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Trip Report Oakland, CA - Anthony Chabot, Oakland Hills, Pacific Pinball, USS Hornet

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Continuing the theme, See More Of My Own Backyard, we spent a weekend in the east bay camping at Anthony Chabot Regional park. http://www.ebparks.org/parks/anthony_chabot

Fri
Arrived at Anthony Chabot campgrounds in the afternoon. It is hard to believe this place is only a few miles from downtown Oakland. The campgrounds are set on a hill of eucalyptus trees. This area was redwood trees but in the 1800's when the reservoir was built they cut them all down and planted eucalyptus trees instead. ????
Set up camp and relaxed. Took a small 3 mile hike down to the lake where I was surprised to find fresh mountain lion tracks. It had rained Tuesday so these tracks were put down sometime shortly after that. After following them a short while I found some deer tracks and a short while later I found the kill site. Some fur and a small bit of blood on leaves and the ground. The cat must have dragged the body away as I found no body or sign of anything being eaten. I have never seen a mountain lion and I have only found tracks a few times. This is the first time I have ever found a kill site and I am surprised to find it here so close to a major US city! A real treat.

Sat
Packed up and drove the hills looking for hiking areas. There was a marksmanship range up there so we stopped in and had a look. It is only so much fun without a anything to shoot but next time.
Anthony Chabot is one park in a bigger park system run by the East Bay Regional Park District. In the hills there are 4 or 5 parks all lined up against each other. We ended up at Tilden park which has more of a urban park feel. Group day use areas, a small lake, a merry-go-round and a small gauge railroad. We went on the merry-go-round for two bucks I believe. The train only four bucks. We didn't have kids with us so we looked a little funny but whatever.
Next we ended up at a park called Sibley Volcanic Regional Park. The Oakland hills were volcanic a long long time ago. Millions of years of erosion and up lifting removed all signs of volcanic activity. But in the 1800's man came and built a quarry and as they dug deeper they exposed more and more volcanic rock. I count geology as a hobby but I had no idea what I was looking at. Still a short 3 mile interpretative hike provided great views of the surrounding area.
Next we ended up at some stables and checked out some great horses. We met a lady there and she let us tag along with her while she fed and groomed and exercised her horse named Harry Potter. Miles and miles of riding trails start from here to the rest of the Oakland Hills.
Last thing we did today was went to the observatory at Chabot Space and Science center. http://www.chabotspace.org/index.htm Fog had rolled in so we were unable to use the telescopes they set up for the public. We did catch the planetarium show and checked out the displays.
Anthony Chabot camp grounds has a 10 PM curfew so we had t be back before they locked us out.
Sun
Slept in, went to Berkley to eat brunch at a place called Felini's. http://www.yelp.com/biz/fellini-berkeley
Food was good.
Drove to Alameda and stopped at Hangar One to pick some of my favorite gin. http://www.yelp.com/biz/st-george-spirits-alameda#query:hangar one
Next hit up the USS Hornet. http://www.uss-hornet.org/
Finally topped off the weekend with a little vintage pinball. http://pacificpinball.org/

Summary
Anthony Chabot campground is a great place to use as a base of operations for seeing the rest of the bay area. The only bummer is the 10PM curfew. If I were from Europe, and I had rented an RV, I would use this place. You can drive the RV down to the BART station and from there you can get to SF. A very economical way to travel. The campsites themselves are rather average. Close together. Camp site 69 is the best. (Isn’t 69 always the best?) Bathrooms are clean. Flush toilets and showers.
The Oakland hills are great. I am surprised I avoided this place so long. It is going into my standard rotation.
My first visit to Alameda was great! The USS Hornet was impressive. The pinball museum was equally so.

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