The focal point of this journey was about bringing the Bay Trail and its sights, sounds and smells to you. To inform, inspire, and encourage you to explore your own backyard in ways you previously had not imagined – and to do so on public transportation (preferably with a Clipper card), not your car. I had lofty expectations about how this message would be spread and they were exceeded beyond my wildest dreams. The local press found the story compelling and, as a result, the Bay Trail was thrust into millions of living rooms throughout the Bay Area. Mission accomplished. After three-hundred and fourteen miles, thirty days, and over fifteen thousand website page views from twenty two countries on six continents, this journey comes to an end.
The celebration began well before the finish was official. Familiar faces awaited me by McCovey Cove with AT&T Park glimmering behind it in the late morning sun. As I approached the final mile, Bruce Beyaert appeared from the shadows of a pier side warehouse and surprised me from behind. Four outlines that appeared a few hundred yards beyond him were distinctly familiar yet unexpected. As I got closer and they came into focus I noticed that my sister, Diane Bosley, and my nieces Madeline and Julia and nephew Parker, made the drive from Sacramento to surprise me! Just behind them were my mom and sister, Karen Walker, who came in on BART from Walnut Creek. I am assuming she used a Clipper card!
My wife (and proof-reader), Linda, whose support and encouragement propelled me out of bed for thirty consecutive days, walked with me for the first time on my last day with our miniature poodle, Oscar Wilde, in tow. Brenda Kahn from the MTC and friends Kacy, Mel and Karen were on hand to carry me across the finish line should I have an unfortunate accident in the last three miles. And even more supporters – including my dad and Bay Trail Project Manager, Laura Thompson – were waiting at the finish with a congratulatory banner stretched across the sidewalk during a very busy Saturday morning at San Francisco’s Ferry Building. From beginning to end, this trek involved many days alone on the trail and still more with new friends like Carolyn Balling of Team-N-Training, Bay Trail trekker Corinne Debra, and Bruce Beyaert of the Trails for Richmond Action Committee. I didn’t meet any of them until they joined me on the trail but after a few hours of hiking I felt like I had known them for years. Still more people, like Karen Larson, found me mid-hike and made sure I truly experienced such local treasures as the Albany Bulb.
The unsung heroes of my journey are the complete strangers who I have not had the pleasure of meeting in person but who reached out in emails to offer thanks for what I was doing. They got it. They understood. This trek inspired them to the point where they took the time to let me know it – which is a lot in today’s world. That meant the world to me. Seeing those words fueled each day more than all the water, energy bars and bananas I consumed in the past thirty days. Knowing that my journey inspired just one of them, made every mile, every blister, every “mystery pain” worth it.
So what captured my attention during those last three miles of my Bay Trail odyssey besides the celebration? Like the Bay Trail, this short three mile section which includes Mission Bay, the Central Waterfront and the Embarcadero, celebrates new beginnings while embracing the old. UCSF unravels medical mysteries in their new headquarters in Mission Bay. Glass and granite low-rise condominium buildings shine in the sun and enjoy our City’s best weather and bay views. And a bit of old school San Francisco, the Bay View Boat Club, stands vigilant over the water’s edge along Terry Francois Boulevard. With its bright yellow paint, old wooden ships wheel and navy blue trim, this living piece of waterfront history caught my attention. It originated in its namesake neighborhood in 1961, however in 1964 the original site was sold. A work party was formed and the structure was guided down a hill on rollers, placed on a barge and towed to where it now stands at 489 Terry Francois Boulevard. The following is from the Bay View Boat Club’s website (as are the preceding historical facts):
“So, one evening, the boys were whooping it up in a tavern near Hunter’s Point and the salty old sailor tending the bar was carefully scanning the joint. An opinion was formed, an idea spoken – to be juggled from mind to mind; To emerge in the form of a nebulous thought needing naught but space and time. It snowballed along from hand to hand, leaving impressions – taking form, growing and swelling with accumulous thought – in the space of never, a club was born. In the tavern, a charter was placed on the wall to gather in members; “Come one, come all! The more the merrier!” came the joyful cry and the call was answered from far and wide.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. With that I sign off – for now.