Diablo, steam, and tapas

It’s been a long, but delightful day. After breakfast (at which I met my former colleague, Hal Jespersen, who’s just launching a new startup), I headed over to Berkeley to meet up with Chris and Celeste. We drove up to Mount Diablo, from which we hoped to get a great view of the San Francisco bay. It was misty, but we felt sure it would burn off.
I’d only been to Mt. Diablo once before, about 10 years ago. My daughter Kate was at Mills College in Oakland, and I was visiting her during one of my business trips. On that occasion we drove part way up the mountain, but because time was short we turned off and drove out through Walnut Creek. This time Chris took us to a car park about 850 feet below the summit, and we climbed the Jasmine Trail up to the Lower Summit area. It wasn’t all that far, but the path was steep with loose, friable stuff underfoot, so we got a good work-out. Unfortunately when we reached the top of the trail we found that the mist hadn’t really burned off. Although it was brilliant sunshine atop the mountain, all we could see were ghostly hills looming out of the white. After a break to rehydrate we walked back down the road to the car. (My shoes weren’t well suited to hiking, and I was worried about turning an ankle.)
By now it was after 2, so we drove down to Walnut Creek and grabbed some lunch in the first likely restaurant. From here Chris took us back along Route 24, but before we reached the Caldecott Tunnel he swung up to the north, intending to drive through the Tilden Regional Park. After traversing a maze of twisty lanes, all different, we emerged on the main road through the park, right next to the Redwood Valley Railway. Last summer Chris volunteered at the railway, and wrote an entertaining blog about his experiences. We were about to drive by, but I insisted that we check out this narrow-gauge railway. So we did. One of the enginess was in steam, pulling a passenger train for visitors, and eventually we were able to enjoy the 12 minute ride through the redwoods. (There were lots of visitors, especially children, and each train was full.) After that we walked across to the engine shop, where one of the locomotives was undergoing maintenance, and talked to some of the volunteer staff. After a look around the roundhouse, we took our leave. (I’m going to be back, though.)
From Tilden Park we descended through the redwoods and eucalyptus towards the UCB campus. We parked on Euclid, and Chris took the opportunity to get a (startling!) haircut, while I browsed in the bookshop next door. Then it was time to head over to Oakland; we’d arranged to meet Steve and Wendy for tapas in Piedmont. And so we did, and it was good. Eventually we returned to Berkeley, and I said goodnight and took the long drive back down 880 and across the Dumbarton Bridge to Menlo Park.
I took a bunch of pictures which you can find here. By the time you read this, they will hopefully have finished uploading; however I won’t get around to adding captions for a few days. Enjoy, anyway – especially if you like narrow-gauge steam trains.

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