Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake * 5:12 AM - April 18, 1906

Every part of Marin seemed to sparkle like gemstones last Sunday. Usually the light from noon-3pm washes everything out, the colors get flat and dry. Not on Sunday. The sky was very very blue all day long and the landscape reminded me of France in the summer, with every shade of green imaginable put to good use. Olives to acid to red greens.

One of my teammates pointed to the grass on the hills which appeared to be 'swirling' from the wind. It was a day during which I enjoyed looking at the landscape and the changes of the road. I felt like I experienced a valley and wondered whether the road on which I was riding had once been a stream or well worn path from travelers in the distance past. I looked forward to where the road would rise and we would ride over the hills that I could see in the distance.

Springtime #marin #northerncalifornia #aidslifecycle #teamunpopular

We took our turn from the Point Reyes Petaluma road onto Nicassio Valley, then turned left into Rancho Nicassio.

  Nicassio

I went into the store there to see about getting a salty snack. The charming man at the counter asked another passing cyclists about her ride, and she told him that she had just finished. He asked me about our ride and I answered that we had been through Point Reyes Station and we were on the way back to the city. While paying for my snack, he showed me a book that had had a pot of coffee spilled onto it but that he could not bare to throw away because it contained stories written about San Francisco.

He asked me if I had time for one of them and preceded to read me a story, written by Jack London, about the San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fire of 1906.

Jack London wandered around the city taking notes about what was happening as the fire spread. I was captivated by this southern gentleman reading to me about the desperate folks hauling trunks full of all their belongings from neighborhood to neighborhood trying to escape the fire. Some workers buried their trunks. Refugees had gathered in 'the grass' of Union Square because it had been deemed a safe place, until the fire banked the square on three sides. An employee from a hotel had been tasks with numerous trunks from guests and was looking to pay $1000 for horses and a cart to get them to safety. There were no horses for hire.

He read to me for about ten minutes. I am very grateful to my fellow southerner for reading me a wonderful story out in the middle of glorious green rolling hills.

Normally, the stretch of Nicassio Vally road back to Sir Francis Drake sucks my very soul dry of all happy thoughts. I don't like it. It goes up and down over and over and it doesn't make any sense. But this time it felt different.
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