Posted by: ramblinrobert | October 18, 2011

A ride up memory lane

[Written several weeks ago, but just finished today.]

Sacramento’s best asset, by far, is the American River Parkway. This morning was cool with a slight breeze blowing up river as I rode through the CSUS campus and picked up the bike trail at the Guy West Bridge. (The first photo here is from the bridge.) I’m in Sacramento visiting my parents and had just dropped off their car for repairs and was heading back to their home in Carmichael. I figured the best way to do this shuttle was to bicycle back on the Parkway bicycle trail. I couldn’t have picked a better way to do the shuttle or a better morning to do the ride.

Along the way, I saw walkers, fishermen, joggers, a high-school cross-country team, exercise cyclists, bicycle commuters on their way to work and dog walkers. Every one of them brought back memories of my times on the trail. If there is any place for which I have a sense of place, this is it. I must have smiled the whole way, greeting others as I rode.

Let me tell a few stories. The fisherman reminded me of paddling this river with Pepper, shortly before she died. Friends Bob & Kitty wanted to paddle the lower portion of the river and I had just purchased a sit-on top kayak so Pepper could go paddling with me. We had a lovely day. I’ve run and walked both sides of the river in that area, but very little looked familiar. The river simply looks quite different when you’re in it, looking up at the levees that block city views in most places.

Further up the trail, I passed the drinking fountain where I had stopped innumerable times to drink and splash water on my neck during a run. Many of those runs were on Thursday nights with my pizza and beer run group. We would go out and get in a long run of 12-15 miles, then go for pizza and beer. It was a fun group, going to many weekend races together, sometimes helping each other through our first marathons, sometimes just going out for a fun 10k or 10 mile run somewhere.  The pack of high-school girls and high-school boys running along the river reminded me of running with my own high-school cross-country team members, years before the Parkway was even there.

I’ve also ridden this trail by bicycle many times. The first was 39 years ago, when I had moved back to Sacramento after college. The trail–then just 12 miles long–had just opened and my father and I rode to the trail, took it to downtown Sacramento, then rode back to their home in Carmichael. In later years I would ride the bike trail with Sierra Club groups, friends Craig & Kitty and on Eppie’s Great Race days with Dennis and Mark.

The early morning sun was beautiful behind the clouds and I had a lovely ride. Later in the day, when the car repair was completed, I hopped back on my bicycle and rode back to town. By then, it was a bit over 90 degrees, so I just burned off a quick 10 or so miles to get it over with. But, that too was a reminder of the times I’ve been on the trail and it was good sweatin’ weather. Since the ride back to Sacramento was heading downstream, I figure I got a ride down memory lane, too.

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