Thursday, November 11 found me back on the water with a group of fellow BASK members. For me, amidst a variety of stressful events and a monumental backlog of client work, getting on the water is like pressing the “Reset” button. Once I’ve returned from a day’s paddling, the work load doesn’t seem so daunting, and the fears and anxieties that stress me out seem distant. The wind blows, the tide goes in and out, the sun shines. This has gone on for millions of years, and it will continue.
Thee were nine of us in eight boats, launching from the Emeryville Marina, paddling out towards Clipper Cove on the East side of Yerba Buana and Treasure Island, then around the south side of Yerba Buena to a little beach on the southwest side. Flat calm on the way out, with glassy water, and a light breeze on the way back. I managed to capture a few images with my iPhone, which along with the Lifeproof case seems to be a good option for capturing photos on the water. You can find more photos from the trip here, and a GPS tracklog of the trip here.
I caught some attention this morning when I pulled my iPhone out to photograph my foot. A red shoe on red carpet. My wife explained to some friends that “he has a different view of the world.” In any event, I couldn’t resist the temptation. It just seemed like a striking scene and the natural thing to do. And we had just stepped out of a presentation about “social location” and how that affects our understanding of how we read scripture. It seemed like the morning was about celebrating diversity, which seems like a refreshing idea given how divisive and individualistic we seem to have become. So here’s to seeing things differently.
I managed to get back on the water today with some of my BASK kayaking friends. We launched from Ferry Point in Richmond, paddled around Brooks Island, stopped at Barbara and Jay Vincent Park for lunch. After lunch we got back in our boats, paddled through the pilings under the Craneway Pavilion and along the waterfront, slipping into Brickyard cove to say hello to a fellow paddler, and back to our launch point. The weather was quite calm with overcast which created some interesting photo opportunities with reflections on the water, soft light and the urban aspect of the Richmond waterfront. You can view a track of our paddle here and you can view more photos of our adventure here.
Pampus Grass and Ski. Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline
Lupine. Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline
View from the ridge at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline
Joann and Carson on the trail at Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline
Boardwalk. Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline
Our quest for dog friendly hikes took us to the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline today. A 20 minute drive from our house. We were surprised to find that we had the trails more or less to ourselves. Some of the trails were a bit steep and showing signs of erosion. On our 90 minute walk we saw a dozen or so hikers and it seems we were the only dog walkers. Dogs can be off leash as long as you are in undeveloped areas, which is what we were looking for. Our dog Carson had great fun running off leash. He managed to catch a squirrel by the tail. Fortunately the squirrel got away without much effort. The park has shoreline and a beach where I’ve launched my kayak. You can also take a short hike to a ridge with spectacular panoramic views of the bay area, taking in Marin, San Francisco and the East Bay.
First stop in the morning on our waking tour, and the bike tour as well, was the local boulangerie. It was a real treat to walk into a French bakery in a small town and buy fresh bread. Part of the treat was the opportunity to interact with the local people. While we didn’t have much of a command of the French language, we were always able to communicate with the few words we had and by pointing to what we wanted. Such a variety of choices from which to choose. From the boulangeire, we would then head to the butcher for salami or cured ham of some sort, then the produce market for apples, peaches, or what ever else we might need for our picnic lunch. Once we were provisioned with bread, cheese, and fruit we would head off for the days adventure, walking ancient paths, and country roads.. At the end of the day’s walk we would typically have a fine four course dinner with a local wine. No shortage of fine wine in the Dordogne. Bread and wine becoming the bookends for our daily adventures.
The highlight of the trip though, wasn’t the bread, the food, the wine, or the places we visited. It was the people. Everywhere we went the people were warmhearted and friendly, whether it was the old woman we met on the first day of our walk, the clerks at the boulangeries, or the inn keepers.
One event in particular stands out as a highlight. Dinner at La Maison Rose. La Maison Rose is a small bead and breakfast in Origne. Dinner is served family style with guests and hosts sitting on benches at a long table. The house, was once the presbytery for the church across the street, and it’s easy to imagine we’re simply carrying on a tradition that has gone on for centuries in the dining room. We shared dinner with Mr et Mme de Rochefort, the hosts, with a fabulous four course dinner of roast rabbit, fresh bread, and a local Bordeaux wine. It was a treat to be entertained by the Rocheforts and to visit with guests from New Zealand, England, and South Africa. Gathering around a common table and sharing bread and wine is like medicine for the soul.
The dining room at La Maison Rose. Set for breakfast.
Mr et Mme de Rochefort. Our hosts at La Maison Rose in Origne
Having just returned from France, I thought it would be appropriate to share something from our recent travels for World Tourism Day. One of the locations we visited was La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux. I was struck by the design of the building, with it’s flowing curves and ribs. Evocative of knotted vines, wine barrels, wine turning in the glass, and the swirls and eddies of the the adjacent Garonne River. The website says “Each and every architectural detail evokes liquid elements and the very soul of wine.” Beyond the design, the museum houses exhibits about wine, covering every aspect of wine that you might imagine.
Our first stop when we reached Le Barp was the pharmacy. Ibuprophen is the “lubricant” that seems to keep our muscles and joints working. When we run out, or bodies threaten to seize up like a car engine running without oil. We left home with what we thought was a sufficient supply, but it seems we miscalculated.
With a fresh supply of our “lubricant” we managed to log 62 kilometers, leaving Le Barp about 9:30, stopping for bread, salami, cheese and fruit before pedaling through the forest and into the maritime provinces where we stopped to look at the oyster producing areas, through the Parc Ornithologique and on to Arcachon, arriving in Arcachon about 5:30.
Boats and shacks in the Ports Ostrecp;es mear Archachon.
Forest at Parc Naturel Regional des Landes de Gascogne
Artwork at Chateau de Villandraut
View of rolling hills and vinyards.
Churh of Sainte-Croix du-Mont
Churh on our bike route
We’ve logged 102 km on our bike ride, having left the town of Cadillac on the morning of September 17th. Our ride has taken us over the rolling hills of the wine country in the Bordeaux region, past Chateaus, churches, through a variety of villages and hamlets to the small town of Origne, where we’re taking a day to just relax. The french motorists are very courteous and respectful of cyclists it seems. A contrast to riding at home. Enjoying fabulous food and wine along the way.
Postcards dipicting some of the artwork in Font-de-GAume
We’re spending three nights at a delightful farm house, just a few kilometers from Les Eyzies. Nice to put our feet up after logging 100+ kilometers on our seven-day walking tour of the Dordogne. Already dreaming about where my feet might take me next.
We found this place through Rich Steves’ guide to France; not AirB&B as I mentioned in a previous version of this post. I’ll have to give this place a high rating; I’ll have more to say in a future post. We went into town for an afternoon tour of the Font-de-Gaume, one of the better known caves in the region. Photography is not allowed in the caves, so the best I could think of was to photograph some postcards that represent what we saw in the caves. Exquisite examples of poly-chrome Paleolithic art.