Mercy, Mercy by Franz Kelsch

| October 21, 2007 11:42 am

You can tell that fall is in the air. Not the real cool temperatures as some parts of the country, but still much cooler than the long and warm summer we have enjoyed. We decided to go on one of the club rides on our tandem that started in Paicines, about a 25 mile drive from our home. The route took us on a beautiful Panoche road with very little traffic. Panoche Rd. was originally a stage coach route used by many of the early California pioneers in particular those people that were doing business with the nearby, New Idria (Quicksilver) mine.

About 24 riders showed up for this annual club ride. Besides Ann and I on the tandem, there were another four tandem pairs.

ACTC Riders

The first 10 miles is mostly flat, with some rollers, then there is about 7 miles of climbing, nothing real steep but it all adds up. Then it is down to the valley and a strong tail wind that took us at speeds in excess of 30 mph to the Panoche Inn. This Inn is about the only thing out in this area. No fall colors to see, unless the sagebrush can be counted.A check of the flag at the Inn showed the strong tail wind we had enjoyed so far.

Panoche Inn

With 27 miles already in, we had the option to ride out to New Idria or Mercey Hot Springs. I rode the New Idria route in August and the road is real rough. The group we were with decided on the later option so we headed out the 8 miles to Mercey Hot Springs. The Hot Springs was known about by native Indians and was shown to a man “John N. Merci” who acquired the land for the purpose of raising sheep. Merci, who had his name changed to “Mercy” to be more Americanized, sold the property in 1912 to Frederick Bourn, a San Francisco based real estate developer who is responsible for the construction of many of the building still existing today and now being renovated by the current owners.

Ann and Franz at Mercey Hot Springs

Some of the guys from the south county that I ride with for both road and mountain bikes were with us so Ann took this photo of our group. Where is Chuck?

Jim, Kley, Franz, Doug and Eric at Mercey Hot Springs

Paul, my team mate for the Furance Creek 508 was also there.

Franz and Paul

We then headed back to the Panoche Inn. On the way there Ann took from the back of the tandem of John.


We were all hunger for lunch when we made it back to the Inn.

Panoche Inn

It is an interesting Inn inside. There must be about a thousand one dollar bills that people have signed and pinned to the wall and ceiling.

Inside Panoche Inn

The strong tailwind we had enjoyed on the way out meant a strong headwind returning. Going into a headwind on the tandem is not quite as hard as on a single bike because you have the power of two to fight against the wind but the wind drag of only one person. Ann continued to take some photos from the back of the tandem on the way back. We first past Thompson’s who had stopped to take some pictures.


We then came upon Greg and Rita.

Greg adn Rita

We ended up with 71 miles by the time we finished. It was a very nice ride.

Click here to see a slide show of all the above photos plus more.

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