A colorful co-op + a ferry ride to Alameda


Today was eventful!

My Servas host Susan had told me yesterday about a worker-owned cooperative grocery store not too far from her, called Rainbow Grocery. I wanted to go take a look.

On the ride over, I stopped at an alterations-and-dry-cleaning shop in the neighborhood that had recently opened. The man inside seemed to be already doing a brisk business. He said he could mend my pants (for $10, which I’m very happy to pay) but they wouldn’t be ready for a full week. I hesitated, not wanting to wait that long, and actually said no and left the shop. But then I stood out on the sidewalk and looked at my phone’s calendar. I wouldn’t be back in San Francisco for exactly a week, as it turned out. And who knows what kind of luck or wait times I might find at other area tailors. I decided to go for it, and dropped off the pants. My leggings and cycling skort will have to suffice for the next week, in the east bay!

Then I biked over to Rainbow. On the way, right next to a Whole Foods tucked into the hilly neighborhood, what should I see but a Next Level Burger! This is an all vegan burger chain founded and based in Bend, Oregon. I have one in my southeast Portland neighborhood. But I had had no idea they had expanded to San Francisco, and I hadn’t noticed them on my Happycow vegan app. I didn’t need to stop, but it was a fun little hit of home to see it.

I arrived at Rainbow—situated right under a sky-blue-painted overpass—and was so glad to experience it! It is an old-timey co-op, but also very large and modern-looking. The selection was incredible; I saw a number of items I’d never encountered before.

After buying a few things, I pedaled back to Susan’s place to put together my rig and prepare to cross the bay to the island of Alameda. You can see from the photo of the houses across the street from her just how steep that hill is. (That’s not even the steepest section of it.) It took some doing for me to figure out how to reassemble my rig without it rolling down the hill without me, but I eventually managed.

I took a route slightly longer than Google maps suggested, because there was no way I could maneuver my bike up that steep hill, so I went around to gentler slopes on other streets. It was a pleasant ride along the waterfront to reach the ferry dock. The ferry ride took about 45 minutes; we stopped first at Oakland, then Alameda. It took about half an hour for me to ride to my Alameda Servas hosts’ house, on very flat and pleasant streets. I was greeted enthusiastically by their energetic pit bull, as well as the human occupants of the house, who have many varied interests and travel experiences. We had a wonderful dinner of curried lentils and various roasted vegetables.

I had chosen to stay in Alameda because I have an online friend—whom I haven’t met in person yet—who I believed lived here, and we were going to go on a bike ride together tomorrow. We spoke tonight, though, and I had completely misunderstood: she lives in San Francisco, right near Golden Gate Park! Doh! I’m hoping we can either meet up tomorrow in a “central” place like maybe Oakland—or heck, even here in Alameda—or perhaps I could stay another night in San Francisco in a week, if I can find a place near the park. (Possibly I can stay with one of the two Warmshowers hosts I stayed with near there a few days ago.) I’m sure something will work out, one way or another. I would like to explore more of Golden Gate Park, since I only experienced a fraction of it.

Meanwhile, my wonderful friend (who I also haven’t met yet) Mimi (hi, Mimi!) has been helping me to find lodging here on the east side of the bay for the next few days, since my original hosts ended up falling through. It is such a puzzle sometimes to work out my lodging, but with many wonderful human and group resources, I can remind myself to treat it as a sort of game, and then it becomes a fun adventure.

Tomorrow I plan to go to an Alameda bike shop to see how my bike is holding up. (There is a rusty part I want to check on.) I’m glad there are several Brompton dealers in the Bay Area.

But now, I need to sleep!

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