Horse with No Name - Quiet Country Lanes of the Bay Area - CycleBlaze

December 15, 2020

Horse with No Name

My dear Pokey (or, now that she's got a motor, Poke-E) really loves the Deborah Butterfield cast bronze horses, one of which I showed y'all a couple of rides ago. I really like them too. There are a few more horses in the area, some of which we can actually visit. I thought I'd make a ride of it to see a couple of them and introduce Pokey.

The first one I showed you was a Horse with No Name (does anyone remember that song by the band America?). The next closest one we can't see because it's inside the closed Cantor Center for the Arts, a wonderful gallery on the Stanford campus. That one does have a name, Viktoria. I meant to ride by the art center to at least show you where she lives but I forgot. We'll get to see Butternut by the Stanford Hospital and then another Horse with No Name in the next county. We're supposed to stay within our own counties just now due to the lockdown but please don't tell anyone I went a few hundred feet within the next one.

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Our route is through a pleasant Bay Area residential area. I took snaps of whatever caught my eye to give you an idea of what it looks like. There are some pretty nice houses and some interesting ones and some eye-of-the-beholder ones. Part of it used to be a major fruit packing area when there were orchards all over. For a good part of the way to the Stanford campus I rode parallel to the tracks for Caltrain, the commuter line between San Jose and San Francisco.

This is a typical house in Palo Alto circa 1950s or 60s. It probably rates as a tear-down now. Most folks who'd buy this house would demolish it and build something better. That might be a good idea - looks like it has the original windows so makes you wonder about the wiring and plumbing. And the commuter and freight train tracks right behind its back fence might knock a few hundred thousand off the asking price. But then you get that desirable Palo Alto address ....
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I always wondered if this house, which looks older to me, was a farm house before everything else grew up around it.
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I hope it's nice on the inside and just what they wanted.
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What used to be industrial has become corporate over time. There is a secondary downtown around California Avenue, which has a Caltrain station, so businesses are filling in nearby.

This building was a fruit cannery for a long time, then one of the earliest computer superstores, now mostly vacant except for a few small businesses.
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First happened upon this a few months ago while pootling around side streets I'd never been on. These benches were made from a valley oak that was on the site but fell over in a storm in 2016. They think it sprouted around 1880. It was 60 feet high, had a canopy spread of about 70 feet and the diameter was 51 inches.
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I like what they did with this house. I realized later that they were probably watching me via the two spy cameras.
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Nearby is this edifice. Has a nice large lot though. Took them 2 years to build. I thought it was a custom build for whoever bought the old house, but it went up for sale as soon as it was finished.
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Remember that fallen oak just a few photos ago? My route took us past another fabulous example of the valley oak. I hope the folks who take care of it are getting some kind of subsidy or tax break because this tree has seen a lot.

Here's a living valley oak, still losing its fall foliage. Measured in Google Earth, its canopy is almost 100 feet. Possibly 60 feet high.
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The diameter ain't exactly small either.
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I got off the residential streets and onto a bike path that runs to downtown Palo Alto from Paly High (as they call it) right along the train tracks.

A quiet lane for bikes and peds. At the moment. This is a commuter and freight line between San Jose and San Francisco. On the left is the Palo Alto High School campus.
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The Palo Alto train station is a nice Art Deco-ish building sporting its Southern Pacific Railroad logo. SP still runs freight on this line but Amtrak manages the Caltrain passenger service.
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Nearby is a nice restaurant in an historic building. I'd know a Julia Morgan building anywhere. She designed it in 1918. According to the historical plaque placed outside, it was called the Hostess Building. It originally served as a meeting place for servicemen and their visitors at Camp Fremont, a large World War I training camp in the area. It is the only remaining structure from California's WWI Army training camps.

The last standing building from the Army's WWI training camps in California, this started as the meeting place for the trainees and their visitors and was designed by Julia Morgan. Then it was the first community center in the US. It's currently a restaurant that may or may not survive the pandemic.
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I moved along from Julia's little project and dared to enter the Stanford campus at its main entrance. As I stopped to take photos, I plotzed in the middle of the pedestrian path, forcing a pedestrian to go around me using the bike path. Sorry about that.

