SATURDAY BIKING. We had "king tides" from Wednesday through Friday, when the ties are at the highest point for the year due to a particular confluence of conditions. Those were of course work days, but I managed to get down to the Bay to see them on Saturday, when the tides were still within half-a-foot of their height. Generally, the Bay looked very full, as did the Aquatic Park (which has connections to the Bay). Nothing spectacular other than that, but it was fun to see. I rode out to the Berkeley Pedestridan Bridge, then along the Bay Trail out to the Emeryville Marina. I turned around at a bit past 12.15 pm, which was the high tide. I was only out for a couple of hours, even including lunch, which was a nice way to get some exercise & relaxation without killing the whole day. (Though I then went home and napped for part of the remaining afternoon, so ...) I did a total of 15 miles riding on Saturday, but that included groceries later in the day.
SUNDAY BIKING. On Sunday, Kimberly was having lunch out, so I decided to pack myself a lunch and bring it up to Lake Temescal. I took the route straight up Tunnel Road, which I'd only tried once before in the rain, and was pleased to find that it was still a reasonable way to get up the hill. However, on my way to Temescal I came across the "Gateway Emergency Exhibit Center", which is just above the highway. It's a little bit of public land with a big deck on it which gives a beautiful view of the Bay. It was apparently erected in 2003 in memory of the 1991 Berkeley Hills fire. I couldn't resist, and so I had lunch there, overlooking the whole Bay. Beautiful!
While I was eating lunch, I saw a constant flow of bicyclists going up the smaller Tunnel Road where it diverges from what had been route 13. Though it looked like a bit of a hill, I decided to investigate before heading out to Temescal. I'm glad I did! Tunnel Road past 13 turns out to be a beautiful small & quiet road that constantly pushes uphill but at a very acceptable grade thanks to switchback after switchback. It was long, but totally rideable, and everytime I hit the eastern end of a switchback I got a beautiful view of the Bay — growing ever more distant (and more gray) as I climbed the hill. Eventually I slipped over the Caldecott Tunnel and Tunnel turned into Skyline Blvd. Woot!
From there, the ride was pretty level, and really beautiful. Though by now everything had gotten really gray and slightly misty. I thought I'd climbed into the clouds, but later learned that the clouds had instead climbed over the East Bay. Before long I came upon one of the entrances to the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve — which is to say one of the parks that run along the ridges of the East Bay Hills. I eagerly biked in. I vaguely considered riding the Skyline Trail out toward Tilden, but discovered it was really muddy. So, best not. I'd already decided that I wanted to return on a nicer summer day to really enjoy the view on the way up, so it was no great loss not doing that trail then. I did ride one of the paved paths, out to the base of "Round Top", which looked back on very verdant valleys back in the foothills. (Looking at maps now, it seems that the bike trail continued from where I was, but apparently on dirt roads, which would have been muddy too.)
I intended to ride from there out to the Shepherd Canyon Trail, but got turned around and instead took Snake Road down to Montclair. From there it was a pretty normative ride back home ... if continuing to be a little misty.
But, what a ride! One of my favorites. Ascended to somewhere around 1400 feet in Sibley. Rode 15 miles, bringing the weekend total to 30. And I was home by 2pm again. (And I napped again! Sigh.)
ANNOYING BUILDERS & STRANGE NEIGHBORS. So this summer we lost our nice old lady neighbor in the house behind us. The house was apparently purchased by some executive who likes to scream on his cell phone in the backyard and his wife, who also likes to scream on her cell phone in the back yard. (The whole neighborhood could transcribe their conversations if they wanted.) They apparently have a small child who sobs a lot and now have a baby who wails a lot. After they bought the house, builders started working on the house, reroofing at 8am every morning.
We were often awoken and thus annoyed, but reroofing is just a fact of life in buying a house, so we grinned and bore it. Then a week and a half later or so they started reshingling all the sides of the house ... and despite having 6-12 people there every day they were doing it at a glacial rate. I'd go by and they'd be a couple of feet further along the next day. And then, to make things even weirder, all the work stopped with maybe 50% of the shingling done. A couple of times a week we'd hear sobbing, wailing, or cell phone screaming, but the rest of the time the house seemed empty. And the shingling sat like that for months. Many months.
Kimberly and I are storytellers, so we came up with our theory: they were house flippers and had run out of money.
Then last Thursday or so, the damned construction started up again. Shingling or what, I'm not sure. They seem to like to start at ungodly o'clock, then often stop at 9 or 10. What the hell is up with that!? Storyteller me says that they're now giving cut rates to workers before their regular job, but in any case it's really annoying. Especially if they're doing that crap next week, the one week a year that I take off and stay home to relax. And, you know, sleep in. We shall see.
CHRISTMAS TIME. Sunday I finished my own Christmas shopping with a few final items, then tonight Kimberly and I went to the pet store to overindulge in presents for Lucy. According to my math, a cat has about a 1 in 9 chance of liking a present that you get, which worked out when we had 3 cats and 3 presents (total), but now ... I'm figuring the odds are not as good. Well, one of the presents we got Lucy was a new cat dancer that will stick to the wall (for, I suspect, a very brief time). She'll definitely like that.
And we got her a h-a-r-n-e-s-s, because Kimberly and I would love to take her for walks. Not sure that's actually going to happen though.
Now I'm happy as the Christmas present shopping is done!