Trip Start Oct 20, 2012
61Trip End Jul 11, 2013
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Where I stayed
Berkeley and the East Bay
What I did
El Cerrito...means little hill ...LITTLE HILL my ass..
These hills are steep !! I was hesitant, butChris told us "take the Marin Exit and all would be fine." Well, there was no "Marin Exit" and we'd already gone too far so you'll have to take the Portrero exit".
Ole Red was not happy. I had him down in "granny" gear and we INCHED up the incline (LITTLE HILL?) at a 4 mph max, all the while praying we didn't come to a stop sign. We made it, barely, then unhooked and parked Ole Red down the road in front of Chris'. The next morning I found a token of his displeasure on the road - a small puddle of oil. I think I really pissed Ole Red off this time!
Having spent a fair amount of time visiting Chris in the recent past, we felt right at home, and Chris might as well be family.
Workouts at the gym weren't necessary there - you live in a virtual hill climb in El Cerrito, which means, inappropriately, "little hill". Chris and I got in a couple of good hikes [that may have worked off about an ounce of that decadence], one a 7-miler in the park behind his house and one in Marin County by Mount Tamalpais, where we blindly hiked the hills, down through some very nice homes, and ending up in downtown Mill Valley, where Mary had spent the afternoon sipping coffee and getting her nails done. Everyone in town knew her already. Surprised?
After the requisite beer to cool down and dry off, we drove over to San Rafael to visit an old colleague of Mary's from Maryland , Jennie, her husband Jonathon and their daughter Aspen. They live in a great house up in the hills with incredible views of the mountain we hiked earlier that day.
We noshed on smoked salmon (and other scrumptious delectables) with red wine [gauche?] and reminisced out on the deck as I slowly but deliberately played with Aspen, working her up so that she was very distressed at the thought of bedtime - and then we left. (Must be what grandparents experience.) I kind of like being on the other side of raising children, being able to have all the fun and then leaving before the meltdown. Sorry guys!
Back at Chris' I was treated to a 3 minute haircut by one of Chris' old flames and best friends, Antoinette. She doesn't dally, even when visiting, but we were able to hold her captive a couple of times. I think she can be best described as a "hoot", dearly intended.
We fired up the grill for some Copper River salmon with (a truly eclectic bunch) Ginny, new friends Mike and Pat [who must think I have a 100 gallon gas tank when they overcompensated me for some work] and Hernan, (a newer old friend) who worked with Mallery and Travis last summer at Montana Adventure Sports. He has since returned to his old job in Oakland (and of course, only lived a few miles away).
Dinner conversation ran the gamut, highlighted by the revelation that Ginny had indeed tried marijuana but didn't inhale, and Mary's ribald stories and language had tears flowing.
True to form, Mary invited a friend over, Le Dot as she is known back in Maryland, who made the 2 hour drive from Sonora to spend the afternoon with us at Chris's while he was at work and stayed long enough to meet him and enjoy a casual dinner, a famous "Gordo's" burrito with us all.
Before leaving the Bay area, we had to ride over to Walnut Creek to experience the town that has produced some of our best friends, including our current renters back in Bigfork.
Just like the rest of the time we spent on this stop in "The Artful Odyssey" It felt like home.