Entering Stanford University. This way is cheaper than matriculating.
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Stanford campus is 8180 acres (3310 hectares). Where there aren't buildings or athletic facilities or infrastructure there is a lot of oak woodlands.

Lots of oaks around here.
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I wonder why they had to cover up this memorial. It's a marble weeping angel that Jane Lathrop Stanford had made to remember her ne'er-do-well brother.
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The Stanford Mausoleum where Leland, Jane, and Leland Jr are interred.
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Leland Stanford was one of the Big Four robber barons out here in California. He made his money as a merchant during the Gold Rush, then was a big wheel with Wells Fargo and the Southern Pacific Railroad (you know, golden spike and all that). The Stanfords started their university to honor their son and only child, Leland Jr., who died at 15 of typhoid fever while they were traveling in Italy. The school is officially Leland Stanford Junior University. College wags like to emphasize the Junior.

Not far from the mausoleum is a surprise amidst all the oaks: the Arizona Garden. It's less than a quarter acre just packed with wonderful cacti and succulents. I first came across this completely by accident wandering around after getting lost on the campus. The sun lit up just the garden which made its appearance even more magical. So the Andersons and Iniguezes aren't the only ones that are grooving on the cacti right now.

Not far away from the mausoleum in a clearing in the middle of oaks is this little gem, the Arizona Garden.
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Rachael AndersonLooks like where we are!
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11 months ago
Kathleen JonesYessirree bob it sure does
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11 months ago
It's not very big but it sure is packed with cool stuff.
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A Mark DiSuvero on the Dean's Lawn of the medical school. The birds seem to like it too. Bonus points if you find the black phoebe.
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Nice Brutalist cast-concrete hospital, no? No.
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Well, here's the new one just opened early this year! And art.
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Stanford recently opened a new hospital building that is pretty darn nice. I unfortunately had to spend time there when my mother was admitted there in February for a broken leg. At least I was able to be in the room with her at that time. There was a bed for me to sleep in, and an iPad to order her (and me!) meals from the great cafeteria, and fabulous views since we were pretty high up. The old hospital building, still in service, doesn't have such nice amenities.

When I was visiting the hospital back then I found that there was another Deborah Butterfield horse installed outside the main entrance. Butternut is aptly named due to her coloring. I gave her a little pet on the nose before I saw the sign that said don't touch. I'm not sure I like her siting - she is almost underneath a walkway between the two hospital buildings. Yet she and Pokey found a lot to talk about.

Pokey meets Butternut.
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From the hospital I rode to the far edge of the campus near San Francisquito Creek, the county line and the next edge I will be following. Didn't realize there would be this little theme of following boundaries.

I opted for the bike path along the edge of the campus to get back to civilization.
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Ah, civilization! This is El Camino Real, or King's Road. Not counting the freeways this is the main road down the San Francisco Peninsula. It mostly doesn't look as nice as this.
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Right after crossing El Camino I made a left to cross San Francisquito Creek to head to our next horse in the town of Menlo Park. Before we got there I stopped at the historical markers for El Palo Alto. Gaspar de Portola and his merry band were tramping around here in 1769 looking for Monterey that someone had said was somewhere nearby (it's about 90 miles south). However, their sorties from here up into the hills did allow them to "discover" San Francisco Bay. The two redwoods (now one) were used as a landmark for Portola's map and several subsequent early maps of the area made by the Spaniards. Early photos of the trees show a couple of poor weedy specimens; the surviving one is doing all right due to water piped up to the top to mist the tree. Around 1865 Southern Pacific decided to build their rail line right next to the trees.

This here is a historical spot. Spaniards were here in 1769.
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After crossing the creek into the next county, there is another historical marker about the Portola expedition. Don't know why it's here instead of where the tree is, but one side of the creek is probably as good as the other.

