Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Can Go Anywhere On a Bike

I'm not sure where Wini was planning to go next...

We are just back from a week at Pinecrest, which is a good place to turn kids loose on bikes. (You can't go around the lake, however).

We also rode along part of the Sugar Pine Rail/Trail, visited historic Columbia historic state park (where Nathan had fun in a gold-rush bowling alley), and rode the Sierra Ry at Railtown 1897.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tunnel or Nothing?

There's a sign on a building across the street from the San Mateo CalTrain station that says "Tunnel or Nothing--Don't Let High Speed Rail Ruin Downtown San Mateo".

Aside the odd fact this this sign is on a dingy little light industrial business (you're worried about ruining the view from your garage?), I'd like to point out that "or nothing" means the status quo, at-grade crossings with frequent incidents like tonight's:

From the Examiner:

Pedestrian killed by Caltrain in San Mateo

Bay City News
June 15, 2010

SAN MATEO — A female pedestrian was killed by a Caltrain in San Mateo on Monday evening, an agency spokeswoman said.

The person was struck by southbound Caltrain No. 266 at about 5:15 p.m. on the tracks north of the Hayward Park station, spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. It is the sixth fatality on Caltrain tracks this year, after 19 in 2009.

None of the 143 passengers aboard the train were injured.

Around 7 p.m., Caltrain said trains were running full speed, but were delayed about 60 minutes in both directions. Trains were expected to be back on schedule by 7:45 p.m.

SamTrans and BART accepted Caltrain tickets until 7:30 p.m.

Is this seriously a status quo that anyone wants to fight to protect?

Despite the service interruptions (if a train is 60 minutes late, as far as anyone is concerned, it's just the next train), the kids and I had a fun night out to Millbrae for dinner at In-n-out & L&L Hawaiian BBQ (outdoor tables so everyone can get what they want), and en route I introduced Nathan to Randy the ("have a wonderful") Conductor.

Girl Scout Camping, Dad & Nate's Bike Adventure, Pt II

Saturday began cold, but as we ate breakfast, occasional odd gusts of warm air blew down through the trees--a bit of the inland weather (it was hot back home) sneaking over the hills.

By mid-morning it was warm enough that when we moved across the park to the day-use area, the creek was irresistible.

Splash! from Nick Kibre on Vimeo.

The girl scouts got to choose a route for a hike, and the trail along the creek was an easy winner.

Left to our own devices, I racked up the bike and Nathan and I headed down the road towards Pescadero, and stopped at Phipps Farm, where you can pick your own berries. They had olallieberries.

For the bike fans, here's a clear shot showing off Nate's cool new "that's how I roll" shirt!

You pay $3/lb for the berries you take, plus a $3 entrance fee (for anyone over 5), which is reasonable enough when you bring along a little tike on his first trip to a berry farm.

Afterwards we ate a lunch prepared for us by the helpful sandwich crew of troop 16 on a bench out front, and tracked down a nearby geocache.

I'd noticed on the drive in that the lower end of Pescadero Creek Road actually has pretty good bike lanes, so we packed up our pickings in the trunk (which would hopefully stay cool) and rode the last half mile down into town.

It was heating up pretty nicely even on the coastside, so we picked up some refreshments at Archangeli's Market.

We headed back via North St, a quiet back street of Pescadero (though it's basically a two-street town), which had some interesting building like this Catholic church,

and half way back to Pescadero Creek Road we passed this Goat Cheesery,

which looked intriguing, but we only looped around to wave at a friendly black dog resting in the shade out front.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Girl Scout Camping, Dad & Nate's Bike Adventure, Pt I

Firday night the Girls of RWC GS Troop 30016 headed over the hill Memorial County Park for their first ever camping trip, organized by Wini's Mom, with Nathan I tagging along.

We brought a kid-seat equipped bike, and since part of the point of this trip is that the girl scouts learn to do things themselves,

Nathan & I were free to entertain ourselves while they set up tents and made dinner.

We pedalled up a fire road at the back of the campground, which lead to Wurr Road on the hillside over the park. This is a quiet back road that seems reasonable for a ride in the country. We headed west, downnhill, and at the bottom was the hamlet of Loma Mar.

