Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday fun

Habitat homes on 81st

Friday I had hella fun, and I didn't even partake of the Art Murmur, Dancing Under the Stars, Bites off Broadway, or the new Dishcrawl.

I started with my usual Friday bike ride to the Habitat for Humanity building site in the Woodland neighborhood of East Oakland. It was foggy and cool, so I froze my butt off on the ride down the hill. But the first sign of a great day appeared as I signaled to turn off Fruitvale on to School Street. Without needing to, just to be nice, an oncoming car stopped and the driver signaled me to take the turn.

Although I started my ride on my semi-usual route, I dropped down to International sooner than I normally do (sometimes I go all the way to 73rd before I drop down). While I was waiting at the light behind a couple of cars, I had a lovely exchange with a guy unloading flowers at his shop.

When I got to Habitat, I was fully expecting to spend the day painting. The exteriors of the homes are almost done, so that's the stage we're at. I don't dislike painting, but I don't especially enjoy it compared with some of the other tasks I get to do at Habitat. But to my surprise, I got to work on some safety railings in preparation for Grid Alternatives coming out to install the solar panels next week. And that started with a field trip to Economy Lumber, where I haven't been much since rebuilding the stairs from the carport at home. I spent a lot of time there back when I was building the addition to our house, so it was a fun diversion for me. I worked most of the day with one of the volunteers from SyWest. And I did end up doing some painting by the end of the day, but even that was fun -- it was up on the roof, painting the vent stacks to protect them from the elements.


I finished a bit early, and so I hopped on my bike and headed for Old Oakland via BART. I had in my mind to stop by La Borinqueña to pick up some tamales. But I realized on my BART ride that I wasn't that early, and was in fact going to arrive too late for LBQ. So I headed to The Trappist instead. Things were already hopping there with an early Friday crowd, but I managed to score a seat on the patio. There I met Buzz, a very sweet bulldog who belongs to the folks at The Trappist. While I was relaxing, I saw Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery come through to deliver a keg of Burning Oak Black Lager. Adam mentioned a new place that's working towards opening on Telegraph, across 18th from Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe.

After my beer, I headed towards home. Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take one of my alternate routes home, via Old Tunnel Road. After a very short steeper section, Old Tunnel has a very gentle, winding grade, and very few cars, making it a joy to cycle on. (Along the way I saw my second and third news vans of the ride; the first was a KPIX van near Zachary's on College, the second and third were NBC Bay Area vans near highway 24). Between the gentle grade and the e-bike, I think I sometimes make regular road cyclists feel bad -- I tend to pass a lot of people going up hill. (I got my comeuppance today from a lycra-clad guy on a bike that probably weighs less than my battery.)

Secret Stairs event

After some dinner, K and I headed for Pegasus Books on Solano (a rare trip out of Oakland for me), for a book event for Secret Stairs East Bay that I reviewed a while back. There was a great turnout, and it was nice to meet the author, Charles Fleming, as we'd only conversed before in email.

To round out the evening, we headed back to Oakland for some dessert. The line at Fenton's was very long, so we opted for a more expensive but very tasty dessert and digestif at Dopo just up the street. A long day, but hella fun.

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