Wednesday, October 3

Today I was leaving the City. I had been in touch with Jon Altemus who, along with his wife and child live across the bay in the Oakland hills. Jon is from a family I can say I have know most of my life - if not all of it. Jon's father, Don is a naturalist and wildlife artist, and his mother Billie, now deceased, for many years directed the Oglebay Institute Camps: Junior Nature Camp and Mountain Nature Camp. My father, George H. Breiding, now deceased had been the director of the Oglebay Institute Nature Educations Department for 13 years. So, for all my life I had heard either about, attended, and been on Staff at the Camps. Jeff, Jon's brother and fraternal twin now directs Junior Nature Camp.

So, that explains how I ended up in Oakland for the day.

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County Roads

This certainly is not Oakland, CA but it shows one of the reasons I am always glad to get home after a trip. This is the road Betsy and I took a walk along this past Sunday.

My trip to Oakland was to be via the MUNI bus to the 16th and Mission Bart Station and then BART to the Rockridge Station in Oakland where Jon was to pick me up.

When I left Bruce's apartment to start this little journey I notice this weird looking thing parked across the street.

What is this tiny little vehicle?

Turns out it is a MM NmG. "Nmg" stands for "No more Gas". The vehicle is made by Myers Motors of Tallmadge, Ohio.

Great way to get unchained from the gas pump, but at $38k, it's not for everyone.

I thought the comment below worth adding to this page.

If I'm not mistaken, this is the family of Stanley Myers, who figured out a workable hydrogen conversion so that re-tooled cars could run on water! A friend of mine was in touch with him in the early '90s when they were about to start selling dealerships--garages where the conversion would be done to your car.

At the celebratory dinner when the final logistic piece was in place, Myers died suddenly after dipping into his meal. The company office's files were ransacked while the family was at the restaurant. At least that's the way I heard it. The story always stuck with me, and it struck me that this may be the next generation of Myers, sticking it to the petroleum industry in a different way. -CP

These folks had set up business at the Mission Street Bart Station plaza. Somehow I can't quite see the point of getting massage while wearing all your clothes and a jacket.

When I arrived at the BART station in Oakland Jon picked me up in his TDI VW Bug.

Both the TDI and their other vehicle, a Jetta, have been converted to run on Bio-fuel. In this case it is recycled vegetable oil from an Eagle Potato potato chip factory in LA which is sold locally by the Bio-fuel Oasis in Berkeley.

The TDI gets 43 MPG, the Jetta - 54. Not bad. And at the current price of $3.84 per gallon it is definitely cost effective. Gasoline prices ranged from about 2.84 to 3.99 a gallon while I was in California.

After a local lunch Jon took me up to Sibley Park. It was here he hoped to spot the Bald Eagles often seen in the area. We saw no Baldies, but did see a Red-Tailed Hawk.

This maze was below a vista point which was along the trail. I thought it rather odd and have seen nothing like if before. I was to later see another one near Lands End in San Fran.

This comment about the "maze" came for Lloyd.

The "maze" you saw is actually a labyrinth. You can find a lot of them. especially in religeous venues, and extra-especially in mon asteries and the like. They can be found in Pittsburgh and region. They are an aid to meditation. If you look at it closely, it is not a maze, but a single path. If you follow it (hopefully slowly and thoughtfully), you will reach the center and then by an equally long route the outside again. You can find them all over Europe made out of gorgeous stone work.

Source: WikiPedia

This is the view looking east towards Mt Diablo. If I remember correctly Jon told me on clear day you could see the Sierras - about 150 miles away.

Later on we got an expansive view of the The Bay Bridge and San Fran. A new bridge is under construction which will be earth quack resistant.
This is what Jon had to say about the new bridge:

The new section of the Bay Bridge is located east of Yerba Buena Island the Self-Anchored Suspension.

Traditional main cable suspension bridges have twin cables with smaller suspender cables connected to them, which hold up the roadbed and are anchored to separate structures in the ground. There is only one main cable on the new Self-Anchored Suspension span.

It will be a lovely bridge. Check out their web site for images:

This is Jon in the kitchen of their really Cool California Home. Jon fixed a fabulous dinner of roasted, free range organic chicken, mixed veggies, Artichokes with tangy dipping sauce, and asparagus. Man - was it great to have a home cooked meal in someone's home! The dinner was completed with hand made desserts by Nola.

The open floor plan and wooded hillside location was very nice.

The wide open spaces...

Prior to dinner Jon went to pick up Nola. I stayed behind and amused myself by taking photos of some the interesting items in the house.

This is a detail of large wall painting.




I thought this mobile was really interesting looking.

This is the view from the back deck. The trees are Coast Redwoods.

Day 15 - FINIS