1 Year: The Gasoline Anniversary

OK, so technically your first anniversary is the paper anniversary according to US custom, but that's not particularly appropriate for a car. Still, I bought what is probably my most prized possession one year ago yesterday, and I wanted to do a little something to commemorate the occasion.

So, I checked my tire pressure, filled up my tank, bought myself a GoPro, donned my recently-received Automatic t-shirt…

Me wearing my Automatic t-shirt, a thoughtful gift they sent for being a beta tester.

… and hit the road for a drive I've been wanting to take for quite some time now.

The Route

The route covers a stretch of road from Livermore to Patterson called Mines Road. It starts just outside downtown, ascends into the Diablo Mountains, and winds its way through before it eventually joins Route 130 to become Del Puerto Canyon Road, where it exits onto I-5 to the east.

A rough outline of the route taken

Or at least, that was the intent. If you look closely at the map — and know your California interstates — you'll see I actually stopped just shy of I-5, and turned around. Though the trip was indeed lovely, as the sun started to set, I had to choose between ending at I-5 and still being an hour away from home, or using that time to bring myself closer to home.

As it turns out, one of my all-time favorite roads in California stood between me and home. I picked that one.

Turn the other way onto Route 130, and you climb to the summit of Mt. Hamilton, home to the Lick Observatory. It remains perhaps the most challenging road I've driven in the Bay Area, but the payoff is high: on the way back down, the entirety of Silicon Valley stretches out in front of you as you wind your way back through gentle hills and pastures. I was desperately hoping to capture a video of this part, but alas, the GoPro batteries had long since died. It looked a little something like this though:

An overhead view of Silicon Valley, halfway down Mt. Hamilton.

And this, perhaps, was actually the most fitting end to the trip I could choose. See, I took another photo from the top of Mt. Hamilton:

The directional sign taken atop Mt. Hamilton last year

This one, though, was taken on October 13th, 2013. Three days after purchasing my car, as my first real challenging excursion, I drove it to the top of Mt. Hamilton from San Jose. Today, almost exactly one year later, I completed the loop from the Livermore side.

The entire drive took over four and a half hours and covered a hair more than 163 miles; boy did it remind me why I bought the car I did.

The Video

So, without further ado, here's and incredibly abridged version of the drive that I came up with after a little bit of editing. Enjoy!

In total I have about an hour and 10 minutes of footage, I'll try to get more of it up in the not-too-distant future.


Notes about safety and legality: As you've probably figured out by now, I really like driving in the mountains, and I've been doing it for quite some time. It takes practice to do it well. If you want to go out and try it, by all means do, but be safe: start slow, start small, and practice on roads you know well, in the daytime, with a buddy in the car. Know the limits, including the posted speed limits for the road, your limits as a driver, your vehicle's limits, and those imposed on us by Sir Isaac; and remember to focus on the road, not the scenery, as breathtaking as it may be.