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Alternate Realities

There was a shooting last night at 2:09am, one block from our condo, where Phil and I slept soundly. It was at an intersection where a new high end Italian restaurant and high end wine bar just opened, half a block from a pub, a Euro coffee shop, and a high end Italian dry goods shop. A good sausage and beer restaurant is about to go into that intersection. And a very popular “urban” club is there. Ask me which one brings the most trouble.

At this same intersection on Friday mornings, a vibrant Farmer’s market is in full force each week. At right about that spot, a musician sets up weekly to play music for the shoppers, who are a broad mix of local livers, local workers, and a large Chinese contingent buying Asian greens and sometimes live fish or chickens.

On first Fridays, hipsters flock to this area to wander the boutique shops and eat from local food carts. Chrysler has filmed their holiday car commercials in this very intersection for the past two years.

It’s odd, having moved from a super duper safe town where we never locked our house (I’ve never had a house key for my parents’ house) to Oakland. I tell myself that our neighborhood is safe, but Phil often joins me at 10:30ish to walk Stella. I never bring a purse outside with me, and always take off my engagement ring if I will be outside after dark.

We tell ourselves that by taking these precautions, the neighborhood is safe enough. Don’t walk at night on your cell phone. Give up your valuables if someone demands them. We had a rash of muggings last year, but they’ve slowed down. My neighbor was attacked at 4pm on a Saturday last year, by a 14 y/o on a raping rampage (he only broke her nose).

We hear these terrible things, yet continue to insist that this is a “nice” neighborhood. We have trees and Victorian brick buildings. The Oakland Marathon runs past our building because this is such a beautiful area. And last night a man was shot (non-fatal) while resisting three men who wanted to mug him.

The only way to accept these highly disparate realities for the neighborhood, is to think that there is the reality during the day, and during busy nights, and a very different reality when the streets clear and everyone goes to bed. You take precautions, because this area really is a wonderful, vibrant neighborhood with fun traditions and opportunities to walk instead of drive. But it still surprises me to juxtapose where I’m from against where I am now, and to know that even with this alternate reality, I still would rather live here than there.

I wonder how that will change in a few years when we become parents.

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Yelp Beerwalk Revolution: One hour of free, unlimited 4 oz. pours of beer and cider, and I find myself lying on a green lawn, listening to a girl band with my husband.

Yelp Beerwalk Revolution: One hour of free, unlimited 4 oz. pours of beer and cider, and I find myself lying on a green lawn, listening to a girl band with my husband.

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Camping at China Camp State Park

Today we hiked 10 miles from our campground to China Camp Village and back. It was a pretty level elevation kind of hike, tiring but not miserable. Matt and Brianna came out for the day to join us. For dinner, Phil and I had chili and 2.5 bratwursts each, plus 3 beers and some lettuce and tomatoes. Pretty hefty dinner for me. Now it’s 3am and I just woke up HUNGRY! I guess that’s what burning an extra 800 calories will do to you! Fingers crossed I can make it until a reasonable hour before I’m totally ready to break into our breakfast supplies!

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Migas with homemade guac and amazing bacon from the re-opened Dittmers.

Migas with homemade guac and amazing bacon from the re-opened Dittmers.

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Life Moves On

Well, it’s been about two months since ALC. Phil has started a new job, and incorporated his bike into his daily commute (BART to Embarcadero, then ride the rest of the way in). I tried to get back on the bike two weeks ago, but the mild hand twitching started again and I’m back to staying away. I’ve started jogging a little, and bought electric blue “barefoot running” shoes that are fun enough that I look forward to wearing them while running.

We’re starting to hike more. We camped in Big Sur the weekend of July 15th and went on two hikes. We also went on a Big Hike in Marin near Muir Beach (2,000 ft of elevation) a few weeks prior. I got a book about urban hikes in Oakland and Berkeley and last weekend we discovered some cute parks in Oakland on one of those hikes. We’re camping at China Camp in Marin for Labor Day weekend, and may hike the Arroyo Secho Gorge in a few weeks. Fun times!

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Us two at the finish line after I’ve rolled in.  I left Ventura Beach around 6:30am.  The route on the last day has a LOT of rollers and combined with the fact that my legs were still recovering from yesterday’s 87 miler, the 60 miles into Los Angeles was definitely still a challenge.  But riding the high from the anticipation of the end, I magically made it up all the climbs.  I made it to lunch around 10:30am and made it into L.A. around 12:20am.  We had lunch out on a bluff right across from Pepperdine University.  Definitely the best lunch spot on this ride!  Rolled into L.A. and I think the days of tiredness finally hit.  

Another awesome adventure completed…and many thanks to Suzanne for being supportive and putting up with me.  Love you much!

And many thanks to all who supported us in this adventure and cause.  Hope to see you soon to share more in person!

Us two at the finish line after I’ve rolled in.  I left Ventura Beach around 6:30am.  The route on the last day has a LOT of rollers and combined with the fact that my legs were still recovering from yesterday’s 87 miler, the 60 miles into Los Angeles was definitely still a challenge.  But riding the high from the anticipation of the end, I magically made it up all the climbs.  I made it to lunch around 10:30am and made it into L.A. around 12:20am.  We had lunch out on a bluff right across from Pepperdine University.  Definitely the best lunch spot on this ride!  Rolled into L.A. and I think the days of tiredness finally hit.  

Another awesome adventure completed…and many thanks to Suzanne for being supportive and putting up with me.  Love you much!

And many thanks to all who supported us in this adventure and cause.  Hope to see you soon to share more in person!

