Monday, September 1, 2014

Chalk It Up - 2014


The annual Chalk It Up Sacramento, now in its 24th year,  took place in Fremont Park over the Labor Day Weekend.  It has gained in popularity over the years and have become one of the most entertaining events on the Fall calendar.

The main attraction are the chalk murals painted by artists on the four sidewalks surrounding Fremont Park.  They are colorful and sometimes provocative.  Food trucks, arts and craft vendors, and live entertainment complement the event and occupy most of the park.

It is a very cool event, drawing thousands of people, and a ideal venue to ride our bikes.  Rich Blackmarr and I rode our bikes to breakfast at Cafe Bernardo's and walked over to Fremont Park to take in the action.

To view the album, click on "2014 Chalk It Up" below photo:


From 2014 Chalk It Up

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dardanelles Lake Hike


It was a picture perfect day for a high Sierra hike to Dardanelles Lake,  7.6 mile RT with about 1400' of elevation gain.  The trailhead begins at a parking lot off Hwy 89 and follows the Tahoe Rim Trail to Big Meadow.

The trail rated moderate has some initial switchbacks but is mostly a gradual steady climb to a summit at about the half-way point.  The trail sharply descends to a small watershed then slowly climbs over another high point before arriving at Dardanelles Lake.

Dardanelles Lake is considered one of the more picturesque high Sierra lakes by many hikers.

Eighteen hikers participated in this hike on a beautiful blue sky day with temps in the high 70s.

To view album, click on "Dardanelles Lake Hike" below photo:

From Dardanelles Lake Hike

Friday, August 22, 2014

Rinko Tour to Levi Stadium


The new SF 49'er stadium just opened with the start of the 2014 season.

Levi Stadium is located within a stone's throw of the Santa Clara Great America Amtrak Station so Peter Saucerman and I hopped on a Capital Corridor train and did another one of our Rinko (train/bike) tours.

We booked the stadium tour combined with the 49er Museum admission.  Although the exterior of the new stadium left me kinda' cold, the innards of the facility is quite remarkable.  Watching a football game here, if you could afford it, would be spectacular.

According to all the reviews, this stadium is the most high-tech of any sports venue and given its location in Silicon Valley, a given.  Wifi connection is omnipresent and attending a game with an IPad and/or IPhone would be de rigueur.  The world of sports viewing has changed for better or worse my friends.

The tour was very informative and pretty thorough.  In addition to views from the stadium seats, we visited the press box, a couple restaurants, visitor and cheerleader locker rooms, roof-top terrace and ground level views.

All kinds of facts and figures were thrown out, most of which I quickly forgot.  But one fact that stood out was there are 2,000 flat screen TVs placed throughout the stadium.

The 49'er Museum is very well done.  Two cool exhibits were the interactive video displays and the five super bowl trophies and rings.  The film in the museum theater is also enjoyable if you are a 49er fanatic.

To view the album, click on "Rinko Tour to Levi Stadium" below photo:

From Rinko Tour to Levi Stadium

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tour de Woodland


The City of Woodland has long been known for its beautiful Victorian neighborhood and historic Opera House, the first of its kind in the Sacramento Valley.  A slow but steady revitalization of the Downtown District has been occurring over the last few years adding to the attraction of this pleasant valley town.

Peter Saucerman who spent his youth in Woodland is intimately knowledgeable about the trends in Woodland and even has old high school classmates involved in businesses on Main Street.

He organized a bike tour of Woodland and led us on a tour of the city's historic sites and points of interest.

Woodland is approximately 20 miles north of Sacramento.  We had a delightful out and back ride on Old River Road along the Sacramento River.

Joining the tour were Jim Regan, Rich Blackmarr, Barbara Greenwood and Frank Gerace.

To view tour album, click on "Tour de Woodland" below the photo:

From Tour de Woodland

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Aztec Dance Festival


A most colorful event took place in Southside Park today .  The Xilonen (pronounced she-lon-un) or Aztec Dance Festival made it's 40th annual appearance in the city.

Xilonen is a coming of age festival for young girls to honor Xilonen, the goddess of maize.

The ancient Aztec festival draws performers from across the US and Mexico.

The ceremonial costumes were unbelievably beautiful and colorful.  The entire performance was sensory overload.  I arrived before the parade and dance began and was able to talk with some of the dancers and watch them prepare for the event.

One of the cool things is that the dancers are very proud of their costumes and more than happy to pose for pictures.

To view the album, click on "Aztec Dance Festival" below photo:

From Aztec Dance Festival

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tour of UCD


After watching an episode of Road Trip with Huell Howser where he visited the Peter J. Shield Oak Grove, the Vet School Horse Barn, and the Raptor Center on the campus of the UCD, I planned a bike trip to take a look at these cool attractions.  I'm always on the look-out for new and interesting things to see, especially by bike.

Accompanying me on this trek to Davis were Herb Lee, Peter Saucerman, Frank Gerace and Rich Blackmarr.

We spent a good part of the day checking out these attractions.  The Peter J. Shield Oak Grove located in the campus's Arboretum was especially note-worthy.  The Grove, containing 89 species of oak trees from around the world, is the largest collection in the western U.S.

The remarkable tile works executed by Donna Billick and Diane Ullman in collaboration with the university's students and Davis community was integrated into the landscape of the Oak Grove.  It was nothing short of "amaazzing" to quote Huell.

To view the album, click on "Tour of UCD" under the photo:

From Tour of UCD

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Two Bridges Ride


The two newest bridges crossing the Carquinez Straight, the Alfred Zampa Bridge built in 2003 connecting Vallejo and Crockett, and the George Miller Bridge built in 2007 connecting Benicia and Martinez have incorporated exclusive bike lanes.

The local jurisdictions in collaboration with the East Bay Parks District have designs to connect the dots to facilitate bike travel between these two bridges.  In September 2014, the Carquinez Scenic Drive between Port Costa and Martinez is scheduled to be opened to the public.

Right now, you can travel between the two bridges through a combination of on and off road bike lanes, mostly on-road.  The good news is that most of the on-road travel is on lightly trafficked streets and country roads.

Since the completion of the George Miller Bridge (south-bound bridge) in 2007, riding the loop between the two bridges have been on my "to do" list.

I found a recommended route on the internet (shown on the blog album) connecting the two bridges - 31 miles with about 1,800' of climbing.

Today, Dick Fraschetti, Herb Lee, Kristina and David Vandershaf rode the loop with a side trip to the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo.

It's a beautiful ride through pleasant low-key communities of Benicia, Crockett, Port Costa and Martinez.

To view the album, click on "Two Bridges Ride" below photo:


From Two Bridges Ride