I boarded the southbound Amtrak Coast Starlight around 2 PM on Tuesday. Trains are my preferred method of travel when it’s too far/long or maybe not the best season to bike. I’ve taken the train to the Bay Area for all of my teens trips, which always seem to happen in late winter. Winter is always a crapshoot for weather in Western Oregon, but all three times I’ve done this trip I’ve been blessed with good weather. It’s great to be able to see Mount Hood and Jefferson in their snow-covered glory on the cruise through the Willamette Valley. But this may have been the first time I was able to see Mount Washington and the Three Sisters from the valley!
Like my last trip in 2017, I opted for the newish Business Class. It’s basically a deluxe Coach car that you pay a premium for. Because it’s more expensive than regular Coach, it means it’s pretty empty. This means a quieter experience and easier sleeping, but it still ain’t Sleeper. Thankfully I’ll be taking a Sleeper Car on the way home!
The ride was mostly uneventful, besides some track work and mechanical issues which meant I got into Emeryville about an hour and a half late on Wednesday morning. No big deal, I didn’t have to “be” anywhere this day! Nope, the only big plans I had was to take the BART over the hills to Walnut Creek, where I’d visit Rivendell Bicycle Works. It was nice chatting with everyone there, including Grant. I got to test ride five bikes, including two that were personally Grant’s! My fave was the Cheviot (so smooth!) and the Gus Boots “hilly” bike prototypes. If only I had an extra couple thousand dollars laying ’round…
I also passed through the Temescal neighborhood in north Oakland. Not many of you know that I did live in the Bay Area. It was just a nine month span from 2000-1. I moved out from Connecticut, excited about the possibilities. Yet I left due to the difficulties of trying to make it here. I had four different homes in nine months, one in San Francisco, the rest in Oakland. I’m 99% over it, but each visit here is still a bittersweet. I passed by two of the houses I lived in, both located in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. And I think of where my life might be today if I stuck around. I’m happy with being in Portland, but there’s always a what if.
Anyhoo, now I find myself in Berkeley, staying at a nice hotel. I’be been put up by Travel Berkeley so I can tour various sites the next couple days, in the hopes I’ll get them some business. (I’m representing Emee’s business.)