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Mt. Ranier

It was time to see our kids, in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the weekend before Thanksgiving 2013, their busy lives were perhaps a fraction less busy, so we decided to jump on the opportunity to see them. Our flight from Seattle took us down the Ring of Fire, and I was able to get a left side window seat. It gave me a view of the impressive succession of volcanoes which make up the Cascade Mountains, as well as the lakes and convoluted masses of lava which this tortured junction of the earth's crust has produced. A stormy week had left fresh snow on the mountains, which made their features pop. Like a little kid, I spent most of the flight looking out the window for familiar features.

Eric met us at the airport, and after checking into our neaby hotel, he drove us, in halting rush hour fashion, through San Francisco and across the new Bay Bridge, to U.C. Berkeley, where Corey had wrapped up a long day in the lab. We picked among a marvelous selection of ethnic restaurants and finally selected a Thai restaurant for dinner. It had been almost a year since Pat and I had seen Eric or Corey, so the conversation moved quickly across a variety of topics, revisiting some areas as questions came to mind. We ordered family style, and enjoyed the variety of well spiced dishes, but were especially fond of the char grilled satay of beef and lamb. After dinner, we went to Corey's apartment and took Kobe for a walk up one of Albany's hills.

 

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood, just east of Portland, has three ski areas on its south side. It looks benign, but is responsible for an astonishing number of mountaineering deaths. Its weather changes rapidly, and the combination of cold, wind and dense fog can be unforgiving.

 

Bay Landing Airport Hotel

A Navy pilot can ask for nothing more of a hotel than a view of airplanes landing over water. The Bay Landing Airport Hotel near SFO, is a privately owned hotel with big rooms, excellent ammenities, and often is on offer at great rates. We've stayed there several times.

 

SF Bay and mud

Behind the hotel, the Bay consistes of tidal mud flats, shared by marine birds and windsurfers as the afternoon wind picks up.

Saturday morning, Eric picked us up and once again we drove to the East Bay, this time in much easier traffic. We piked up Cory, and then headed east to Martinez and Lafayette which was our home for 18 years while the kids were growing up. We visited Alhambra High School, alma matter for each of our kids. We then drove on down through old Martinez and out to the marina where as kids they rode bikes, fished and watched fireworks on the 4th of July. For lunch we ate BBQ sandwiches at Kinders, and then drove through our former Lafayette neighborhood. All the time, we were remembering stories and people and catching up.

My bucket list for the trip had an inflexible requirement that we have sundaes at Fentons in Piedmont. Fentos was opened in 1894; I first had ice cream at Fentons when I was a five year old, attending kindergarten in Oakland. During my Navy years, we had lunch there numerous times. An arsonist burned Fentons in 2001, and it was rebuilt, for 2 million dollars, to a suitably remeniscent form. So, we left Contra Costa County through the Caldecot tunnel, and dropped into Piedmont for our treat. The place was full, as it always is on weekends, but we soon got a table and I ordered my usual, black and tan, all toasted almond ice cream. It should be noted that Fentons invented Rocky Road ice cream and those sundaes were on special, but I had to stick with tradition. Someone let slip that it was my birthday, and so I was treated to a 200 voice serenade, quite fun.

 

 

Alhambra High School

The science building at Alhambra High School. As his last class was ending, Eric and friends, for their senior prank, released 2,000 crickets into that building. The screaming was, of course, music to their ears. The teachers actually approved of the prank, since it simply involved sweeping the building a few days later, without the damage other pranks had caused.

 

Martinez Marina

Eric, Pat and Corey on the Martinez pier.

 

Oakmont Cemetary

We took time to visit Kathy Gallagher's grave at Oakmont Cemetary.

Kathi Gallagher headstone

Kathy, Pat's mother and grandmother to nine, was a stable influence to her children, and later rose, meritoriously, to be a corporate secretary and officer. Even as adults, her children would call Kathy when they needed sound advice on some issue.

 

Fentons Ice Creamery

Clients making their selection at Fentons Creamery.

Fentons 2

It's all good. Rocky Road started here.

Fentons 3

Even the pictures on the wall are the same, despite burning down in 2001. And yes, the Black and Tan is the same as well.

 

Corey view of the Bay.

A view of the Bay Area from just above Corey's apartment.

 

Donato Enoteca Restaurant

For my birthday, Eric and Irene took us to Donato Enoteca Restaurant in Redwood City.

 

Restaurant2

With Irene and Eric; great food, even better company.

 

Irene's fish

Irene, ready to enjoy her char grilled sea bass.

 

Eric and Irene at the restaurant.

Irene and Eric.

 

Don's birthday tart.

Yet another birthday dessert, but just a punctuation for a great birthday weekend with the whole family.

The End