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Petaluma sights

The expedition to Petaluma was a success. I got to test-row a mid/heavyweight Hudson, and it was comfortable enough that I wanted to keep rowing and rowing. I made myself turn around 3.5k from the dock so the people I was borrowing the boat from wouldn't get too nervous about my disappearance. So now I just have to finagle car rental for next Saturday/Sunday and things should all be in place. Phew. I still have a bajillion logistics to navigate between now and then, but having the boat situation figured out helps tremendously.

After my test-row, I took some time to walk around Petaluma. Here are a few sights.

First, from the San Rafael Transit Center, I observed a pigeon that has figured out how to take advantage of an interesting water supply: the condensation coming off of bus refrigeration units:

Urban ecology: a pigeon finds an unusual water source

It's possible to walk along sections of the Petaluma River, which is quite pleasant. Later on, I picked up a copy of a map of the river from a paddling shop that noted that the river isn't really a river, but tidal estuary. I'm not sure whether that remark is only applicable to the navigable sections, or whether it applies to the entire body of water. I have a hard time imagining much fresh water flowing in that region.

Petaluma sights

Washington was redolent with the fragrance of ripe blackberries. California is redolent with the fragrance of wild fennel. The amount of fennel everywhere is mind-boggling. All of this tall, green, bushy stuff is wild fennel:

Petaluma sights

This old bank building houses the Baker Seed Company shop. We've ridden past it on more than one occasion while in the midst of a brevet with no time to stop. This time, I did stop, and it was as fantastic as you'd expect. I may or may not have purchased a bunch of saffron crocus bulbs and some anise hyssop seeds. They gave me a free packet of carrot seeds, too. The sign behind the lightpost reads, "Save $$, invest in your garden." Great use of space.

Petaluma sights

Eventually, I needed to use the restroom, and found one in a plaza. The restroom looks designed to cater to extreme germophobes. It even had automatic toilet paper dispensers:

Petaluma sights: Automatic toilet paper dispenser

They're about as annoying as you'd expect.

Lastly, while heading towards the paddle shop to learn about kayak rentals in the area, I happened across this humble entryway:

Petaluma sights

A friend of mine has a Bruce Gordon touring bike. The bikes on display inside the shop were beautiful, but I didn't take any photos inside because of some strange social ambiguity (couldn't tell if the shop was really open, or if the door was just open to let in fresh air, and the only person I saw was in another room with his back thoroughly towards the door). Still, cool to literally stumble across the shop.


I have one beef with Petaluma. The town feels like a Stuff White People Like place, full of beer gardens, quilt shops, antiques, and ice cream parlors. I suspect white people like to visit it. In that respect, I find Petaluma utterly uninteresting. I'm still not interested in brunch. It lacks a pulse. But I really, really liked rowing along the Petaluma River, so much that I wish I had a time-lapse camera I could bring along for the marathon row next Sunday.

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