike ride, it's an unfair advantage.


At this point he says "If only I had an English muffin or something to clean my plate..." And looks deliberately around the room at the other patrons.

I roll my eyes and hand over a corn tortilla.

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