The Bay Bridge closed on the evening of Wednesday, August 28, 2013, through Labor Day (today) to prepare the big switch from the old East Span to the brand new one. This meant anticipating – and getting – plenty of traffic through Marin as an alternate route to and fro from San Francisco and the East Bay through the Golden Gate and the San Rafael/Richmond bridges. This also meant that all my plans for these days involved local venues, mostly of the kind easily accessible on two feet or two wheels.
On Thursday afternoon I met friends for happy hour, though I walked to the wrong venue, where I sat nursing a beer imagining my friends stuck in traffic. Thanks to my Twitter addiction it didn’t take long to realize I was a mile or so off the course. Soon I was back on my two feet, walking through places that have always been a blur from the window of the car. Not the prettiest walk along the edifice of ramps on US 101 going north, but I got to play a game of sorts. I took a tally of drivers exiting the ramp along which I made my way and discovered that less than one-fourth of the people passing me in their cars were what the Census would call White. The rest were Latinos and African Americans and Asians.
Meanwhile, my friends at the other venue made sure I would have a place at the bar, though they seemed to think I got lost, given how long it was taking for me to walk in the heat of the afternoon. Thanks to Twitter, though, they were alerted by another Twitter friend that I was nearly there, as that friend happened to spot this photo (below) I posted on Instagram along the way. And so the evening, or rather, the happy hour was saved and the beer was walked off in the many miles I covered on two feet that day.
All that walking took its toll on the old legs that are more used to pedaling. Seems that 5 miles did them in way more than 36 miles on the pedals on Tuesday.
Yesterday brought us a show of clouds that turned pretty spectacular and ever more colorful with the passing of each hour. It also brought a few other odd sights, at least for me. As I walked through the hills of Greenbrae in the afternoon, when I decided it was too late for a bike ride, I had to do a double take when I spotted this bird, a denizen of the marshlands, standing around a lawn, swaying its neck, as if gently slapped by wind or wave. It moved slowly, as if practicing a dance for the first time, but then, all of a sudden, its head went fast forward and came back just as swiftly with a lizard twitching in its beak.
Sunset lit up those clouds and colored them wildly. My Instagram and Twitter feeds created instant albums from all parts of the Bay Area of the same sky from different angles.
Sunset over Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Greenbrae/Kentfield
Today, inspired by Diana Nyad’s swim from Cuba to Florida, I set out on my bike to tackle a couple of hills that have scared me away so far. I wish I could say that I climbed up all of them with ease and with the wind of inspiration beneath my wheels, but I have to confess that I did have to walk the bike on the middle part of White’s Hill going west on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Coming back, going east that is, I managed to climb up, if not easily, at least steady all the way to the top and then have a bit of a thrill going down, with fairly heavy traffic making me grip those handlebars a little tighter than was comfortable. From Fairfax I rode back to Larkspur then to Corte Madera and up Camino Alto, just to see if I still had it in my legs and lungs, and it turned out that I did, this time easily. All in all, I rode some 42 miles and climbed over 1,700 feet, but the big feat, a metric century ride on the Tour de Fuzz, still awaits me in two weeks… and two weeks after, a smaller ride for the Canary Challenge.