Expedition 39: Temperate Marin

Because of extreme heat warnings, I planned this expedition to hit the coolest spots. Of course, I could have just stayed home since Berkeley rarely gets too hot. When I passed through San Rafael around noon, the car thermometer said it was 90 degrees. In Tiburon it was only about 80. 

The Tiburon Railroad & Ferry Depot Museum is housed in the original depot built in 1886. It reminded me inside of the Martinez museum (Expedition 33) in its architecture and exhibits. But this one had a model railroad! There was lots of nice detail although the train just went slowly back and forth on the same rail a few times. The depot also served ferry service to San Francisco. The huge ferry Ukiah carried cars and, at its peak in the 20’s and 30’s, 2,200 commuters! 

A ways down the road, I stopped at Blackie’s Pasture. He was a sway backed horse who arrived at the pasture and spent 40 years there, after working as a rodeo horse and then for the U.S. Cavalry. He was a landmark since he tended to stand in the same spot day after day. I took the lovely, windy route 1 west to Green Gulch Zen Center. Years ago, when I lived in San Francisco, I came up here often, just to take this walk. Fortunately, nothing seems to have changed. I especially love coming around a bend on Route 1 and finally seeing and smelling the ocean.

The trail goes west past the quiet, calm Zen Center. Through the first gate are flowerbeds and paths through fruit trees and sitting nooks overseen by Buddha statues. Two more gates leading through vegetable fields tended by Zen students since 1972. In the first one I saw a man who seemed to be walking his cat. But the cat was very muscular. Oh, and had pointy ears. It was a bobcat! I got a little closer and the guy said she lived there and had raised a few litters of cubs there. So cool! She was just hunkered down in a row of vegetables. She saw us but didn’t seem to mind. 

After the last gate there’s a horse pasture. The trail curves around it and shortly arrives at Muir Beach. It was unsurprisingly crowded. The weather was perfect, about 75, sunny and a bit breezy. I walked to the end of the beach and sat for a bit. On the walk back I saw several California quail, which is always a highlight. This one perched on the sign long enough for me to take a photo. 

Next stop was the Marin Rod and Gun Club. My taiko group played here a few years ago and I wanted to see it again. The building dates from the mid-50’s but it has the feel of an older place. There’s no shooting anymore but they have a fishing pier and a gorgeous location on the water. 

On the other side of the freeway is San Quentin Village, a Main Street lined with pretty houses, a small beach and an BNB that seems to be closed. I’m so curious about who lives here! And I regret very much not having visited the handicraft shop! It closed during the pandemic and apparently there are no plans to re-open it. Grr. After I took my photos, a prison guard popped out to tell me no photography was allowed on federal property. I scurried back to my car and thankfully he didn’t pursue the matter.

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