I just got back from a 35-minute walk around downtown San Jose, Calif., including a 1-km stretch of the Guadalupe River trail. My Garmin track gives you hints about how it went, particularly the 300 meters or so along the river under multiple overpasses including the California 87 freeway. And in fairness, it's sunny and 13°C, which doesn't suck for the first day of winter.
That said, this is the place where I joined the trail:
And this is the 87 underpass:
Not shown above, the homeless man launching large rocks onto the bike path, who only stopped when he finally made eye contact with me, which I didn't break until a support column broke it for me. And let me tell you, that eye contact had behind it every single one of my 30+ years of living in New York City and Chicago.
I mean, there are worse places to be homeless than in the Bay Area. But my 30-minute walk through multiple homeless encampments and god-awful car-centric urban infrastructure brought clarity to arguments I've read about California's housing and property-tax policies. For the most progressive state in the union, California has the worst land use. The Bay Area has a huge homeless population only in small part due to the weather. I walked past a 3-bedroom, 163 m² house 25 minutes from downtown San Jose last night, for sale at $1.8 million. A comparable house in my neighborhood would cost about $900k, and it's a 15-minute train ride to the Loop in one of the most walkable places in the world. (The $1.8-million house is just not walkable.)
One more thing. My Clipper Card has $3.05 on it, down from $20 yesterday because it took two trains to get from SFO Airport to San Jose (still much better than renting a car!). But I thought ahead, and set to auto-reload when it goes below $10. Did you know that it takes at least 24 hours to reload a Clipper Card? So I must ask the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, what the hell is the point of the auto-reload feature if it allows the Clipper Card to bottom out, forcing you to reload at a kiosk while waiting for the f****g auto-reload?
The MTC claims "[i]f you set up Auto-Reload for cash value, when your balance falls below $10, Clipper will automatically reload you card when you pay your next fare," but will it happen today? I guess I'll find out when I go to lunch later.
Unrelated: My Garmin watch said I got eight hours of "poor, non-restorative" sleep last night, and "you may feel more tired or irritable today." Nah, I'm fine.
Tomorrow I have a quick trip to the Bay Area to see family. I expect I will not only continue posting normally, but I will also research at least two Brews & Choos Special Stops while there. Exciting stuff.
And because we live in exciting times:
Finally, if you're in Chicago tonight around 6pm, tune into WFMT 98.7 FM. They're putting the Apollo Chorus performance at Holy Name Cathedral in their holiday preview. Cool! (And tickets are still available.)
As planned, my urban-hiking friend and I walked just under 21 km for four beers. She timed the entire trip, and I timed each segment, so we know that the total was 3:24:55 over 20.73 km, just about where we expected to be:
(Note that she uses the obsolete Imperial system of measurements and I use the International system, so the lap markers on her track are miles. Ugh.)
Her Garmin course isn't public, but mine are:
We had a really good day. The temperature stayed right around 10°C, so it felt a little cooler when the sun went down, but by that point we'd just arrived at Temperance.
If Metropolitan were staying open, and if Alarmist were anywhere near a train station, I'd rate them both "Would Go Back" in the Brews & Choos List. Alas.
Metropolitan has a beautiful taproom and patio right on the river:
And Alarmist has some delicious beers:
For part of the trip we walked along the Weber Spur Trail, a relatively recent and not-yet-improved former rail line through the Sauganash neighborhood:
Today I felt a bit tired, but in a good way. We did have one extra beer at Sketchbook, but we got 10-ounce pours where available, and we shared the flight pictured above (and the extra 5-ounce pour not shown).
So what's next? Holidays, unfortunately. But we're hoping for a very mild El Niño winter this year, so we might do another beer hike sooner than one might think.
This may be the last warm (enough) weekend of 2023, so once more, I'm planning to go for a long walk. This time we plan to start at Metropolitan Brewing, which will close for good in 5 weeks. We then proceed up the river to Burning Bush, thence 8.5 km northwest to Alarmist, thence 7.5 km northeast to Temperance in Evanston. At that point we'll either head north to Double Clutch (2.4 km), or east to Sketchbook (2.7 km). Both Double Clutch and Sketchbook are along the Metra line that goes right past my house, so that's easy enough.
None of these will get a new Brews & Choos review, though. Even if Metropolitan weren't closing, it's too far from a train station (1.8 km from Belmont); so is Alarmist (2.7 km from Forest Glen). Sketchbook and Burning Bush are both on my Top 10 list, and Temperance and Double Clutch already have "would go back" ratings. But my walking buddy hasn't been to any of them except Sketchbook. So I'm game to go back.
I plan to get a couple of Brews & Choos visits over the next two weekends: next Friday or Saturday in Chicago, and the following week in the Bay Area.
