They awoke in each other’s arms, sunlight streaming in through the window. The cat had slept in the entwine of their legs all night. It was their day to go on a bike ride! After waking, rising, and getting the smoothies going, they thought about where they wanted to go as they drank their coffee on the deck overlooking the town.
“Damn, these pancakes are good, babe!”
“I want us to get a full healthy meal in before we ride. These smoothies have wheat grass, mango, bananas, strawberry’s and raspberries from our urban garden. Drink up”, she said as she leaned over to kiss him first, on the lips.
“Let’s ride over to Mare Island and keep exploring…there’s a whole other side to the Island that we’ve never seen!” He said excitedly, spilling his coffee down his shirt in the process.
Having just moved the beautiful Vallejo, California, they are constantly bumping into these beautiful areas, that to them remain undiscovered. Its funny too, because as they have found, the Bay Area seems to have this has such a prejudice and bias against Vallejo- like its some armpit of the bay area. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its beautiful here, the people are nice- many having been here for generations as their families worked on Mare Island in the Naval Shipyards since WW2, moving here from all over the south and midwest looking for work in Depression era America. They moved their lives, their families, their cultures to this town, and it feels it- Vallejo to this writer has the feeling of many southern towns I have visited- friendly folk, down home style culture. And of course, this being a NAVY town for 150 years with people from all of the world living and working here- one gets the sense that this was actually a very cosmopolitan little town on the north coast, once. The Navy left in 1996, ( at least daily ops) and little has been done since to re invigorate this area- its an economic dead zone, both the town of Vallejo and Mare Island. Its probably a superfund site- and too bad, me thinks this was once a spectacularly beautiful place, once un touched a long time ago.
They had so many questions to be answered about Mare Island. Of course everyone knew it was a Naval Shipyard for 150 years! At any one time, there would’ve been 45-56,000 people living and working on the island in some function that served the Navy! And, then with the stroke of a pen, its gone…old buildings, graveyards, docks, warehouses, bunkers, living quarters, huge old empty factories- beautiful in their quiet stateliness- representing the ideas of another era. Today, they wore their helmets; there’s traffic across the old drawbridge and lots of railroad tracks they’d have to cross- always a challenge. The sun was shining bright. They rode from their home in the downtown Heritage District the five miles across town over to Tennessee street and across the old bridge. Ride slow, there’s traffic zipping by constantly; fortunately, this being Sunday, there wasn’t much. She rode ahead of him. He loves being around history, and Mare Island is rich- these old barracks, bunkers and nightclubs look so much like alot of towns in America, right now. It seems odd that nothing could be made from all of the old classrooms, and living quarters, most of which lay empty, awaiting some occupant to help fulfill its purpose.
But Pam and lee just move through worlds- like spirits, onto the next adventure – the cool naturalistic nook cranny hike forest or section of coastline ready to be explored. And Mare Island has plenty of beautiful places to explore. Ride your bikes, on the weekends ( Friday through Saturday) up past the graveyard out onto the outer edge where the road leads one all the way to the top of the Island. One can see all of San Francisco Bay, The Carquinez Straits and the golden Sonoma Hills from high atop the hill. Great place to catch a sunset too.
Wear you helmets if you are riding the city streets- there is little respect for bikers in this town. That’ll change. We hope Vallejo can re invent itself over the years- its quite beautiful here, and the weather is fantastic.
Over and Out-