I had known for some time that the area just past Martinez would be a problem. Looking at it from the train, it was evident that there was little space between the tracks and the fences of the oil refineries. And like I've said before, safety is number one on this project. (This also means that I don't go down to the tracks at night, and as a result I certainly miss an important part of the life that goes on there.)
In any case, I figured we'd walk out of Martinez as far as we could. Like in many cities, the tracks are fenced off in the area around the tracks for public safety. But if you're willing to walk just a little bit farther, in this case a few blocks, the chain-link fence abruptly ends, and you're in:
[btw, I thought I had taken care of the "blue" setting on my camera, but evidently I didn't. Sorry.]
But like I said, it was hard to go much further without getting in a sorta' pinched spot on the tracks. No thank you. So we turned around and headed to some park land on the bay. From that distance, you can see just how close the refineries stand to people's homes:
(Local photographer Daniel Cheek has done some work on this topic. I am trying to recruit him to be part of the RAIL show. More on that later.)
[A word on research companeros. Evan has a pretty non-traditional work schedule, which makes him a great walking partner. I had stated (here? in a term paper?) that it is important to get different points of view and take out different walking partners. I stand by that. However, there is also something to be said for getting the work done. This is an interesting problem in research, which I would call "things not going as planned." Turns out it's pretty common.]
From a distance, we also got a pretty good view of the bridge. It's hard to tell in this picture, but there are actually 2 bridges, one for cars and one (a drawbridge!) for the trains. That's the rustier one.
I won't be allowed to walk on that bridge. If the project were an attempt to get to school from home by walking, I'd have to go back to Crockett and take the bridge to Vallejo.
We spent the rest of the afternoon watching bikers play on the Martinez skate park cement, and meeting with local artist Sally Rodriguez. She gave us some good insights about the city of Martinez, and agreed to be part of the art project! Check out the next post for more.