October 20, 2000

So, um, how'd it get to be late October? It occured to me this afternoon that today is the *twentieth*. That's all at the end of the month and stuff. I still think it's, oh, mid-July, maybe. Creepy. I started thinking about *Christmas presents* today, people. Eek! Where does the time go, I tell ya.

speaking of christmas.
But Christmas is good, because I can ask for cheap little bike doodads. For example, the dial tire pressure gauge. Or some more Craftsman tools to add to my collection. I love Craftsman tools. So good. Or, let's see. More motorcycle books. I'm all excited, too, because I have some great ideas for what to get other people this year. No, Peter, I'm not going to specify, so don't think you can cheat by reading this. ;) Naughty.

And speaking of holidays: the big P and I are going on vacation with my parents for Thanksgiving this year. We're hitting the big time and going to the Cayman Islands. Whoo! The reason I bring this up is that my mom recently mentioned to me that she's pretty sure that one can rent mopeds on the island, and therefore, we might be able to rent small motorcycles. That would kick ass. We'd have to make sure that we could rent helmets and the like too, though, since I'm sure not hauling my armored jacket and helmet on a plane down there. So we might have to stick with mopeds, but that could be pretty fun too. Mmmm...touring a caribbean island on a moped. I could do that.

but back to reality.
I had a really good riding day yesterday. I rode with the trains on the way in to work, which I'll talk about later, and then took highway 101 to a dentist appointment in the afternoon. It was the first time I'd been on 101, and now I've hit all the major South Bay freeways (85, 280, 101, 17; I guess I haven't been on 880, but that's more East Bay...). Hrm, I guess I left out 237 too. Well, I'm a big stinky liar then. But I *did* go on 101 for the first time yesterday. *Anyway*, back to my good riding day. 101 sucked for no particular reason -- I heard later there might have been an accident further up the highway -- so I took the slower, longer, city-street route back to work. I'm glad I did. It was the perfect temperature: warm enough to unzip the vents in the jacket but not "too warm" in the slightest. The sky was a perfect clear blue, the leaves were changing, and there were barely any other cars on the road. So good.

After work, I had orchestra rehearsal, so I hopped onto 280 and headed down to Foothill College, where I play viola. To get to 280 from work, I take a road called Page Mill Road (oh, here.). I'm going to do a sucky job of explaining this, but Page Mill goes through the bottom of the foothills, and at one spot before 280 (right at Junipero Serra, for those in the area), it comes over a rise, and you're stopped at the traffic light (always.), and there's this whole valley spread out in all directions as far as you can see. I'm usually there around 6:30pm, so the sun is setting, and making the valleys all golden and green and hazy, and it's absolutely incredible.

riding with the trains.
One of the things I like about my commute (and god knows, there isn't a lot) is that occasionally, I get to ride alongside CalTrain. Central Expressway (home of most that is evil) runs parallel with the portion of the CalTrain route from San Francisco to San Jose that runs through Palo Alto (for the perpetually curious). That particular section of Central Expwy is also narrow, lined by trees on both sides of the road, and fairly straight. Sometimes when I'm headed east-bound on my way home from work, I'll be riding along the straightaway, and I'll pass a station at the same time a train'll be leaving, and for a little while, I'm riding right alongside this huge grey monster. We travel at the exact same speed, more or less (I usually pull ahead eventually). It announces our passing through intersections with a loud pull of the horn which always annoyed me in my old track-side apartment in Wisconsin, but which is exhilerating and exciting when I'm riding alongside it. If I catch a good view of the train through the row of trees, I can see people inside, glowing yellow with the lighting, reading newspapers or starting back at me. It's huge and grey and ugly and loud and rumbly and makes me feel really really really pipsqueaky small next to it. It always makes my whole day to ride with the train.

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