Below the Cemetery

Location: Neighborhood bordering the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland & Piedmont, CA
Source: Oakland/Piedmont Way of Trees walk, from the book, Hidden Walks in the East Bay & Marin by Stephen Altschuler.
Features: Tree lined streets, Pleasant Valley Ct., hidden shortcuts and beautiful Dracaena Quarry Park.

This walk covers an area I often drive by when traveling to either Piedmont or Mountain View Cemetery. I  didn’t realize the hidden gems of the area, especially Dracena Park, which is another stellar, well maintained park in the town of Piedmont.

Starting just below the entrance gate to Mountain View Cemetery, you go through an old walkway between by an old warehouse and end up walking through Pleasant Valley Ct., an old development of little bungalows. The walk continues into Piedmont and beautiful Dracaena park which part of was once an old rock quarry. Groves of beautiful trees surround the park and it’s lush lawns. Fancy kids play areas with a slide and climbing rock. The park has several access points to surrounding neighborhoods and has a great dog trail and bridge in it’s north end. Much of the Piedmont neighborhoods have rose colored sidewalk with exposed aggregate where sidewalks were bevelled to maintain a smooth path.

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Dracena Park in Piedmont
View from a bench at Dracena Quarry Park
View from a bench at Dracena Quarry Park
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Northern border of Dracena park
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Fancy rock wall for kids

High Power Rocketry at Black Rock

I’m going to attempt the trek out to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada this weekend so I can watch Aeropac’s high power rocket launch. Aeropac has a launch waiver up to 100,000 ft. so there should be some exciting rocket flights!

As some of you know the playa is an interesting and challenging environment. This time of year there can be lakes, floods and lots of mud. Here is a recon video shot yesterday.

Time For Monaco!

Thrilling race through the streets of Monaco – a vain spectacle for sure!
I still have to figure out where you can catch it on TV. I’ll probably just find it on the Internets somewhere…

Help Santa Barbara

I hope my friends and their loved ones in the beautiful Santa Barbara area are safe and their homes preserved in this seasons horrible inferno.

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Photo by Susie Gray

Pay Taxes – Get Told to Delete Photos

Treasurer - Tax Collector Donald R. White

This afternoon I had a wonderful visit to the Alameda Government center to visit the office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector. In order to not be hit with a huge penalty for paying late, I thought I’d visit in person and get a stamped receipt as proof of paying in a timely manner. When you arrive at the Alameda Government center on Oak St., you are greeted by Sheriff Deputies and an airport style security arrangement where I had to remove my belt, keys and iPhone and run them through a metal detector. After passing security, I was free to stand in a long line to pay my taxes. After the line seemed to stop moving, an employee came out and told the taxpayers that the, “system had gone down”. Since I just needed to drop off a check and get a receipt stamp I waited another ten minutes to get my property taxes processed.

Happy that I had gotten this chore out of the way, I was walking down the halls of government when I noticed this amusing sign for the Treasurer & Tax Collector. The logo seems to symbolize some kind of Utopian world of money, houses, computers and people! I snapped a couple shots with my iPhone right in front of some of the Deputies when one asked me what I was doing. I told him I was taking a picture of the sign on the wall. He then told me that he thought it was against the law to do that. He then conferred with another deputy that said it was against the law. He then asked me if I could delete the picture. I told him that it was too late – it was already, “in the cloud”! He asked me what I was taking the picture for. I said it was for my blog and that I cover interesting events in the community. The deputy admonished me that this was no good and that I need to get permission to take pictures. He repeated I better delete the picture when I get home and that it was a misdemeanor. I shrugged then left.

No Pants on the Subway a Success!



I was wondering if this was going to happen in SF. A lot of Gaza protesters were riding BART to SF on Saturday morning. Seeing the two groups together would have been interesting. I was taking BART from Oakland to SF on this morning so Dru could pick me up at the Balboa station so we could get the heck out of town. Everyone had pants.