Smoke On The Water

In 2017 there were terrible forest fires in northern California but the air quality didn’t suffer for most of the state. The weather was clearing out the bad air and no one needed masks unless they were sick.

Then this fall, another fire started up north (only 100 miles away) and near LA at the same time. Now there were fires above and below the Bay Area. A windless, rainless front dropped into the area and would not move. Our air quality was stagnant with smoke and haze for weeks making history. Even now I wait for the air to clear which is supposed to happen tomorrow when we finally get some rain-if we do get some rain.

Screenshot_20181109-085043_WeatherBugDon’t go outside! This was not the worst air day it got much worse. I couldn’t ride my bike for over a week until I bought N95 masks.

People not living here wonder how this could happen. For decades we had a horrible drought that killed trees, brush, and dried out our forests. When this second fire started the high winds scattered the fire with plenty of fuel to burn. Perfect fire weather.

Although we had a year in between of rain that restored lakes, rivers, and creeks in the state it didn’t stay green for long. Just as we were hoping the drought was over we had another dry year. After weeks of historically bad air quality, closures and warnings we’re told it might clear up the end of this week. Only then can we begin to figure out what happened and rebuild.

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Me biking last Thursday. Behind me isn’t fog or cloudy, the air is that thick with smoke and bad chemicals. The sun was out you just can’t see it.

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Wearing the masks made me happy for the first few rides. After I found out how irritating they are to wear I only rode 3 times with them on (meaning I only rode 3 times in weeks.) I had to keep stopping to wipe the sweat off of my face and dry off the inside of the mask. My sunglasses would fog at the worst times and be hard to wear. Drops of sweat would hang on the tip of my nose under the mask and at times felt itchy.  My nose would run. I saw only one other cyclist with a mask on-no wonder!

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The windbag at Windsurfer’s Beach hangs limp for weeks. Coyote Point is the mass of trees to the right in the background. Further down the peninsula, the landmarks like San Francisco and the airport are lost in the smoke and bad air.

This week is Thanksgiving. I last rode my bike on Saturday and should have ridden yesterday but I couldn’t put the mask on. The landscape on these masked rides hasn’t been that pretty and I feel for the animals trying to go about their lives in this soup. Everything looks unfocused, the light is strange, colors not sharp and everything smells like smoke. I did see some of the regulars who ride the Bay Trail but were surprised to see them not wearing masks. The masks truly are hard to wear exercising but to me health is everything!

Even in our homes, our air is bad there’s no getting away from it. I wear masks everywhere I go even in my car but I don’t wear one at home. Having my bedroom window open all year helps me sleep better but all windows are shut tight until this is over. Anything you run in the home isn’t safe unless it’s on a closed loop. All one can do is wait and get through it.

This is the first time that I’ve missed weeks of biking. I’ve biked every other day 20-30 miles for almost 3 years and although I’m not in training, it’s like a training schedule. I like to stay in tip-top shape. Biking helps my depression and mood swings so it’s been difficult coping without it. I’m especially thankful that I didn’t lose everything in these terrible fires.

We have a few Spare The Air Days during the year but nothing like this. I hope the news is right and the weather does change tomorrow so all of us can have a good Thanksgiving and be thankful for the clean air and peace it brings.

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Have you ever worn a mask exercising or lost time biking due to circumstances beyond your control? How frustrated were you?

Enjoy what you do have, count your blessings and be thankful!

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Spring Time On The Bay Trail

It’s springtime on the Bay Trail and after all of the rain, the drought is over in California making it a happy time for plants, flowers, birds, bees, and me! I’ve been aware of the Bay Trail for decades but since Feb. 20th, 2016 I’ve been riding regularly and taking photographs of the Bay Trail on my rides.

I’m thankful that I live close enough to ride this beautiful nature trail all year round and my photographs have grown into an amazing collection.  The photos in this post are from this spring (2017) and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.

If you check out my sidebar you can see even more of my photos and I change it occasionally so always check for more. 

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The water levels in the bay and surrounding natural sloughs are always changing with the tides. There is mud on the far left, deeper water channeling in the middle and shallows on the right. The patterns in the mud and water are always changing as nature is the best artist.

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There are crushed shell beaches along the San Francisco Bay that are great for walks when I need a bike break. The white is a nice contrast to the colors of the various plant life. This is low tide and in the distance is the San Mateo Bridge which is highway 92.

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Take a walk through Coyote Point, a 670-acre park which houses a yacht harbor, the CuriOdyssey museum and lots of places for picnics/cookouts all within a small forest of Eucalyptus trees. The paths up and down the cliffs are breathtaking with views of San Francisco, the airport, and the peninsula shoreline. There’s a full golf course nearby, a pistol/rifle range, and a playground. Kite and windsurfing are just some of the sports enjoyed here and the Bay Trail runs through it.

