[Written after being home for a week.]
On the way out of Shelter Cove, I stopped at the general store, just to see it. It is tiny. And it is the only store in town.
After that, back on the long and winding road, ending at Highway 101. From there, I drove south to San Pablo, in the East Bay, outside of Oakland and Richmond. This portion of Highway 101 doesn't have spectacular views, but it was still scenic and relaxing.
I had booked a little Airbnb a few blocks from where another nephew J, his partner C, and my grand-nephew (now five months old) live. (The nephews and nieces and partners I visited are my brother's adult children; my sister's adult children live in New York State and New Jersey.)
I had approximately the same amount of time in San Pablo as I did in Shelter Cove: dinner and the evening, a full day, then leave the following morning. J, like me, is an intrepid urban explorer and tour guide, and he showed me several really interesting spots in the Richmond-Oakland area. Previously I had been to Oakland for baseball, but hadn't seen anything else, so this was a real treat. Here are some highlights.
Point Molate is one of many "points" in the East Bay, little peninsulas that each have their own character. That character is often very pricey real estate and upscale shopping. Point Molate, however, is completely undeveloped.
The area has been the subject of a decades-long, ongoing land dispute. (A series of articles on Point Molate's "unique and colorful history" begins here.) While the land is being fought over, it's been left wild. There are miles of hiking and bike trails, with some interesting landmarks: abandoned, boarded-up barracks, and Winehaven Castle, a fortress-like brick complex that was once the largest winery in the country. The empty buildings give the area a haunted, dystopian look. (In this aerial view, the barracks are on the right, the fortress on the left.)
At the very tip of the peninsula is San Pablo Harbor, a tiny, funky outpost of counterculture. Floathouses and sculptures constructed for Burning Man share the space with a flock of goats and a "pirate" barbeque joint. On the weekends there is live music. The website makes it seem more developed and commercial than it looks -- but also has great video views, if you're interested.
These are some not-very-good cell phone pics of San Pablo Harbor. As I've mentioned, I purposely didn't take our camera on this trip, but I did occasionally miss it!
|The pirate himself, at the smoker
Lake Merritt in Oakland, California is one of the most unique urban spaces in the United States. Its three mile shoreline in the center of an exceptionally diverse city is a special place where nature and nurture migrate and mingle daily. This tidal lagoon is home to the United States' oldest designated wildlife refuge dating from 1870.
If you love cities and public space, this is an amazing place. On our three-mile walk around the water, we passed a huge drumming circle with all manner of percussion; a long row of vendors selling Caribbean food, crafts, and mushrooms; boat rentals; gardens; lots of birds (herons, egrets, pelicans, several different kinds of ducks); a nature centre, and lots more. It was super interesting. (Also super sunny, and for the second time on this trip, I wasn't wearing sunscreen. After my sunburn in Shelter Cove, I meant to buy some... but did not.)
Earlier in the day, J and I also stopped at the site of a former factory that has been brilliantly converted: the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, now a National Park Service site. It's used for performances, craft fairs, and all kinds of cultural events. While we were there, it was the finish line for a community 5K.
The giant building is adjacent to Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front, where the Rosie the Riveter concept and image were born! We were too early to tour this, but it is absolutely on my list for the next time I'm in the Bay Area.
We also had a great breakfast in Berkeley, and Ethiopian food, a mainstay of Oakland, for dinner. This was in a neighbourhood that J and C used to live in, now clearly a hipster haven.
The biggest highlight of San Pablo -- Asher, my grand-nephew -- was with us the whole time, world's happiest and most chill baby. In keeping with my work on being more comfortable sharing photos of myself, here you go.
I've also added more pics to the post about Shelter Cove.