Going to the Birds in Bodega Bay

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It started with an early morning email from Penzey’s Spice Company. I was highly motivated to get the poster commemorating the moonwalk and pie. They have a shop in Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa, CA and I have family in Sonoma County to drop a few things off. Then the dogs piled on the bed and I looked at the weather forecast. It was an easy decision to pile into the car with the dogs and head to the coast. I stopped at my cousin Kim’s, then Penzey’s, then headed toward Bodega Bay.

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Alfred Hitchcock filmed the classic horror film, The Birds, in Bodega Bay. I found my way to Highway 1 and Bodega Bay via Sebastopol. It was tempting to stop along the way and would have if Gravenstein apples were ripe. (Festival is August 17) By the time I got to the town of Bodega Bay I was feeling peckish and the dogs needed some water.

The Birds Cafe is named for the film and offers great local options–chowder, fish and chips. The staff remarked that I was one of many customers with a Sacramento Republic jersey. People from the Great Valley are looking to escape the heat! I enjoyed my fish and chips and especially the view from the deck. The sky was overcast and that was a plus. In the summertime hot temperatures inland usually sucks the fog over the coast and lowers temps by 20 degrees.

The staff at Birds Cafe gave me a suggestion for a place for the dogs to play in the surf. I was disappointed because there wasn’t much beach for them to run on but the dogs went right in!

We drove on to Petaluma to see more family and for the dogs to romp some more. Again, I wish traffic wasn’t so miserable (coming and going) because it is so enjoyable to visit the coast.

San Francisco Book Destination

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261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway, San Francisco

It all started with a postcard from my World’s Greatest Bookstores postcards. I also had a vague memory of going to City Lights Books when I was in high school. Once I arrived at City Lights, I realized that I may not have shopped here, and confused it with Clean, Well Lighted Place for Books. Alas the latter has closed.

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The view of the Ferry Building from Sens restaurant, a mediocre mediterranean restaurant.

I drove to San Francisco to meet friends for lunch. I chose a place at Embarcadero Center 1 and planned to leave my car and walk to City Lights with a quick stop at the Allbirds store.

The neighborhood of Columbus at Broadway is still full of character, including the shady nightclubs I remember walking past in my youth on the way to see the play, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. The alley next to the bookstore is named after writer Jack Kerouac (one of the many streets named for authors in a map Bikes to Books: A literary cycling tour of San Francisco”)

IMG_8049The store was busy! And jammed with books and staff picks everywhere. I could have spent so much more time there. Sadly I couldn’t stop thinking about the traffic congesting on I-80 while I browsed. So I made a bee-line to the cash register and asked the bookseller if they had Don’t Speak. He was so good he read my mind and said, “You might mean Say Nothing.” Yep, not the No Doubt song. He had several copies behind the counter.

IMG_8050I enjoyed the walk back to the parking lot where it only cost $35 to get my car out of the parking lot after 3 hours. Ouch. Then I began the crawl out of the City. On my way in, it took 1.75 hours to drive from Sacramento to San Francisco. On a Friday afternoon it took 3.5 hours. That’s when I remember why I don’t go to San Francisco more often.

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Traffic!

 

 

Sacramento Pride Weekend

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I’m on Council for St John’s Lutheran in midtown Sacramento. We have sponsored a booth at Sacramento Pride festival for many years. I helped put the booth together on a windy morning Saturday. We had to work together with the body piercing and square dancing booths on either side to ensure we didn’t all blow away.

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This is what community looks like: everyone helping each other set up.

Sunday’s activities include the parade at 11:00 from Southside Park and Lizzo performs at 4:00 p.m.

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Me, Rebekah, Devon, and Pastor Jon

General one day pass is $10; general weekend pass is $15. Join in the fun and support the LGTBQ community and the Stonewall Anniversary.

Swatch: World Wide Knit in Public Day

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Vicky Content was the first to arrive and got started knitting in public on the bench outside.

I knit in public all the time when I travel and I enjoy the curious comments I get from flight crews, and others. Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA sponsored a 4 hour event to celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day. They were prepared to provide supplies and instructions for the curious. Those couple of dozen of us who gathered at 10 a.m. were experienced knitters and mostly interested in enjoying the company of other knitters.

