Expedition 33: Martinez train, bike and walk

May 16. I biked to the Berkeley Amtrak station to get the train to Martinez. I’ve never taken a train from this station before and was not expecting to step up almost two feet into the train. It was a little tricky (and not very graceful) lifting my bike into the train. In Martinez, the platform is just about a foot below the train. Weird. 

The trip is just over half an hour; too fast! Most of it goes along the water, right next to the water. I chose Martinez because it’s close and because the train station is downtown. It was easy to see the sights on the bike and on foot. Downtown Martinez is pretty and clean with shops and businesses housed in historic buildings. 

The county finance building is quite imposing, enough that I assumed at first it was the courthouse. Turn out it was built as a courthouse in 1901 (the current courthouse is another impressive building on the next block). Inside it’s mostly modernized but retains this pretty staircase. 

In back is an exhibit about the jail that was demolished just a few years ago to create a new plaza. There was a vocal group that wanted to preserve the historic building and perhaps turn it into a jail-themed restaurant! 

Across the street I visited the Martinez Museum which occupies an adorable 1890 house. A small room is set up as a doctor’s office. Exhibits commemorate John Muir, who settled there in 1880, and telephone operators. My grandmother was an operator in the 20’s, so this photo tickles me. 

A few blocks over I checked out the post office and admired the mural and the old fashioned letter boxes that are still in use. Next I biked two miles to the John Muir National Historic Site. I’ve never seen sash windows like these; they are tall enough to function as doors! You can ring the bell in the tower (I did) but it’s not very loud. I ran out of time to do the cemetery tour, but perhaps I’ll return.

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