Spring Break Road Trip

March 23, 2015

Did a bit o’ college touring today, what, with it being Spring Break and all.

For the first time in the history of the universe, Davis High’s break coincides with UCD’s and apparently UC Berkelely’s and San Francisco State’s. So, like, nobody was around. Depending on your point of view, that was either a good thing and a perfect time to explore a college campus, or a bummer. I, myself, was a bit bummed, as Berkeley was lacking its usual crazy energy and Peter had a hard time imagining Berkeley was anything but a serene, quiet place for serious studying. No bullhorns, no gauntlet of religious and political tables on Sproul Plaza to get through, no vendors on Telegraph…. just the occasional jogger and an utterly quiet campus.

Still? We had a blast.

I was in heaven from the moment we pulled out of the driveway; a whole day hanging with Peter, who, when way out of his element, is totally solicitous and on his best and most grown up behavior. We talked and talked and he listened and I didn’t lecture or preach.. because he listened, and we actually conversed. Loved it.

The day was smooth and easy. Easy parking, easy to find bathrooms as needed, easy to find a good place to eat, easy to get around, get questions answered, find what we were looking for, go to the top of things, you know. Nice.

Here are some shots:

Entering campus from the Telegraph side.. through a very quiet Sproul Plaza and Sather Gate:


The redwoods and eucalyptus are so beautiful here:


We covered most of the main part of campus, zig zagging around most of the buildings, then headed across the street (Gayley Rd or Piedmont Ave, not sure what it’s called there) to the new stadium:


Peter really loved this part. Wandered a little inside, where the UC Berkeley Athlete Hall of Fame photos hang. He actually looked for a couple of athletes whose names he knew. Huh. We also saw lots of studs hanging out inside as well..there’s a cafeteria of sorts inside. Pretty nice facility.

Then headed over to find the physics building…and while in that area decided to go to the top of this:


Which was EXTREMELY cool. In all my years of looking at the Campanile–using it as a landmark for sailing, locating Berkeley from all over the Bay Area–it was awesome to go inside, and up! Here are the bells, which typically go off three times a day (we arrived literally seconds after they’d sounded at noon.. would have been great to be at the top for that!):


Here’s a view west and a bit south:


Here is a view of LaConte and Birge Halls… the physics complex, adjacent to the Campanile… Peter was most interested in seeing this department:


Inside Birge Hall is a bust of this guy (Peter wanted me to take a picture of him next to it.. which I did.. but it’s on his phone):


We also hung out at the baseball stadium and track… here is some baseball art, a bat carved right out of the stump on which it stands: Pretty neato.


After a great lunch of pastrami and BLT sandwiches and cookies at a place on Bancroft, we decided to head over to SF State:


It was a lovely campus… I’d never been there, nor had I been in that area of the city, quite… so that was fun. We spent far less time there, but found a neat building (the Cesar Chavez Student Center) with exterior stairs that sort of served as an architectural feature, kind of like a Mayan pyramid, so we climbed that for a great overall view of the campus:


I found this picture of the student center on the web, since mine didn’t come out. This one’s blurry, as well, and it’s hard to appreciate the cleverness of the building. There were actually a lot of really interesting buildings around; I was impressed.

SF State

So… tours of two Bay Area universities. Productive outing, I’d say.

The truth is, Berkeley’s way out of reach for Peter, at least as an undergrad, and he has no real interest in SF State. But we figure it’s all good data for later processing; it helps him think about what appeals and what he’s looking for. It’s all context.

Plus, it gives me a lot of time to spend with him.

In order to avoid I-80 rush hour traffic, we returned home over the Golden Gate…


…through Marin, Napa and over the mountain to Berryessa…


It was traffic-free for sure, and really pretty and green… but took longer.


I had been wanting to get up in the hills outside of Winters for a few weeks now, having heard the wildflowers were going nuts out there. The hills are lush and we saw some pretty good lupin action.. as well as some other purply and yellow flowers:


Very green hills..



And maybe because of the rain last night, the mighty Putah was full and raging.


And a final of Peter, who was patient with all the stops:


Love that boy.

One Response to “Spring Break Road Trip”

  1. What a wonderful day! It is so special to get one-on-one time with our boys. Loved the photos. Went hiking in Guinda the other day and it was so green and yes, LOTS of wildflowers!

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