Two Ridges - Grouse W6/NS-195 and Lowell Hill W6/NS-306

My goal was during this time of social distancing I wanted a summits that were sufficiently remote - but that is not what I found. The highway traffic was reasonably light - meaning no slowdowns due to heavy traffic. I stopped at the Gold Run rest area on I-80 as the last good opportunity for a break before the summit - almost every parking place filled with lots of families and small groups of friends who were not social distancing, although for the most part everyone was masked. Found a parking spot and went for the necessary. Returning to my car I realized that my keys were not in my pocket and after hoping that nothing was stolen and peering thru the window I saw my keys sitting on the drivers seat of my locked car! I tried all the doors (twice) and decided to try using my 5/8ths wave to push thru the weather stripping to pop open the door lock - tried three different windows without success, but my antenna now has two bends in it. Called AAA and they sent a truck to open my car for me - arrived 15 minutes earlier than predicted, opened the car and I was on my way, but now about 1 hour later than planned. This summit is a rough drive up 5 miles of improved dirt road - I recommend a high clearance vehicle but 4WD is not needed; you can probably manage in a sedan with slow and thoughtful progress. The trailhead at the summit is about 220’ (elevation) from the top with generous and easy parking - except this was a weekend and every spot was filled - I have never seen so many people camping and hiking at 7500’. It took a while but someone drove away and I snagged a good parking spot and headed for the AZ - only met 2 people coming down as I went up and 2 people going up as I was coming down. There was already an activator on the summit - operating 2M FM so I stopped lower in the AZ and set up for HF. With the delayed arrival (keys locked in car) I worked stations on 14Mhz and 10Mhz and headed for my second summit. Lesson learned - do not activate Grouse Ridge on a weekend - and don’t lock the car with your keys inside!
After leaving Grouse Ridge, Lowell Hill Ridge is a short drive to the summit. On Grouse Ridge I had a crowd of campers, hikers, and vehicles to contend with (even had trouble finding a parking spot) but Lowell Hill Ridge was much nicer. The improved dirt road to the summit is much smoother - easily navigated in a sedan but a high clearance is always nice. About 1/4 mile up the road there was a big camping gathering, but no one past there and no one at the summit. Operated on 14Mhz, 10Mhz and 7Mhz with a good supply of patient chasers. Lowell and Grouse go well together; however, I recommend a weekday rather than a weekend. Uneventful drive back to Sonoma County. Left home at 6:00 AM and arrived back by 6:00 PM.

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I worked the guy on Grouse who was using 2m. All those people you see invading our nice rural mountain areas are coming from the cities in the valleys down below and bringing their diseases with them. Not cool.

Many years ago I stopped skiing because I found people from the Bay Area didn’t know how to behave in the wilderness (or drive in the snow) so skiing for me just wasn’t enjoyable anymore. My hats off to AA0BV for putting up with the crazies!

73 ~ ed

My last 5 cars have had remote keyless entry/central locking and the 3 before that had key central locking. The only car I’ve owned that it was impossible to lock the keys inside was a mid-2000’s Honda CRV. You either used the mechanical key or you used the remote fob. To use either the key or the fob it had to be in your hand. I’ve owned cars where you could press the locking snib and when you shut the door unless you held the handle operated the lock would unlock. But on the Honda, you used the key or the fob to lock the car. There was no way to lock the keys in. If you used the fob to unlock the doors and never opened any door then the car would relock after 30secs. If you had opened a door then you had to use the key or fob to lock the car. You could not lock the keys inside and I thought that was just brilliant.

I replaced it with a very posh Audi A5. That had a menu option with about 7 million different ways of configuring the locks. 6999999 of those methods enabled you to lock the keys in the car. Hey this was a pricey car and all Vorchsprung durch Technic but there was only one lock mode that was failsafe. Whenever the car came back from servicing or when the battery had been out I had to reconfigure the locks back to the only failsafe mode. Unless put into the failsafe mode you could unlock the boot/trunk with the fob, physically open and put the keys inside then close it and have it autolock your keys inside :frowning: I found it a seriously backwards step that you could easily configure a ‘lock my keys inside’ mode.

My current BMW appears to be failsafe. But I must admit not to have delved to far into iDrive options. By default you need the remote fob to lock or unlock. There’s a button to open and raise/close the tailgate but again you cannot lock anything without the fob. It appears failsafe by default but I’m sure if I dig into iDrive there will be a way to configure a lock me out mode!

Full marks to Honda here and nul-points to everyone else!

I think Grouse Ridge is only crowded because everything outdoors is crowded during coronavirus. When I went, I drove up one Saturday morning, and had my pick of campsites before walking up to the summit, where maybe half a dozen people came by in the few hours I was up there. There were still empty campsites when I went to sleep that night.

Jeff - I agree that Grouse was suffering from COVID-19 syndrome. I rarely activate on weekends - just to avoid the crowds - but Saturday, August 1st I’ll be on Anthony Peak W6/CC-010 in the Mendocino National Forest. Since it is a greater distance from major population centers I hope to find fewer visitors. August 1st starts the SOTA Flavour of the Month on 17M and I will be attempting 23cm ops on 1296.1-SSB and 1294.5-FM.

My daily driver is a 1931 Ford Model A (no, I am not joking). The only door lock on the outside of the car is on the passenger side. Henry Ford didn’t put a door handle key lock on the driver side because he only wanted people getting in from the sidewalk side of the car, not the traffic side. Anyway, you have to use the key to lock the door after you get out. Getting in, you use the key to unlock the passenger door, then climb in and reach across the car to flip the latch and unlock the driver side door. Then walk around the car and get in.

My YT channel has lots of videos that include my daily driver at if you still don’t believe me.