Hello again Napkin Kin! Here is the part 2 of my epic road trip to the west coast this past week. You can read part 1 here.
Since Chelsea and Graham live in a studio apartment with a new born, my housing was obviously going to be elsewhere. I found a great Airbnb spot about 6 blocks away in the Berkeley Hills. This is their living room overlooking the small winding street below. Edrie and her partner JoAnn were friendly and hospitable hosts, with coffee in a French press ready for me each morning.
Chelsea’s family unit had an appointment on Tuesday morning so I was solo for a few hours. I took advantage of the time to get my first run in. I had to return the U-Haul trailer and the location was way down in flats of Berkeley, near the San Francisco Bay. I figured there had to be running trails near the bay and I found a great one that goes for miles and miles. Within that trail was a loop that went out into the bay towards the Berkeley Marina. It was there that I found Cesar Chavez Park, with a great latticework of dirt and asphalt trails.
The sky was overcast and the air was cool with that fantastic California ocean breeze. After a summer of 90 + degree running days in Tulsa, it was exhilarating to run in cooler temps. It wasn’t just the temps but the surroundings. This little peninsula of a park was beautiful and natural. You would not know you were in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of the United States, that is for sure. But as I crested over a little hill in the middle of the park I realized where I was.
It may look like just a trail with water in the background but look close. The water leads to a bridge on the left, which leads to a city which lead to another bridge in the center right. One of the best things about running in new places is how you always end up seeing that place in ways you can’t anticipate. Seeing the Bay Bridge, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge all at the same time from this angle was fantastic. It was so cool I made this loop about 3 times, going 2 miles further than I had planned, just so I could experience it longer.
Then of course there is the more mundane angle to a run. What can be a majestic bay is always a small and intimate one with birds and mud and grass just like the Arkansas River back home or any other body of water. But look close again and there are always things to admire and wonder at.
Here is another thing runners often see that others don’t, the homeless. Of course in most cities you don’t find them waking up with this view. A night outdoors might be a tad bit easier on the SF Bay, but overall I have a feeling the burden is the same no matter where it is.
As I turned around at the halfway point of my run I glimpsed the BerkeleyMarina and the Berkeley Hills from whence I had come.
When I returned the Coleman-Patzner family were folding laundry and playing. No worries, he isn’t about to break his neck. He does a lot of backward and upward bending motions and his neck is already quite strong. I experienced it first hand. Not bad for a 6 week old!
Otis and I hung out on the porch for a while. He was quite mesmerized by the amazing stories of my many road trips, as you can tell.
So much so that it wore him out. Here he is dreaming of going on an epic road trip with Papa Marty.
Even though Linda wasn’t there, I knew it was what she would have done so Chelsea, Otis and I went on a shopping trip that afternoon, getting stuff for the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. We also got fixins for a family dinner.
Graham’s parents, Curt and Karla Patzner, came over for dinner. I had met Karla before but hadn’t met Curt. I liked him because well, he had a nice hat. What more did I need to know, right? I made Linda’s famous Smoked Salmon Pasta with lemon and Dill. It went over pretty well!
It was babysitting day for me! Graham and Chelsea took a break in the afternoon to go see a movie and Papa Marty and Mr. Otis had our first bonding time alone.
But first Graham got Otis all ready for our big adventure. I don’t know Graham all that well, having only met him a few times, once when I visited California last year and another when Chelsea and he came to Oklahoma on their own epic road trip in the spring. That trip was a 6 week music tour around the entire US of A in a little Saturn car while Chelsea was preggers so yes, it was truly epic! Graham has been a very attentive and hands on father, playing with Otis, changing diapers, just taking care of business as a father. It’s been good to see.
While he slept I did a bit of work in the kitchen, moving out the fridge to put in a plug and mopping the floor. After that we went for a walk around the neighborhood. I introduced him to the jungle that is in the Berkeley Hills, with an elephant standing guard in a corner yard.
It was made of old pieces of tires. It was amazing.
A lot of Berkeley is amazing. While most homes don’t have huge land mammals in their yards, most of the homes have fantastic flowers and landscaping in their hilly lots. The homes are of all sorts, with a large percentage being of the Arts and Crafts movement, one of my favorite architectural styles.
The day ended with us going out to a Himalayan Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue in what is known as the Gourmet Ghetto area of Berkeley. It is too, amazing amount of restaurants in a very short stretch. It was really good!
California Road Trip, Part 1
Tomorrow the final day and the drive home!