Friday, July 23, 2010

Berkeley Waterside Café

Leaving Santa Cruz wasn't easy but slipping over the Santa Cruz mountains put us squarely in Silicon Valley, a whole separate world and suddenly we were no longer in the familiar, small coastal town of our youth.My wife graduated from Palo Alto High School, but she didn't get in to Stanford University where her parents worked; she went over the hill to hippie town and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Those were the days when the Santa Clara Valley was becoming the home to the high tech that would lead the world in silicon innovation. The place has grown up since then. We rode Highway 101 through Silicon Valley, we chased the iPhone's directions to a hole-in-the-wall dim sum restaurant in Burlingame, and by early afternoon we were zipping past San Francisco International and the city of South San Francisco, home to the industrial suburbs of The City (locals never call it 'Frisco, a nickname considered excessively familiar). I used to drive tractor trailers around here and it was another nostalgic moment. As a kid I had always wanted to be a trucker... The fog rolling in as usual over San Bruno mountain.When I first moved to California I thought I wanted to live in The City. San Francisco has that effect on people, similar in all respects to Old Town Key West. In the end I found I preferred small town California and I never did live in The City, but I worked there for years. I had low seniority at the trucking company where I worked so I got the most feared route- delivering doubles up and down the hills of San Francisco.Driving through San Francisco in a car is apiece of cake compared to driving doubles but still we got trapped by lines of cars on the elevated freeway to the Bay Bridge.There was no time to step off the freeway and indeed traffic persisted onto I-80 into the East Bay. We needed to pee so we pulled off at University in Berkeley, and we discovered a delightful spot within sight of the freeway. I needed an espresso and Cheyenne needed a dog cookie and we had found the right place.
We had stumbled across a not-for-profit youth program teaching bike repair, boat building and coffee shop management. It was a delightful spot.
The views across the lagoon were phenomenal, as was the delicious cool breeze blowing in from the San Francisco Bay on the other side of the freeway. The red bicycle was being adapted as a water machine, two canoe hulls on a wooden frame. I'd love to see it in operation. Very, very cool.
These kids were engrossed in building their dory. A dory is a New England design with a flat bottom and slab sides which is used to fish some very rough waters.
The coffee shop sells beef bites for dogs so Cheyenne was taken care of.
The espressos were perfect and Cheyenne was ready to explore as usual.Our server with the bright smile took our cups, and a couple tossed in the trash (!), people are weird of course.Really, what a great place to take a break.
Every detail in this astonishing place is a product of youthful enthusiasm. There are more projects in the pipe line.I didn't have to twist the wife's arm too terribly hard to take a break and go for a wander. We saw swans (I think).Something that looked suspiciously like a Key West bird:And a dude taking a break from riding a crotch rocket.
A father being...fatherly:
A kayaker pretending he was on the Suwanee River:And that thought made me wish I was home, humid warm and surrounded by greenery. We weren't, we were here, shortly to be surrounded by yet more traffic clogging I-505 near Sacramento, the state capital known to some as Sacred Tomato.Next stop: Oregon and Irondad. Zoom zoom.