When I’m down here visiting the Plex I often stay at Hotel Zico; it’s comfy and attractive and inexpensive and central. It offers more or less nothing by way of food but I have breakfast at Google and don’t eat at hotels otherwise anyhow. It’s right at the intersection of 85 and 82 and thereby hangs a tale.
I pulled into the parking lot earlier than usual on Monday and noticed that the parking lot had unusually high wire fences and behind them were lots of trees and other unattended greenery.
The closer I looked, the weirder it got. There were trees and a valley with water at the bottom and I could even see a paved footpath; but (this is on El Camino just barely north of 85) no obvious way to get there; tall chain-link fances everywhere. Wait... if you were looney enough to get up and use the El Camino sidewalk (a thing no Real Californian would ever do), you could hop over the railing and scramble down a dirt slope to the footpath. So I did.
I looked down the path and saw no-one; then up the path and saw a large male individual dressed in black walking toward me. It occurred to me that this empty path might be a well-known Bay Area hangout for meth dealers or S&M hookups or Hello Kitty cultists, in which case that slither down the slope was probably ill-considered. Suddenly he turned around and walked the other way, and it occurred to me that he’d just observed a large male individual dressed in black with a broad-brimmed hat come hurtling onto the path in what probably looked like a threatening or at least eccentric fashion; he was probably a pleasant gentleman who just wanted to have a calm evening walk away from slithering strangers.
So I had to head downhill or it would have looked like I was stalking the poor guy. That worked out pretty well; I was immersed in what’s as close to wilderness as central Mountain View offers. It was weird because the thunder from the Route 85 traffic was obtrusive and continuous, but the vegetation seemed mostly undisturbed; there were birds, and the dusky sun made it all rather pretty.
In particular these big bushes full of yellow flowers.
The closer you got, the better they looked.
This one in particular; yes, it really was all those colors, I cranked the contrast a bit but only a really little bit. I stood there looking at it for a while.
The desertedness of the whole thing was a little eerie; eventually I came to a parking lot with signs telling everyone that this was part of the Stevens Creek Trail. Which I can testify is not very heavily used on April Monday evenings.
I walked quite a long way down then came back to get off on Yuba Drive so I wouldn’t have to scramble back up the hill.
I really liked that street; Mountain View is seriously infected with Silly Valley hipness and money, but Yuba Drive has your necessary metal-benders and utility yards and a rather nice-looking nursery, its parking lot equipped with a large Mountain View Police Department SUV and a friendly-looking officer sound asleep behind the wheel, protecting the annuals and perennials from the criminal element.
Well, then I got to the BMW dealership but fortunately it was a short hike home.