Someone started mentioning our favorite instructional videos on YouTube and that led to a lively sharing of all of our favorites–Stitches West, Vogue Knitting, and other resources. Some people drove over from the Bay Area. We shared our projects, whether we’d tried continental knitting, and where we shop in Northern California for yarn.

I had made plans for noon, so I had to leave a little after an hour to cycle home. Next year I’ll plan to stay longer.  I’m a member of Crocker Art Museum but knitters could enter for free to participate. The cafe was open for coffee and tea, lunch and other good things to eat.

There were 440 KIPs (Knitting in Public events) held in 33 countries around the world.  Better Living Through Stitching Together is the motto and all of the events are organized by volunteer knitters.

 

Flying Stand-by with a Southwest Buddy Pass

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Sacramento Airport, Ralph Goings, Crocker Art Museum collection

My son-in-law works for Southwest Airlines and one of the performance rewards he can earn is a buddy pass. He has given me a buddy pass twice now and I am figuring out how to make flying stand by work for me. The buddy pass is a non-rev (non-revenue) ticket and the lowest priority–after employees, bumped passengers, other airline employees, and employee family members. But it’s FREE!

So if you are NOT under a strict timeline, it is a great way to travel. Did I mention that it is free.

IMG_7925 (1)I had just debriefed with my son-in-law Marcos about his experience traveling as an airline employee to Barcelona. I was reminded of the importance of being patient in the face of delay, and kind to all airline employees. Not only did they not create the situation (fully-booked plane) and they are more likely to do what they can for me if I’m pleasant. Everyone I encountered was a professional and very friendly, but they are not responsible to get me on the flight. I am flying STAND-BY.

My most recent experience taught me some new things about air travel.  Marcos and I looked at the flight options from Sacramento to Grand Rapids a week before my travel date to identify the combinations with the most open seats to give me the best chance to complete all of my travel in one day. Even though I knew it was possible to make one leg but not the next, when I was in Baltimore and the desk agent was saying it was unlikely I’d get on the only flight to Grand Rapids, I was surprised. I quickly scanned my options. I looked up the time to drive to my friend Ray in Fennville from Chicago–but it was a 2.5 hour drive and the flight wouldn’t arrive until late. Fortunately I have a good friend a short train ride from BWI.

I was asked to wait until the plane loaded and then the desk agent would let me know. I dashed to get some lunch and brought it back to the gate. I was about half way through my burger and my name was called–after a half dozen other names. No one else had responded. I dumped the rest of my lunch in the bin and dashed for the gate. I was the very last person on the plane. The flight crew urged me to take the first available middle seat. I thankfully sank into it and texted everyone that I made it!

I usually travel light but this time I trimmed it even further so I had just one carryon with no extra purse or computer bag. My carryon fit under the seat so I didn’t have to worry about overhead bin space. I assumed I’d be in a middle seat so I didn’t bring my knitting (elbows in!)

IMG_7924 (1)On the way home I thought traveling on a Sunday would be easier. I had to rise super early to drive back to Grand Rapids for a 6:30 flight. There were open seats so they gave me my boarding pass in C group. And it all went well. When I arrived in Denver the C terminal was going crazy. It seemed like every gate was boarding. The gate agent said Sundays are always very busy. It was only 8:30 but it was already looking unlikely I’d get home that day. I found myself mentally checking: friend in Denver, yes. If she’s not home I can stay at a hotel and get some sleep!

This particular flight at preboarding had three people in wheelchairs and a couple of unaccompanied minors. There were also lots of families returning from graduations. One Southwest employee had precedence. I chatted with a pilot from United Airlines trying to get home and he also was in front of me on the list. He assured me that he wouldn’t have my seat because he can sit in the jump seat. I laughed and said I am flying stand by, so don’t worry. I really did feel zen about it. Another panicked passenger missed his flight to Southern California and the Sacramento flight was going on to Orange County. Southwest couldn’t guarantee him a spot on to the OC but he’d definitely get there in the evening if he got stuck in Sacramento. There were no more flights from Denver to Orange County. He took it. I felt a little more tenuous and that was okay. I sat and watched people board and found amusement in their choice of traveling attire. I remember when people dressed up to fly. Now many people look like they are going to a sleep over or to the gym. The gate agent called other names, then mine.

