Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Uphill to Grizzly Peak & downhill to the Oakland-SanFran Ferry

After lunch with Alan at La Note in Berkeley, I head into the hills to follow Alan's invitation to see his place of work, namely Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

After a brief stop at Telegraph Avenue I keep climbing higher and higher.

Since Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is home to quite a few Nobel Prize winners and one of them has his office quite close to Alan's office, I told Alan as a joke to snap his fingers if we ran into one of those giants of science.  After a trip to the cafeteria, we walk by a lecture hall with some high school students listening to a guy in his 50s.  Alan gives me a strange look and starts snapping his fingers.  This picture was taken on the way back: Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2011, talking about supernovae ;-)

Saul Perlmutter giving a lecture to high school students

This is where I want to send special greetings to a particularly thick member of the Berkeley or Where-ever Police. 

I don't like wearing bicycle helmets.  Bicycle helmets are not mandatory in California for riders of regular bicycles. Apparently they are mandatory in California for e-bike riders (beats me!). 

So I'm pedaling quite quickly up this really steep hill.  A cop drives down the hill in his copper mobile. About a minute or two later I hear a car approaching slowly behind me and then there is a HONK.  Copper addresses me through his opened passenger-side window!  Good Day, how are you?  At least he's a polite copper.   Where is your helmet?  Aliens abducted it?  Can I see your LBNL badge?  Aha, I look like a genius because he thinks I work here, but then who would trust the judgement of a cop when it comes to matters of genius! A helmet is mandatory when riding a bicycle within LBNL grounds; Please push your bicycle until you have passed the gate.   YOU A-HOLE !!!!!.   I mean, technically he's right, but why not just tell me not to do it again and have a miserable day all by himself instead of spreading it around?
Anyhoo, I get off the bike and start pushing it up the hill. Copper has left already. Something in my gut tells me that he's one of the sneaky ones who will come back 5 minutes later to check whether he can inflict more suffering.  Pushing the bike is not so bad actually and the gate is much closer than I had thought.  And just when I move my sweat-drenched body and my bike through the gate to NON-LBNL territory, I see the copper again.  My gut feeling has been well calibrated over the years.

I thank Karma that copper has possibly not fully realized that I am riding an electric bicycle and that consequently I would have to wear a helmet even outside the gate and keep pedaling up the hill.

After I leave another high number of vertical meters below me, I run into the Lawrence Hall of Science.  Very Nice.   A life-size model of a whale (I was running too fast to read the description) .  The whole thing reminds me of Science World in Vancouver, but on a grander scale and with more youngsters in attendance to study the miracles of nature.

yes, it is as high as it looks ;-)

The Bay at my feet ...

... and the refuse of San Franciscans below my feet.
Then it's downhill through gorgeous California greenery. Hard to believe they have been suffering through a long drought here.

Not much to say or show about Oakland, so we'll jump right to the ferry terminal

The Oakland to SF ferry approaching:

Then it's time to ride the ferry right through the Oakland container harbour. But it looks a little like the banks are littered with ancient war machines abandoned after the last interstellar war.

OK, so it's just a container port ;-)

No, I am sure they had put back the missing section again before they built the replacement East Bay Bridge.
Alcatraz seen under the Bay Bridge

Alcatraz again

Passing under Bay Bridge

Now that the ferry has passed under the Bay Bridge, San Francisco can't be far.
And indeed, there it is:

While the line-up on the Oakland side was pretty much non-existent (~20 people?), the time is 18:30 and this is rush hour. I wonder how many of the people lining up on the SF side will actually make it on the ferry.

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