Watts (chipotle) wrote,
Watts
chipotle

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Notes from the road

Thanksgiving’s come and gone, and came and went well. In addition to tugrik and revar, Tug’s sister and her husband and daughter, farix_arkwright, dusty and Frang all came over, with shaterri and Jeff dropping by later during the midst of Jeff’s move up to Seattle. Dusty was doing most of the cooking, but Fox brought over homemade pumpkin and pecan pies, Frang brought a salad (and the all-important Thanksgiving sake) and I made one of two turkeys. Yes, two. Dusty’s was a more traditional roast turkey; I did a brined turkey, following a somewhat elaborate Wolfgang Puck recipe. It came out really well, if I do say so myself.

I’ve been wandering again, both yesterday and today. Yesterday felt caught between Saturday and Sunday and today definitely feels like Sunday, even though it isn’t. While I usually wander with a bit more of an aim than it sometimes appears—I want to visit a specific town, see a specific park, or restaurant, or museum—today has been an unsatisfyingly pointless wandering. It started nicely enough, with a breakfast at Holder’s Country Inn on Montery Highway, then a drive northward into the East Bay. It took a turn for the futile at that point, though, up through areas that I’ve already been but didn’t feel compelled to explore more of around Pleasanton and Dublin. Then east, for confirmation that indeed Tracy still has nothing in it. (Well, it does have the closest Sonic Drive-In to the Bay Area, but that only gets you so much.)

So I’m currently in the Panama Bay Coffee Company in Livermore, debating whether I want to do anything for dinner in this area, or trek back. There are a few interesting places around here that I’ve not been to, just from looking around. Although with Christmas coming up, and its related presents and trip back home, I need to limit my “interesting place” quotient for a while.

Actually, I should probably be doing that with respect to wandering, too—certainly when it comes to wanders like today’s. I’m realizing I’m getting that “Haven’t I been here before?” feeling I got toward the end of my life in Florida as I was driving farther and farther afield. This is dangerous in some ways; I remember that on more than one of those occasions, I’d be far, far away from my apartment, and be thinking, you know, you really should be home working on other projects. Those wanders didn’t succeed at being “driving zen,” but instead were more draining than relaxing.

Even so, I have some kind of odd attraction to the East Bay, it appears, particularly along the I-680 corridor. Fremont’s a nice place, with some very pretty areas. Danville, Walnut Creek, even east a while along CA-4 toward Antioch and Pittsburg—all nice, even if Pittsburg’s becoming a canonical suburb community. I catch myself wondering if those areas are cheaper than San Jose—they are, I suspect, but not enough to justify the commute. Even from Fremont, as I-680 is terrible in rush hour in that stretch, and there’s no public transit to use as an escape.

As it turns out, while Panama Bay Coffee nominally has free wireless, it’s free broken wireless, so I’m unlikely to be posting this from the road. It’s 5:40pm as I finish writing this, so it’s been dark for a half-hour; it’s time to get going, I guess, to see what kind of early nightlife Livermore develops. I’ve only been here twice before, one time with dracosphynx and Dave Bryant at a restaurant which is no longer in business. I don’t think we’d actually seen the main street of the town, even though it turns out we walked across it; I can see now that that restaurant was in a pretty bad location, and I suspect if I come back in a year, the “bistro” that replaced it won’t be around, either.

Off to walk back up the block. It’s brisk out there (low 50s and windy, and dropping quickly now—the low here tonight’s expected to be 34), and I’m tempted to wish I still had the (surprisingly well-made) cappuccino. But the chances are I’m hungry enough to get a little something at one of the taquerias I’ve passed. Then back home, probably to finally post this!


Postscript: Home, just after 8:00 p.m. Indeed, it was brisk out there: according to Yahoo! (which I could reach on the Sidekick), the temperature dropped from 54 to 44 in about a half-hour. I had a good—not great, but good—carnitas burrito at a taqueria, then walked to Peet’s for a peppermint hot chocolate. Now I’ve got one of at least two overdue loads of laundry started. It’s time to get a drink and settle in for the evening.

Tags: food, life, travel
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