Ooops. Missed Monterey. Might as well walk back to San Diego.
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A mile or so later downstream, as it were, we find another Horse with No Name. I only learned about this horse a few months ago as I was driving by. I have no idea how long it's been there - could be years since I'm only a fairly recent devotee of Deborah Butterfield and may not have really noticed it.

This horse is on the former campus of Lane Publishing, which produced Sunset magazine. Sunset started out as a promotional magazine for the Southern Pacific RR in 1898, then was bought by the Lane family in 1929. They turned Sunset into a lifestyle magazine and how-to book empire that is somehow still going today (the Lanes sold to Time Warner in 1990, and a few years ago it was bought by a private equity firm, which usually means doom for any publication). They also moved the headquarters from SF to Menlo Park in 1951, where on a 9-acre parcel where they built distinctive adobe-type ranch buildings for their editorial offices and test kitchens as well as a fabulous test garden.

If you had a garden, lived west of the hundredth meridian, and had the leisure or interest, you may or may not have had a subscription to the magazine but you did have their Western Garden Book as your gardening bible, not to mention a few of their cookbooks and how-to books on shelf-making or deck building or similar. Their annual tours of the gardens were great.

In the last 10 years or so most of the acreage was sold to real estate developers. There are nice homes here. The office buildings remain.

Well, hello Horse. As close as Pokey can get.
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Horse.
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A look at the entryway for one of the remaining Sunset office buildings.
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Close-up of the door. Handle is about 15 inches long.
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We said good-bye to Horse and took a road that followed the creek's meander pretty faithfully.

Mid-20th Century injection mold art on a eucalyptus along San Francisquito Creek, San Mateo County side.
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Gingko art by Mother Nature.
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After this I crossed the creek back into my own county and started racing for home. My rides these days are limited by the strength of my bladder; relief options were unavailable between here and home. I was able to go past one last piece of art that is in someone's front yard. I didn't see on first pass because the hedges around it have grown so much in the past two years it's been around.

Frog with No Name
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Bill ShaneyfeltI suspect its original subject had this name...

https://www.google.com/search?q=blue+poison+dart+frog&rlz=1CAPPDO_enUS799US803&oq=blue+poison+&aqs=chrome.0.0i355i457j46j0j69i57j0l4.6699j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
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11 months ago
Kathleen JonesTo Bill ShaneyfeltHa! Didn't expect to get the honor of a Shaneyfelt ID. Thanks, Bill. Makes me rethink how great a neighborhood this is in.
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11 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltI do enjoy all kinds of photography, but especially nature. I graduated from Arizona State in Tempe, AZ back in'69, but ended up working Civil Service as an Explosives Safety Manager. Retired Jan. 08, and since then have frequented cycle touring journals and doing what I'd loved to have been able to do as a career.

Interesting to see that someone counts my nature ID as an honor! Never thought of that. Thanks!
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11 months ago

Today's ride: 16 miles (26 km)
Total: 88 miles (142 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 6
Mike AylingGreat report Kathleen.
I enjoyed all the historical details.

Mike
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11 months ago
Scott AndersonOf course I remember that song. It was big when I was released from the Army. It’s amusing to be reminded that the song was banned by some radio stations in America.
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11 months ago
Kathleen JonesTo Scott AndersonYes, it was because they thought it referred to heroin.

I lurved America. Soundtrack to my college years. They even came to my college on tour. Got to hear them play in the main gym, which had the acoustics of a garbage can.
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11 months ago
Kathleen JonesTo Mike AylingThanks Mike. Glad you enjoy the historical bits. I think I spend more time researching and fact-checking myself about these places than I take to do the ride, but I enjoy it.
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11 months ago
Suzanne GibsonNice tour, thanks for all the info and pics!

I have a nephew in Palo Alto - don't have his address, though. But when I visited years ago, we took a neighborhood walk to see all the interesting and impressive homes. He's a carpenter and I think his home is impressive mainly on the inside.
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11 months ago
Kathleen JonesTo Suzanne GibsonIf your nephew is still working as a carpenter he'd be keeping very busy right now. So much construction and remodeling going on. And yes lots of impressive houses.
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11 months ago