Friday, May 29, 2009

Stanford Mansion

Leland Stanford Junior University isn't a junior university named after Leland Stanford; it's a university named after his son, who died tragically at age 15.

The wainscoting on the ground floor is to protect the walls during seasonal flooding.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Steam train on Old Sacramento

The transcontinental railroad began in Sacramento. The financial backing came from four local merchants: Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Charles Crocker. The engineering vision came from Theodore Judah. The labor came from China, at a cost of a 10-percent mortality rate among the workers. As great an achivement as the transcontinental railroad was at the time, one's perception of its greatness is tempered by the degree to which one identifies oneself as being Chinese.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento is full of shops that sell a wide variety of interesting shops that sell such things as: funny t-shirts and hats; saltwater taffy and other kinds of candy; jewelry; kitschy paintings; toys and puzzles; disposable cameras; more t-shirts and hats...

Our weekend trip to the state capital was surprisingly fun. We limited our exploration to a mile-wide swath between Old Sacramento and Fort Sutter. This area included our hotel, the convention center (which we didn't go to), the state capitol building and surrounding park, the Stanford Mansion, the railroad museum, and numerous cafes, bars and restaurants.

Getting around by bike and on foot was remarkably easy. There is an extensive network of bike lanes to the east of the capitol building. West of that, there is an off-street bike path on N-street (okay, it's the sidewalk, but bikes are specifically allowed there).

Traffic on I-80 into Sacramento on a Saturday morning was annoyingly slow. Alternate route on I-5 worked fine on the way home. After two and a half hours on the road, the pale ale at Rubicon Brewing Company was more than welcome. The IPA wasn't bad either. Lots of bikes parked out front. We saw a lot of converted fixed-gear bikes over the weekend too, lots more than we see in the suburbs of the south bay.

Loved the tour of the capitol building. Beautiful structure full of history. You'd think the legislators would be a little more inspired working in such a grand environment. The tour is free, and the building is open to the public on weekends (well it should be open to the public -- we own it).

Fort Sutter closes at 5pm, and it's free after 4:30. Fun place to look around and realize how luxurious our lives are.

Stanford Mansion is worth the $8 tour. Nice piece of history. Go to the railroad museum first to get a better historical context.

Railroad Museum is great. $8 includes the 20-minute movie and the tour.

Residence Inn Capitol Park is okay. Good location. Ventilation was loud at night. Nice complementary breakfast.

Mulvaney's Restaurant was really good. Also really expensive.

Fat City Bar & Cafe had a great hamburger, but I was starving at the time...

Tuli Bistro had a great vegetarian pizza and a good selection of bottled beer. I was a little concerned when I saw all the other diners having wine, but I was happy to get an Old Rasputin imperial stout.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Railroad Museum

1769 - James Watson demonstrates a commercial version of the steam engine.
1869 - Transcontinental railroad shortens travel time from east to west coast from 6 months to 7 days.
1969 - Apollo 11 lands on the moon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

California Capitol Building

The state capitol building is open to the public seven days a week.
Free tours are held on the hour.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Do you know what's going on above your city?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Stevens Creek.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Calfee Bamboo Bike

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gizdich Ranch

The third rest stop on the Strawberry Fields Forever bike ride was at Gizdich Ranch, featuring the best fresh apple juice I'd ever had. Also: crepes, a small antique shop, lemonade, and a Slavic music ensemble.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Elkhorn Slough

On Sunday's ride we were out near Elkhorn Slough, but we didn't know where we were.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Old building on the waterfront

In San Francisco.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day

Inadvertent self-portrait taken of my bike, with a handlebar-mounted camera set to take a shot every 5 seconds. I had stopped at the post office to mail a letter. The pictures from the rest of my ride were uninteresting.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday Streets, San Francisco

This past Sunday was the Sunday Streets event in San Francisco.That's how we stumbled upon the great coffee shop in the morning, and the great cafe for lunch (South Beach Cafe).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Brompton left, Bike Friday Tikit right.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Philz Coffee

Sunday we wandered out of the San Francisco Caltrain station wondering where the closest cup of coffee would be. After a brief encounter with my Blackberry in the bright sun, I decided that being in San Francisco, we could probably head out in any direction and hit a coffee shop.

A block away we found Philz Coffee. I did not notice in particular that a house coffee cost $3. I did think it was the best coffee I'd ever had.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Glazed Raised from Stan's

Got to Stan's just as they were closing around 2:30pm on Sunday. They had a bunch of these left. It was pretty good, a little on the heavy side, but fresh-tasting. I'll have to go back in the morning sometime.

Stan's is located across the street from the Santa Clara county library on Homestead.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ce n'est pas un arbre

Joyce Kilmer 1886–1918

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The ducks seem to be enjoying the wet weather we've been having.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mary Avenue Bike Bridge

I might be able to think of other ways to spend $15 million for bike-related transportation projects; but the new bridge really is nice.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Turkey Burger

As seen on