Eureka! I got the last seat again! I quickly grabbed my bag and headed down the ramp. The flight crew said, “All the way in the back.” By the time I was two-thirds down the aisle I could see only one seat in the last row. Then I saw the United pilot rise from the last row and move back to the jump seat. Whew! (and thank you!)

10948AC9-10B3-426A-806B-28E54EA88562 (1)I texted my family that I made it! Remarking on my good luck, my son-in-law texted back, “When you get back buy a lotto ticket on the way home. lol” I took his advice but my good fortune didn’t last that long.

I will use his buddy pass again. Not when I am connecting to LAX for an international flight, or when I need to be at someone’s celebration. I will use a buddy pass with more enthusiasm if I can get where I want to go on a direct flight that leaves early in the morning. Traveling is full of uncertainty, and we all get bent out of shape when our plans go awry. Accepting the chance involved puts some of the mystery and adventure back into flying.

Cycling Round Sacramento

3Z0B0GuiQ8uWnfkA+GdsPgThis weekend I spent Saturday afternoon enjoying what my hometown has to offer. Sacramento has invested in protected bike lanes and traffic safety. And now the Jump scooters and electric bike programs are fully implemented. I rode my own cruiser round town and couldn’t help but smile at the number of people enjoying the bright red Jump scooters and bikes. Why not? The sun was shining and a light breeze kept the temperature in the 80’s. Trees are leafing out on every avenue, roses around the capitol are heavy in bloom, and the rivers are running full.

I cycled across Midtown to my favorite local spot, Easy on I, for a brunch steak with breakfast potatoes (yum!). Then I traveled across 16th Street into downtown. Families were excitedly headed to the Convention Center for the Lego event. Young girls in white were posing for photos after their first communion, wedding parties set digital memories in front of the Capitol, and a poker tournament was getting underway at Morton’s.

I stopped in the middle of Capitol Mall to check out the Jorge Marin “Wings of the City” statues. One is designed for taking photos to look as if you have just touched down from your own flight over the capitol. The other two are interesting and part of an exhibit sponsored by the City of Sacramento, the Mexican Consulate and the Jorge Martin Foundacion. There are nine monumental pieces of bronze sculpture located around the perimeter of the capitol.

eO%Gd6IhR3mXQnGxy9ExLAMy destination was the River Walk Park in West Sacramento. It is just across the Tower Bridge (on the other side of the river from Old Sacramento state park). The City of West Sacramento has done a great job developing their side of the Sacramento River. I was going to listen to my friend Nailah Pope-Harden speak at the March for Science. It made a great setting, but I wondered if participation was dampened at all by people who aren’t familiar with the River Walk Park. It was my first visit.

I cycled home thinking how wonderful our city is for young people, families, and old farts like me.  Next weekend Sacramento will be hosting the Tour of California bike race. We will welcome bicycling professionals and their fans to our fair city. See you soon.

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UC Davis Arboretum Just Got Better!

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I have always loved walking around the UC Davis Arboretum. It was well established when I was a graduate student in the late 1980s, and even then it had a serious water quality problem in Putah Creek. The algae and other problems caused duck die offs and some stinky stretches. Now with a new design to help clean up Putah Creek, you can actually see the turtles swimming in the creek. The redwood grove has new plantings on the floor, and the new trailhead in downtown Davis is complete. If you haven’t been in a while, it is worthy of another look.

The new infrastructure in the creek helps to keep the water clean. Plus it introduces the sound of running water to your walk along the trail. You will get a healthy 3.5 miles of steps if you walk the entire loop. Along the way you’ll enjoy over 20 gardens, interesting bridges and paths and only occasional glimpses of campus life. I’m sure it’s kept many a student sane.

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Watch for slider turtles. The iNaturalist app suggests this is a painted slider.

I belong to the Arboretum so I learn about their plant sales and enjoy a discount. The Arboretum is free of charge. Most days you’ll have to pay for campus parking if you are starting from the oak grove side near the medical campus, so instead park behind Mikuni’s restaurant (by the closed Whole Foods). When you finish up you can enjoy a meal at Pluto’s or Mikuni’s. I’m taking my grandson on Friday!

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Trailhead accessible at end of D Street, in downtown Davis. Put “Arboretum GATEway Garden” into Google Maps.