Walk highlights and photos tomorrow or Tuesday. New reviews soon.
I did a thing yesterday:
Yes, the pizza at Barnaby's in Northbrook, Ill., is really that good.
Today will be a bit lighter.
My Garmin Venu 3 continues to impress me. First, its navigation accuracy averages within less than 2 meters, meaning you can see on my activity tracks when I dip into an alley to drop off Cassie's latest offering.
Second, its battery life rocks. I'm charging it right now after it last got to 100% around noon last Friday. When I connected its charger 45 minutes ago it had dwindled to 7%. That equates to just over 15 percentage points per day, or a full discharge in 6½ days. My old Venu 2 could barely manage 48 hours towards the end. This is with full GPS/Glonass/Galileo tracking on walks and pulse O2 measurement overnight. I'll do a long (20 km) walk soon to see how much it burns when tracking activities.
Perhaps that'll be this weekend. Saturday, weather permitting, I plan to take the special Heritage Corridor Brewery Train (not making this up) to visit the two breweries in Lockport. Sunday, weather permitting, I plan to do nothing of value.
My 3+-year-old Garmin Venu 2 Plus has about 40 hours of battery life and doesn't have a host of features that Garmin has developed since I got it. So, voilà, a Garmin Venu 3 appeared yesterday:
I'm still testing it out, but so far it's demonstrably better than the 2 Plus. For one thing, it came out of the box last night at 80% battery, and 20 hours later it's at...70%. And overnight, it analyzed a lot more about my sleep than the older watch ever could.
Possibly next I will get a Fenix. I understand there's a new navigation chipset coming out next spring...
I did it again:
Of my three attempts to do this (2020, 2021, and 2022), this was 3rd best. Considering that last year I didn't even make it out of Evanston, it wasn't really that bad:
So even though yesterday's marathon time was 21 minutes longer than 2020 and 25 minutes longer than 2021, at least I finished. But why so slow (other than I'm getting older)?
Some clues: in 2020 and 2021, I got about 8¼ hours of sleep the night before; yesterday I woke up after only 7¼ hours of sleep. In 2020 and 2021, I started the day with Garmin Body Battery scores of 93 and 84 respectively; in 2022, it was 49, and yesterday, 67. More relevantly, as my walking partner (who does Ironman races and so never crested a heart rate of 125) pointed out, in 2020 and 2021 I actually trained for it.
Another trivium. I have a 3-year-old Garmin Venu 2, and my walking partner wore an newer Garmin Forerunner 265S and an older Forerunner 935. The 935 uses GPS only. The 265 has a dual-band chip that "intelligently" switches between GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS. My Venu 2 can use any of the three navigation satellite systems, but I had it set to GPS+GLONASS. We walked the same course at the same pace, and except for a few minutes when our watches were all paused, we were never more than 2 meters from each other, and we recorded total course times within a few seconds entirely attributable to imprecision in starting the timers.
Yet somehow, my Venu 2 logged 44.45 km (27.63 mi) for the entire walk, while hers got 43.80 km (27.22 mi) and 43.73 km (27.18 mi) respectively. There is no possibility that I walked 725 meters—almost four Chicago city blocks—farther than she did. So later this weekend, we're going to dig into the track files to figure out where I got the extra half-mile.
Regardless, the weather was about the same this year as in 2020, meaning really gorgeous:
Yes, I'm going to do it again next September. But I'll also do a few other walks next summer to prepare. And my walking partner and I plan a hike on the North Branch Trail in Ocotober that ends not with a brewery but with pizza.
Meteorological autumn begins at midnight local time, even though today's autumn-like temperatures will give way to summer heat for a few days starting Saturday. Tomorrow I will once again attempt the 42-kilometer walk from Cassie's daycare to Lake Bluff. Will I go 3-for-4 or .500? Tune in Saturday morning to find out.
- Quinta Jurecic foresees some problems with the overlapping XPOTUS criminal trials next year, not least of which is looking for a judicial solution to a political problem.
- Even though I prefer them to rabbits, even I can see that Chicago has a rat problem.
- Pilot Patrick Smith laments the endless noise in most airport terminals, but praises Schiphol for its quiet. (Yet another reason to emigrate?)
Finally, it seems like anyone with a valid credit card number (their own or someone else's) can track the owner of that credit card on the New York City subway. I wonder how the MTA will plug that particular hole?
This is why I won't get 10,000 steps today:
I'm still at 84,000 steps over the past 7 days, though.
Still, even though it's cool enough to have all the windows open, and none of the rain seems to be blowing in, I'd still rather have gotten all my steps today. Cassie, for her part, got over 4 hours of walks this past weekend, so she seems fine with it. She doesn't like the rain any more than I do.