It’s late afternoon on Wednesday February 6th as I type this. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight is cruising through the Cascade Range en route to Portland. The train is about five hours late due to a mishap en route. It’s no big deal, I don’t have to be home by a specific time tonight. And on the way back I got a sleeper car, so I have a comfy and private place to while away the hours. (Oh yeah, the meals are included! 😛 )
The big bonus is I get to see the area between Redding and Klamath Falls in the daylight. It’s a pretty scenic portion of the route, going through the Sacramento River Canyon. I get to also catch glimpses of Mount Shasta in its snow-covered glory!
Anyways, the trip was okay. The highlights were visiting Rivendell, the couple days on the Visit Berkeley junket, and the ride up to Fairfax in Marin County to see the bike museum (Joe Breeze was there!) And I also got to meet Jacquie Phelan and Charlie Cunningham at their Offhand Manor. Plus, I managed to sell some comix and zines to a few different places! This was something I commonly did on trips from about 1998 through about 2009, but have barely done over the past decade.
But the Bay Area is still the Bay Area. Going around this time of year does not guarantee good weather, and I encountered basically the same type of dampness I would have gotten if I stayed home. Plus there was just enough of the non-fun quirks typical to the Bay Area, like trying to figure out how to get my bike around via transit, everything more expensive, and more traffic everywhere. I left the Bay Area eighteen years ago. While I did it under duress, I don’t regret leaving and ending up in Portland.
So a visit every two or three years is just enough for me. Next time I come down I should aim for a time with better weather. That way riding around would be more enjoyable. And I should definitely spend more time in Marin than “The City”. I do realize that Marin has its own cliches, and is more expensive than San Francisco. But damn, I do enjoy cruising around there. And I want to explore that whole North Bay more, the area I never got to when I lived down there.
Now Portland, and more specifically, Emee awaits me! I hear it’s supposed to snow this weekend…