Day 12–14
Monday–Wednesday, April 23rd–25th
San Francisco to Seattle via Walnut Creek & Pleasant Hill
15 miles

There is not a whole lot to say about these days. They were filled primarily with taking care of mundane things like catching up on emails and finishing up with the anti-wedding invitations. I spent most of the day on Monday in bed, doing work from the computer. At around 2pm, i finally got far enough that i got up, ate the breakfast of amaranth that Adrienne had left for me and did some laundry. I spent several hours working on my bike, replacing the chain (which was in OK condition, but was terribly dirty and i had no solvents with which to clean it, so it would have wreaked havoc on my drive chain) and re-attaching my rack properly. The later required some minor machining with my Dremel tool to get the bracket to work properly at the seat post bolt.

I finally met Adrienne on the BART train in Oakland en route to Walnut Creek around 8:15pm, and we checked into the Marriott there. We had made plans to spend the night together here because it is the hotel where we hooked up almost a year ago. It's sort of an early anniversary. We had wanted to eat at Breads of India, but they're closed on Mondays, so we just ate at the restaurant in the hotel. We shared a bottle of bubbly, which made for an overall effervescent evening.

The next day, i got to work on addressing the invitation envelopes (if yours doesn't get to you, that's probably why--my handwriting sucks) while Adrienne was teaching her class to the nurses. This project was complicated somewhat by a mishap with sorting in Excel, which resulted in a number of the addresses not matching the addressees. After Adrienne's class was over, we had an early dinner in Walnut Creek (or just "the creek", as the cool kids at the Walnut Creek tourism agency call it) before relocating a couple miles up the road to the Pleasant Hill Courtyard (the Marriott for the business traveler), where Adrienne's next class was to be held.

We spent most of the rest of the time here assembling the invitations until i had to bike off to Martinez to catch my train to Seattle. There was just enough time between finishing with the invitations and my departure for Adrienne to try out her upcoming lecture in Laura Nader's class on me. It was great and i think she was fretting needlessly over it.

I had to leave in a rush, with 7.5 miles to go to the Martinez station. This was somewhat challenging as i was still running a really small gear, which made rushing on level ground quite difficult, or at the very least silly-looking. Miraculously, the train was not terribly late, but i still got there in plenty of time to get my bike all packed up without causing the Amtrak agents to become impatient at my last-minute timing.

My major problem was that dinner had been too early and there was nothing to eat at the station. I got some kettle-fried potato chips out of the vending machine, hoping that there might be something to supplment this on the cafe car on the train. Unfortunately, the cafe was closed, so i had only chips to eat.

I slept well on the train, having gotten quite used to it after nearly 30 straight days on the train last spring. In the morning, i headed to the cafe to get some cereal for breakfast. I typed a bit of the dispatches here, and then went back to sleep for a bit. Woke up and typed some more, though a bit, had some chicken wings and Ceasar salad for lunch, then slept some more.

I had dinner in the dining car. The dinner itself was mediocre, though it did the job. The company was quite nice, however. I sat with an aging hippy couple. She didn't talk much, but he had plenty to say. They were on a 30-day rail pass, as i had done last year, so i gave them some tips on things to see. The guy was running a biodiesel auto rental company out of LAX and on Maui. He also spoke of his past work against nuclear dumps, nuclear testing and inside the industry with Boeing and NASA, where he tried to blow many a whistle. He also was active with the food cooperative movement, which was of particular interest to me because my friend Andrew, who i'll be visiting tomorrow night in Olympia, is writing a book on co-ops. This guy, Joe Blackburn, had some interesting stories of the history of the movement. In any case, the conversation was quite engaging overall.

Now, i'm just a few minutes outside of Seattle and will be headed up the hill from the station to Matt Case's. More details to follow...