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There’s another tradition on this ride and that’s on Day 6 at Ventura Beach at night.  A candlelight vigil is held out on the beach to remember the one’s affected by AIDS and the one’s we’ve lost.  We are all handed candles in camp and walk a short distance out to the beach.  With a full moon out, we captured the above shot.  A truly moving moment.  Almost 3000 candles on the beach at night.  At dinner, one of the volunteers/roadies shared his own moving story.  While we ride and think about how we struggle out there, we are reminded of the even bigger struggles that other people have been through with AIDS and HIV.

There’s another tradition on this ride and that’s on Day 6 at Ventura Beach at night.  A candlelight vigil is held out on the beach to remember the one’s affected by AIDS and the one’s we’ve lost.  We are all handed candles in camp and walk a short distance out to the beach.  With a full moon out, we captured the above shot.  A truly moving moment.  Almost 3000 candles on the beach at night.  At dinner, one of the volunteers/roadies shared his own moving story.  While we ride and think about how we struggle out there, we are reminded of the even bigger struggles that other people have been through with AIDS and HIV.

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So to continue/finish updating.  Day 6 - Lompoc to Ventura.  It was around 87 miles. We had a nice rest the day before on Red Dress day only clocking in 40’ish miles.  However, legs were still definitely tired.  Nice easy incline of 1000 feet over 10 miles. A lot of miles on Highway 101 before lunch.  I’ve made some new friends on the training rides and I hooked up with one of them at lunch.  We made the remainder of the afternoon trip together.  Highlight of the day was when we dipped into Santa Barbara and was greeted by the wonderful background in the pic.  They decorated the beach rest stop as Smurf Village!  So sweet, matched my jersey!  We cruised more miles on the 101 and finally made it into Ventura Beach where the weather was warmer than the previous days.  Great views, good weather, good legs….not a bad day.

So to continue/finish updating.  Day 6 - Lompoc to Ventura.  It was around 87 miles. We had a nice rest the day before on Red Dress day only clocking in 40’ish miles.  However, legs were still definitely tired.  Nice easy incline of 1000 feet over 10 miles. A lot of miles on Highway 101 before lunch.  I’ve made some new friends on the training rides and I hooked up with one of them at lunch.  We made the remainder of the afternoon trip together.  Highlight of the day was when we dipped into Santa Barbara and was greeted by the wonderful background in the pic.  They decorated the beach rest stop as Smurf Village!  So sweet, matched my jersey!  We cruised more miles on the 101 and finally made it into Ventura Beach where the weather was warmer than the previous days.  Great views, good weather, good legs….not a bad day.

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5:54am.  Last time packing up and tearing down the tent.  The poles pack separately from the tent, and I’m so excited for the easier task.

5:54am. Last time packing up and tearing down the tent. The poles pack separately from the tent, and I’m so excited for the easier task.

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5:38am.  Almost done with our last tent meal of the week.

5:38am. Almost done with our last tent meal of the week.

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5:23am.  Our last breakfast line-up.  I think Phil will miss the tray eggs.

5:23am. Our last breakfast line-up. I think Phil will miss the tray eggs.

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5:20am.  Our portapotty use ends in 10 hours.  I won’t miss ‘em!

5:20am. Our portapotty use ends in 10 hours. I won’t miss ‘em!

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Today is red dress day!!!  Suzanne and I dressed up in red along with all the other riders and staff to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS today.  Don’t we look faboo?  Thank you to all of you who donated and got me to $3000. For that, I dressed up for you.  There’s a pic with make-up as well….but that’s maybe for another day.

Today is red dress day!!! Suzanne and I dressed up in red along with all the other riders and staff to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS today. Don’t we look faboo? Thank you to all of you who donated and got me to $3000. For that, I dressed up for you. There’s a pic with make-up as well….but that’s maybe for another day.

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Yesterday’s pic from the half-way point! Nice long 98 mile ride. A lot of time to think about things. Thought about a lot of little things from the last time I did this ride. Like how a bee flew into my helmet and stung my forehead (I now always wear a cap). How I vividly remember the route, the sights, and friends I was on the ride with. Speaking of little things, it’s the little things that have been kept in check that has allowed me to focus on riding and not any mechanical issues. For that, I want to especially thank some special people. Big huge thanks to both of my favorite bike shops. Bay Area Bikes in Oakland and Cykel in San Francisco. These guys are awesome!  Bay Area Bikes  has kept our bicycles in excellent order and  Cykel fit both Suzanne and I and got rid of my cramping problems. John, Dale, Clay, Chris, John P. yesterday’s crushing performance was for you guys. Show these two bikes shops some love if you can.

Yesterday’s pic from the half-way point! Nice long 98 mile ride. A lot of time to think about things. Thought about a lot of little things from the last time I did this ride. Like how a bee flew into my helmet and stung my forehead (I now always wear a cap). How I vividly remember the route, the sights, and friends I was on the ride with. Speaking of little things, it’s the little things that have been kept in check that has allowed me to focus on riding and not any mechanical issues. For that, I want to especially thank some special people. Big huge thanks to both of my favorite bike shops. Bay Area Bikes in Oakland and Cykel in San Francisco. These guys are awesome!  Bay Area Bikes  has kept our bicycles in excellent order and  Cykel fit both Suzanne and I and got rid of my cramping problems. John, Dale, Clay, Chris, John P. yesterday’s crushing performance was for you guys. Show these two bikes shops some love if you can.

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It’s 1:10am and I’m reaching out to Reality from the freezing confines of Tent J-8.  It’s in the 40s and occasionally gusty winds.  Makes me miss my warm bed at home!

It’s 1:10am and I’m reaching out to Reality from the freezing confines of Tent J-8. It’s in the 40s and occasionally gusty winds. Makes me miss my warm bed at home!