Grand Tour.13- Toddlin’ Along The Carquinez Strait

Happy New Year loyal reader. The Grand Tour starts anew in 2010, after the holiday recess. Actually, today’s post recaps a trek taken last year , a very long amble along the edge of the Carquinez Strait, from Martinez all the way to Vallejo, a 13 mile monster. Urban Ambles nearly required medical attention as it lumbered  on to the ferry for the ride home, though a soothing Pabst Blue Ribbon (yes, I was that thirsty) helped immensely. Here’s the route:

We accessed this route by train, hopping an early morning Capitol Corridor Amtrak train from Emeryville to Sacramento – it stops in Martinez. It really felt like we were going somewhere this morning, it felt positively Grand-Tourish, I mean the real kind. What is it about settling in on the train, (and I’m not talking about the whine of BART), but the 2-3 miles out of the station satisfying muted clickety clack of the rails beneath you. Seat, coffee, map, and book- check ,check, and check. Simple pleasures.

After heading inland from Emeryville, passing thru the industrial backyards of the East Bay, we return to the water’s edge, along San Pablo Bay. Eventually, suburbia’s enthusiasm for the Bay gives way past Rodeo, and the Bay narrows down to the Carquinez Strait, the entry  marked by the Carquinez Bridge. We continued on to our destination of Martinez, and its sharp new train station.

Disembarking in Martinez, we have arrived in the county seat of Contra Costa County. There is a pretty well-preserved downtown here, and, as it is a county seat, it’s a somewhat robust one. I am also told it was once home to John Muir  (his home is  a museum there). We make our way past the immediate retail zone, and into a very pleasant residential neighborhood, it populated with great examples of early California Victorian vernacular homes, all part of a historic district, itself worth more exploration. Eventually , one ascends the hill at south edge of town, its edge marked by a somewhat scraggly cemetery:

Martinez Victorian
Martinez Cemetery

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