Came back home from a trip to Berkeley today - where I'd met Jessica and the boys at Habitot, a children's "activity museum" there - using my GPS, figuring it'd take me out of that fine city and back to Martinez via the fastest route. It took me up north on I-80. (Interesting, that. I just have good memories of driving I-80 back on the "Right Coast" and having seen the "End I-80" shield sign _there_ in Northern NJ as I approached the George Washington Bridge. Haven't seen the opposing one in downtown SF - likely at foot of Oakland-Bay Bridge there - yet tho.)
Anyways. . . . I got off 80 and picked up my State Route 4 a bit farther on and took 4 from 80 for only the second or third time since I've moved here from NY. . . . One of those times was at night and I didn't see much scenery on _that_ passage. Interesting scenery, with lots of hills. 4 - tho it is much, much hillier in that area - reminded me of eastern-side-of-Hudson River NYs Taconic Parkway, with several roads crossing it perpendicularly along the way, rather than forming "on and off ramps."
Giving it some thought, I just got the feeling that even tho State Route 24 (which forms about 2/3 of my normal road "commute" to Oakland/Alameda) is much more crowded with traffic than Route 4, I really enjoy travelling 24 for the fact that I go almost from Heaven almost to Hell (- or vice-versa -), in a sense, a very _good_ sense. . . every time I travel it.
When I am eastbound, coming from James and Jessica's in Alameda and going towards my Martinez home, the view of Mt. Diablo at the eastern end of 24 nearly always stuns me. It "comes up" on the horizon pretty fast, and it changes with the weather, but seems most days to be shrouded in fog or topped by a ring of clouds. . . I took this shot the other day, promising myself I'll only allow the SCENERY to cause me to be distracted in my driving - rather than my snapping photos of it - in the future.
[Whoops. I'm editing this blog posting one more time. Broke my promise to myself already. This is what it looked like on my trip back to Martinez today, Tuesday June 9th, a bright clear sunny day:]
Here's a shot of it - and Route 24 - that I found on the Internet that pretty much is what it looks like on a really clear, crisp day - obviously taken from on or above one of the hills along 24. . . .
In either direction on 24 I have to (of course) go thru one of the four tubes of the Caldecott Tunnel, which cuts thru the very high hills on the east side of Berkeley and Oakland. My favorite one is the newest, Tube Four, just completed in October 2013. . . . This pic "lifted" off the Internet, too. . . .
(Oooooh! I can see a bright white light up ahead! Am I, am I, am I???)
When I'm westbound, heading _towards_ J&J's, I'm always looking across The Bay a very short time after exiting the tube, as I go downhill on 24. . . to see - upon first sighting - what Angel Island, in The Bay to the northeast side of the Golden Gate looks like. It too, is often covered in fog or clouds. Here's another photo that I've cut and pasted from the Internet. I can't seem to find one that does the "live and in-person" image of Angel Island justice and don't want to snap photos of it while driving since that downhill section of the road is a bit more 'challenging' than the section I was on when I snapped the Mt. Diablo photo above. (And besides, I've promised to lay-off that kind of behavior, not wanting to wind up with the namesakes of either place.)
A bit after seeing Angel Island (original name Isla de Los Angeles) as I'm continuing downhill, if the weather is clear enough I can get a glimpse of the GG Bridge and can always see the Oakland/Bay Bridge and the SF skyline.
At the suggestion of Jane Claud, I'm adding the following map, showing my entire route from Martinez to Alameda with the portion that is Route 24 shown by the red line and the points along it at which the views of Angel Island and Mt. Diablo are seen by me shown by the yellow stars. (You can also see, tho I didn't mark it, the alternate route along I-80 from Berkeley up to Pinole, and then across the top of the map via State Route 4, and on to my place in Martinez.) Thanks for the suggestion, Jane!
(To see this more clearly, just *click* on it and it'll show you a "blow-up" of the map. . . .)
I've become convinced that there is _no_ other place in the _world_ that has such a great commute!