Day off today! Yes! Time to update the photo blog. Time to update this blog. Time for Dan and Doug to plan and PR for the weekend. Time to breathe. Time away from the baking sun. Time for Doug’s beaten legs to rest. Time . . .
Time is important.
Time is a theme for us to focus on more during this trip. Being on time. Waking up on time. Taking time to rest. Allowing time to decompress, and unwind. Time to have fun. Actually, we allow ourselves time for that. The fun happens all the time (at least for Dan and I) even while chaos and uncertainty swirl around us.
Day 4 began at Sweet Adeline in Oakland, where Day 1 began. It seems to be the popular place in town, or at least it was this morning, as they were out of numerous items (like the coffee cake I intended to have) we saw the first time through, and there was a line. No matter! The apple harvest cake was a more than acceptable alternative. I did mention they make everything there, right?
A bit of chit-chat ensued, we finished our breakfast and were off to Antioch, 35 minutes away, for the start of the day’s run, but not without another trip to Trader Joe’s for treats. While there I saw another community garden on the corner opposite. That’s three or four in the area in the few days I was there!.
Before we dropped Doug off at his starting point we needed to hit up a Kmart (yes, they still exist) for some distilled water so he could make his own special electrolyte drink from a recipe he got from a friend. As Doug is paying for the water he began speaking to the friendly cashier, a woman probably in her late 40′s, and, as he so easily does, nonchalantly brought up his reason for being out there. Turns out that she’s been a type-2 diabetic for six years, and is currently in renal failure, meaning her kidneys are not working properly, and are progressively worsening. It was an interesting interaction to say the least, and touching in a way seeing mutual empathies shared and a weird sort of comaradarie formed between the two of them in the short period of time he spent at the checkout.
Departing the Kmart, we headed across the Antioch Strait Bridge to Doug’s starting point: a hairpin turn where the uneven narrow road laid down between hay fields and grazing grounds for cattle begins to border the easy flowing San Joaquin River. The standard interview was conducted, I took several pictures with my Leica and medium-format cameras, roamed around on some rocks, attempted to identify a bird in the reeds along the river, then Dan and I left our boy and drove a couple miles down the road to setup at a spot that Dan wanted to video from. It was here that I started noticing the prevalence of wild fennel up and down the highways (it stayed with us all the way to Sacramento).
After Dan got the shot that he wanted we followed the highway into the little town of Rio Vista along the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, stopping for some cherries along the way. Rio Vista is one of those places set out in the middle of nowhere where all the kids look bored for nothing to do but run through vineyards and orchards, and swim in the river, which is inviting and all, but as for things to do in town it looked like very little. But, we stopped here because we needed to stop somewhere, and it is a town, which means there is food.
We first walked into the town market; an amusing sort of place only about twenty feet wide by maybe a hundred long, it consisted of a deli counter in the back and three long aisles stocked with the standard canned and bottled goods all pushed to the front of the shelves so there created this appearance of walls of food. It had a bit of the look of a fallout shelter, actually. Additionally, the proprietor carried a variety of tools and the standard household needs: lightbulbs and the like, but also fishing tackle and bait. A little strange, but it is a small town on a river after all. There was pretty much nothing appealing to us there so we wandered over to the pizza parlor, a place severed from the the flow of time and caught in the whirlpool of the nineties, complete with pictures of pizza along the counter, and a covered salad bar with all the fixings in little buckets on ice, and the iceberg lettuce mix that looked like it was just dumped out of a bag in a large bowl of its own. There was even a small area in the back designated for a few select arcade cabinets and a couple of those robotic arm, catch-a-goodie machines. The pizza was better than expected though, and with a tagline of “We toss ‘em, they’re awesome,” it was almost impossible not to like the place. I’m just glad I have more options for places to eat in my own life.
After lunch we dropped Doug on the corner and drove to the even smaller town of Isleton. At this point we were following a rather narrow road, route 160, which had no shoulder to speak of. In fact, when the road didn’t simply drop off precipitously into ditches on the side it was often lined with shrubbery. That makes for a rather harrowing run.
While in Isleton Dan came to the smart conclusion that he might need to get a bottle of aloe from DeJack’s Country Grocery on the corner near the deserted parking lot where we parked. Oh, but if you could see his back and shoulders! Again, he forgot to lotion his back but spent much of the day shirtless. To add insult to injury, he’s been wearing a tank top most of the time so has this wicked tan line. Well, to solve this ugly problem he had the smart idea of lotioning all the burnt areas of his shoulders and chest while leaving the unburnt places bare so as to even out his burn. The issue with that was that he wasn’t careful enough when applying the lotion and now has little white lines on his shoulders like he’s been wearing a spaghetti strap top, and weird red blotches surrounded by white as well, sort of like a Rorschach blotch.
Doug finally arrived, ready to collapse. I told him I’d run with him as far as he was willing to go if he wanted to keep it up and tack on a few more miles. He pretty readily agreed despite being ready to hang up the towel right there. Originally he had planned to run another ten miles from this point, but Dan and I both knew that wasn’t happening. We did however, add another three, slow, methodical miles to push the day end total to just over 18. Not really where he wanted to be, but you know, you do what you can, and he’s not yet in the peak physical conditioning that I saw him in just a few months ago.
So we arrived at the van, the usual concluding interview took place, and we were on our way to Dan’s cousin’s place in Sacramento. The road we followed skirted the edge of the Sacramento River nearly the entire drive. We passed several quaint towns along the way, and were accompanied by orchards and vineyards for much of that drive as well. To sum up, it was really really beautiful the whole of the distance. Really beautiful. Though what hasn’t been on this trip so far?