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Coyote Point used to be much more! As you can see here it was the Merchant Marine Cadet School in 1942 and after that, the College Of San Mateo campus until 1962. Coyote Point used to be an island connected by marshlands to the mainland. It’s now landfill turned into a golf course.

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The yacht harbor at Coyote Point with wildflowers in the forefront. Some of the flowers were brought in and some are natural it’s hard to tell which is which anymore but they’re all lovely to look at.

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I love to look for everyday shapes in nature like this rock that’s shaped like a heart. The yellow blooms are ice plants they almost bloom year round but go crazy in the spring.

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Just look at these yellow flowers, there were only 2 bushes like this. While I was taking close-ups of the flowers I almost missed this tiny hummingbird. The back of his head was bright red but my camera didn’t pick it up.

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This was one of my favorite flowers this year due to the color and detail but they weren’t around for long.

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Daisies are found all along the Bay Trail of numerous kinds and colors.

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After the purple blooms, little white flowers come out from the insides of these flowers.

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After all of the rain, we had many kinds of mushrooms growing. Not edible but very interesting.

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I like the striped petals and color of this flower. I tried to look up some of these flowers using Google Image Search but wasn’t that successful. It’s not a perfect system.

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Even the trees are amazing along the Bay Trail. That’s San Francisco in the distance but look at this tree! The foliage along the cliffs at Coyote Point and along the bay are bent and twisted from the winds and weather into some neat shapes.

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There are so many different flowers in this world and I never tire of them.

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These have yellow centers that look like the color’s running. Some are bushes some are single flowers.

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This was one of the first flowers to bloom and the petals look like someone crushed them but that’s how they grow. There’s still some left as of this write.

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Aren’t these pretty with the spotted petals? They are tiny things.

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Can you see the hawk in the center of this photo? The yellow and purple blooms are ice plants. They close at night and open with the sun.

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Get a load of these colors! They’re almost done blooming now. (These look like, but aren’t ice plant blooms.)

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The petals and shape of this flower are interesting!

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Bottlebrush flowers are the Hummingbirds favorite. I had a few trees near my patio once and didn’t need to have a feeder.

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These purple, white or pink flowers on stalks are the bees favorite and they will swarm you if you get too close. The tree (with the bare branches) looks dead but it’s not. I never see anything grow on them so it’s a mystery to me. That spot in the sky is not a plane it’s a bee.

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Can’t leave out California poppies. Bright orange, you see them everywhere even in the middle of the freeway. This year down south they had so many bloom that they could see them from the Space Station. They call that a super-bloom.

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These tiny yellow flowers grow everywhere in the wild grass.

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I had to include this cactus in a nearby garden although there are plenty of succulents that grow wild. I’m still waiting for it to bloom. (The ice plants are succulents.) Love those tiny blue flowers too!

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I could show you more flowers and plants but that’s enough for today. I’m closing with this photo of some stunning clouds above the San Mateo Bridge at low tide. The bay and sky are ever-changing from minute to minute. The birds are busy feeding and everything is peaceful on the Bay Trail.

This site is fairly new but I’m troubled by the lack of comments. Please leave your thoughts I’m waiting to hear them. If you want me to write about something now’s the time to let me know. I plan on more articles about health and biking but surely there’s something you want to hear?

Happy 200th Anniversary to the Bicycle! Read about it from the Wall Street Journal.

Come Bike With Me

This map shows the beautiful area that I bike in on the Bay Trail. If you’re ever in the Bay Area you can get ahold of me on this site or on any of my social network accounts I’d be happy to show you around!

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Anza Lagoon to Belmont Slough

Bicycling In My Area * Burlingame * San Mateo * Foster City * Redwood Shores

Some of the finest biking anywhere, come bike with me! If you are ever in this area you must visit the Bay Trail whether you’re biking, walking, roller skating or whatever it’s lovely and you’ll find your stress draining away.

Coyote Point to Redwood Shores (Peninsula)

Ride your bike 17 miles (one direction) through three cities along a continuous, mostly paved Bay Trail including towering Eucalyptus, beautiful flowers, and an elegant bicycle/pedestrian bridge to restored wetlands teeming with shorebirds. The city of San Francisco and the airport can be seen across the bay along with Mt. Diablo and many other famous landmarks. There are many parks along the way to stop and enjoy.

Source: baytrail.org

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All you need is a bicycle and the road to good health opens up to you.

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Put The Fun Between Your Legs!