Redwood Valley Railway in Tilden Park

On Saturday, J and I braved life and limb to ride my rusting Vespa across the Bay Bridge to the East Bay. Highway speed, grooved pavement, and buffeting winds made an unpleasant combination.

But I like to think of myself as a rolling advertisement for the scooter lifestyle. When the wind-shielded family in their SUV stared with surprise, hopefully they saw me as more than future roadkill. Hopefully, they saw me as an effeminate emissary for the future of transportation.

Our first stop was the carbohydrate rich pizza from The Cheeseboard in Berkeley. We arrived before the restaurant opened, and stupidly thought a pre-made pizza from the bakery annex would be good enough.

It wasn’t.

We were fools.

Luckily, a homeless man was nearby to take our failure. We wiped the oil on our fat, well-fed bellies and got in line for fresh pizza. Better pizza.

From there, we drove up into the hills to Tilden Regional Park, a massive 2,000 acre space between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge.

Deep within the edge of the park, an amazing ride hid amongst the trees. Without the numerous arrowed signs and blaring steam horn, it might never be found.

Redwood Valley Railway is a miniature railway. But unlike narrow gauge ripoffs like the SF Zoo, this train passes though beautiful scenery for 12 minutes and costs a reasonable $3 per person.

Insider tip: For $300, you can get a pack of 100 ride tickets.

Here’s a quick video I threw together:

These aren’t animal tracks.


Little Number 7.

The train conductors.

Into the woods.

And the train conductor says, “Take a break, Driver 8.”

Big boys, little depot.

Approaching the station after 12 minutes of bliss.

In the same grounds, even smaller trains were enjoyed by a club of enthusiasts. Old men tinkered with real miniature steam engines, chatted about parts, and rode on the super narrow gauge tracks winding around the facility. It was both hilarious and touching.


Crazy Hair inspects fuel car.


Come on ride the family train.


Stoking the fire.



Still fat on pizza, J and I hiked down to and around Lake Anza. Thriving poison oak made our path precise.

Poison oak forest.

Lake Anza.

Cover for The Roots’s new album.

J and her sack of pastries.

The return ride was windy and scary. My head was whacked around and the adrenaline flowed.

It was time to go home to rest and fight the zombie apocalypse.

Archives for September, 2011
September 12th, 2011. Categories / Bay Area

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