Oakland

The Central American yogurt oracle has some bad news, Charger fans

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It is a sign from above . . .
It is a sign from above . . . above the cheese and butter section at Super Buy market in San Pedro, Belize.

I have to walk into my local supermarket in San Pedro, Belize, to find the answer to a question that is tearing up my friends back in San Diego: Will the Chargers be moving to Los Angeles?

And there it was, the answer. Right in the dairy section.

Yogurt containers were screaming it out to me:”L.A.! L.A.!” — or, more like “LALA” — but you can see where this is headed.

Yogurt never lies.

The dairy section also confirmed the long-standing rumor that the Oakland Raiders will also moving back to Los Angeles and that the Raiders and Chargers will indeed be sharing a shelf . . . erm . . . a stadium.

Further, the expiration date on these containers is Feb. 16, 2016. I can only say, watch for a significant announcement on that day from the NFL.

Why is there a San Francisco 49ers yogurt container lurking on the edge of this oracle? I can only surmise that it is San Francisco’s compulsive need to be at the center of every discussion in California, whether its presence is relevant or not.

You can almost see the 49ers yogurt container with its flashy gold label screaming “Me! Me! This is a story about me!”

It isn’t 49ers Yogurt, so shut up.

Just the same. I bought the 49ers container.

Why?

Because I love my wife and she is a native San Franciscan and she loves the 49ers. (I’m not a complete fool.)

You may notice that the 49ers container is sweetened yogurt, which we never buy. But there is no way in hell that anything with a Raiders emblem on it is coming into my house — even if it is a  container full of sugar-free yogurt.

I know what your are thinking right now: Why is the Chargers container full of PEACH yogurt?

I can only say this: Did you watch them play this year?

Have fun in LALA, Chargers.

And Raiders.

Shut up, 49ers. No one is talking to you.

Crossing that bridge when we get to it

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The soon-to-be-replaced eastern span of the Bay Bridge. It goes from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island where vehicles travel through a tunnel to the western span and San Francisco.
The soon-to-be-replaced eastern span of the Bay Bridge. It goes from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island where vehicles travel through a tunnel to the western span and San Francisco.

We’ve crossed the old Bay Bridge for the last time.

On Saturday Rose and I drove into San Francisco for the last time on the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. We had dinner with old friends and family at a great little restaurant called Roxy’s Cafe on Mission Street.

Out with the old. In with the new: TThis is an artist's rendering of the new Bay Bridge eastern span, a $8.4 billion work of art. For now. the old span is just to the right. Dismantling of it will be as interesting to watch as construction of the new bridge was.
Out with the old. In with the new: This is an artist’s rendering of the new Bay Bridge eastern span, a $6.4 billion work of art. For now. the old span is just to the right. Dismantling of it will be as interesting to watch as construction of the new bridge was.

When we return from Belize in mid-September the beautiful and long-awaited $6.4 billion replacement bridge will be open to traffic.

We won’t be crossing the old bridge Tuesday night on our way to San Francisco International Airport. We’ve decided to take the subway, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), from Walnut Creek directly into SFO.

The night after we leave for Belize the old bridge will be shut down completely until Sept. 3 as they connect the new span to the roadway. So glad we won’t be around for that. There are few ways to cross over the bay and none of them are convenient for people who want to get into San Francisco from the East Bay.

Crossing on Saturday  filled us with mixed feelings. The old bridge is, well, old. It opened in 1936. It has two levels — the upper is westbound traffic, headed into San Francisco. The lower level is all eastbound traffic. There is one spot on the eastbound lanes where Rose, a San Francisco native, has to suppress feelings of panic and nausea. It has something to do with the design of the ceiling.

Neither of us can forget the images from the October 1989 earthquake in which whole sections of the bridge surface dropped out, taking vehicles and lives with them.

By contrast, the new bridge is an architectural delight — looking so light and airy as if it could float atop the famous San Francisco fog.

Unlike the western leg of the bridge, from Yerba Buena Island to the city, the new bridge comes with bicycle lanes. Crazy, I know, to essentially have bike lanes only halfway across a span. Perhaps someone will come up with a carrier business to transport bikes and riders from the island to San Francisco.

Anyway, my San Diego friend and former colleague Greg Gross promises to come up to Oakland when the bridge opens and we will cross it together on bikes. Greg is a New Orleans native who grew up in Oakland and is the author of a great  blog “I’m Black and I Travel.”

I guess we’ll pedal over to Yerba Buena Island and back — since the bicycle path won’t connect to the island for some time — then look for a place to have lunch in Oakland. For now, cyclists are jokingly calling the bridge “the longest bike pier in the world.”

Another reason to anticipate the bridge opening is a sense of familial pride: My engineer son, Christopher, was involved in designing some aspects of the bridge. I think he had something to do with the cables.

Eventually the old span will come down and reveal the new one’s true unobstructed beauty. It promises to be as iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge.

We’ll be sorry to miss all the bridge opening hoopla — ironically that is the sort of thing I helped plan for San Diego Association of Governments for a brief time. They loved holding ribbon cuttings for segments of highways, bridges, bike trails …. never a problem to get politicians to the opening of a transportation project!

Closed for repairs: The Ministry of Works is  rehabilitating the Copper Bank/Chunox Ferry in the Corozal district. It will soon closing the larger Pueblo Viejo ferry for repairs.
Out of order: The Belize Ministry of Works is rehabilitating the Copper Bank/Chunox Ferry in Corozal district. The larger Pueblo Viejo ferry is also closing for repairs.

By contrast, there are two small car ferries  across rivers on our way to Corozal in Northern Belize. Both, I hear, are closed for repairs. I look at the humble ferries which move traffic across rivers in Belize and I wonder what that $6.4 billion spent on the Bay bridge could do for transportation in this country.

I guess, for now,  they are non-bridges we’ll have to cross when we get there (and find an alternate route!)

The adventure starts Tuesday night!