Getting back we had several options. One was to go back the way we came. The other was to go up Pescadero Creek Road to the main entrance of the park. Lots of people rise this road, but it's not ideal--blind curves and in some places, no shoulder. However, there was a dirt path by this part, and we only had to go a little ways to get into an unofficial back entrance to the park.

Are you sure this is the right way Dad?

There are some interesting, marginally maintained (abandoned?) day use areas in the lower eand of the park.

Nathan seemed to enjoy our ride through the forest, chattering away, but towards the end got rather quiet.

It was a big adventure, after all!

A final bike-advocacy note: As much fun as it was finding our own way, wouldn't be it be nice is San Mateo county had a network of certified bike-friendly routes through the hills and south coast, at least to connect each park with a nearby town?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Another Bike+Train Outing

Taking a break from writing .bat files (aarrrrrggh!) to write about another outing last weekend.

Biked downtown with Nathan in the kiddie seat behind me, locked up the bike, and went to the RWC farmers market. Picked up some apricots; if I take one bite from an apple or a stone fruit, to get it started, Nathan will happily gnaw away at the rest for half an hour.

Then we crossed the street and caught a NB train to Burlingame. Washington Park, Burlingame, gets my vote for best transit-accessible park for small children on the peninsula.

Nathan went straight to a fairly tall play structure and climbed up the stairs--I was mostly concerned with making sure he didn't tumble through a gap in the railing, and suddenly he reached the top of a 10' twisty slide, confidently sat down, pushed himself in, and slid on down. I've never seen him go on a slide that big before. He seemed to have fun but next he decided to go find a more toddler-sized play structure with a shorter slide more to his scale.

After a bit he indicated he was hungry; he did this by finding some other kid's stash of "cheese fishie crackers" and trying to take them. I was "underprovisioned" for food on this trip, so we went across the tracks to downtown Burlingame, and found a bakery.

Nathan found a display of cookies,

and started saying "cookie cookie cookie" (since big sister is a girl scout, this was one of his first words). For an 18-month old, communication should be rewarded, right? He got a cookie, and munched it on the ride home.

We met Mom & Wini at Belmont, where Wini had just finished skating class (at Belmont Iceland, across Old County Road from the station). She's been working up to some serious jumps in the practice harness. We had lunch at U-Buffet across the street, where I ate a small boiled octopus. Kinda rubbery, really, but kids expect dads to do crazy things like eating octopi (or rather optopedes) and I don't want to disappoint.

Errands by Bike with Baby

Every day when I come home from work, Nathan pats his head, which is a roundabout adaptation of the baby sign for "hat" to "bike", because we always wear helmets (aka, "bike hats"), meaning "let's go for a bike ride!"

Going anywhere more than a few blocks with a baby necessitates bringing changing supplies, but with his behind-the-rider baby bike seat, my usual backpack ends up in his face. So when I was at OSH, and saw a handle-bar mounted basket, I snapped it up.

This particular one is detachable--you mount a clip onto the handlebars, and then snap the basket on/off the clip. This is useful not just for taking the basket off when you don't need it; you can also take it off to use for shopping, etc.

So Nathan and I have been running some errands by bike. Here he is on Sunday trying the samples at Trader Joe's:

Seconds later the cup was dumped on the foor. Oh well, the had a stack of napkins, so at least I could clean up after our mess.

Today we went to Lucky, and found this Tillamook Cheese Van in front (license plate Oregon YUM-1):

How could I not post a picture of that?

Sue had put sharp cheddar on our list, and the cute mini-minibus clinched the deal for Tillamook.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Walk with Nathan

Nathan and I went walking at Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, better known as "the place to go walking by the bay at the end of Marsh Road". Nathan had fun tromping down the road and sniffing flowers.

You can actually walk right in quite legally, but Nathan enjoyed climbing under the gate anyway.

Rocks on the old gravel road are fun, too!

It's also a nice place to ride bikes--there's youre alternative transportation tie-in!

Nice to get some nice outdoorsy weather at last.

Thursday, June 03, 2010