Saturday, May 7, 2011

Big Day!

I've had a Long I took a taxi ride, an Amtrak Bus, the Capitol Corridor Train, two BART trains and a County Connection Bus to get to the Ancestral Digs. I'd be asleep now if I hadn't just watched my San Francisco Giants come from behind to tie it in the 8th, and win in the 9th against the Colorado Rockies...there's nothing like baseball adrenaline!

The game segued nicely into the live coverage of the second free practice of  the Formula One at Istanbul, Turkey.

Man, the month off wasn't wasted on these teams! Lots of new bits on the cars, lots of improvement to the cars that got off to a slow start this season...and oh yes, there's tons of passing on the track so far this much that F1 pundits are already asking; "Is there too much passing in Formula One now?" Are they kidding, three races in, it's already been very exciting, with the promise of even more once the rest of the field catch up to the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettle and Mark Webber.

At the request of the Sanctioning Body, the new tire supplier, Pirelli have added to the drama by building a tire that goes off much sooner than the Michelins and Bridgestones of seasons past. More pit stops, now for tires instead of fuel have made the strategy angle much richer.

Anyway, my journey was very enjoyable. From my extra-tall motorcoach viewpoint, I surveyed the Donner Summit portion of Monday May 16th's Stage 2 of the AMGEN Tour of California bicycle race. There's still a ton of snow up there, including on the rocks I figured I'd camp out on for my favored viewing/filming viewpoint. It's gonna be a zoo up there I'm sure.

As the bus made it's way down the mountain, I was treated to a time-lapse spring. Snow gave way to, bare ground and finally green rolling foothills with riots of blooming trees, shrubs and flowers. I'd dressed appropriately, that is in shorts and t-shirt with a Giants ballcap. The bus had great air conditioning that the driver fired up when we made our stop in Colfax. I had to abandon my arm rest because that's where the cold air was coming from.

We were running a little behind schedule, and I only had a 15 minute layover in Sacramento. Every time we stopped, there was quite a crowd waiting. Colfax, Auburn, Rocklin, it wasn't looking good, then the driver announced that we wouldn't be stopping in Roseville because the bus was so full. Made it!

The train was great. The scenery flew by, and the stations we stopped at were all nicely restored. In Davis, a bunch of students got on. A young man with a beautiful 14lb road bike got on and sat next to me. We chatted about his bike and the Giro de Italia that begins today. He's going to attend  Stage 4 of the AMGEN Tour of California, and it turns out that he's been skiing on my mountain his whole life.

I got off the train in Richmond and took the elevator to the BART Platform where my train was waiting. I sat on the western side of the car so I could view the Bay, and the guy in the seat behind me struck up a conversation about the Giants. It was a short chat, my station was next. I got off the train, and accross the tracks I saw the train I was transferring to. It left before I could get down and across, so I had a 13 minute wait for the next train.

While I was waiting, I noticed a few Father and Son teams in SF Giants Gear. They were obviously heading out to the AT&T Park for the Game. My train came and whisked me to the Inland Valley. While waiting for my last bus, I saw scores of Giants fans getting on BART while I waited twenty minutes for my bus.

My bus came, and I was the only passenger for half of my trip. The driver and I talked boats and fishing until the bus filled up with high school kids in front of my high school alma mater.

The Inland Valley was in full bloom, there'll be lots to photograph I thought to myself. I got off the bus and began rolling my way down the street to the Ancestral Digs. My journey had taken 7 1/2 hours portal to portal, and cost less than driving my pickup by about $20. The sun felt good on my face, the air was slightly fetid with the high thin clouds overhead. The neighborhood's front yards' landscaping was intensely colored with new growth and blooming flowers...whatta day!

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