$98 (two nights): Del Valle Regional Park, Livermore, CA
Sometimes when you revisit a childhood haunt, it seems smaller. Shabbier. Less significant than you had thought.
But sometimes, it only confirms and enhances your fond memory of it. Even the drive into Del Valle – a long steep hill into a cell-signal-less valley and reservoir. That’s Livermore in the distance.
As a teen, I used to bicycle up this hill, sometimes in 90-degree (dry) heat. When I was a high school senior, we drove up here, hopped a barbed-wire fence, and watched July 4th fireworks from all over the east bay from the top of a brown grassy hilltop.
And the campground is much-improved. Running water! Electric and sewer hook-ups!
And quiet, dark, wind-free night skies like this.
The next morning, I walked around the reservoir.
Like I said, it only reminded me how lucky I was to grow up here. Cows lowing in the distance. Gangs of wild turkeys making it clear that this is their turf.
I picked my nephew up at the airport for a ~6-night trip to Colorado. But first, I had to show him the longest burning lightbulb at the fire station. One of Livermore’s most fun claims to fame.
As you can see, there’s a web-cam on to keep us honest. And a battery back-up.
If the firemen at the East Avenue Fire Station #6 are tired of giving a tour, they don’t show it. Both times I’ve gone around sunset, walked in the back door, and they’ve been happy to show the bulb. If you go, sign the guest book.
Livermore has more than doubled its population since I was born (~38,000 in 1971). But it still has much of its small-town charm.
I had a visit and dinner with my middle school music teacher. The one whose students in P.E. class convinced me that since I read music, and was tall, that I should play bass – even though it was mid-year. She and her husband (the high school science teacher) invited their grandson over. He goes to the same middle school I did, and plays bass. The music program is once again strong, and there are lots of opportunities for young musicians.
It’s good to know that there are still kids in Livermore who have the opportunity to put their bass into a tiny car, without even a cover (while their brother looks on, amused)…
…to practice at home…
..and maybe make it their career, still playing 35 years later.