Monday, October 11, 2010

Hidden Treasure

So my battery died(again) in my ancient Camry. Hey, the thing is pushing 235k miles, what do you expect? That car will last forever, and yes I know, I am not helping the economic recovery by holding onto a 17 year old car.
Anyway, the damn battery dies and I was away from home so I called AAA to jump the thing. I know, or have heard..or maybe saw it on the internet, that you are supposed to drive around for about 20 minutes after jumping the battery to "recharge" it. I decided I'd head out to Pt. Molate since I'd always seen the sign for that place and had never been out there. Well, the damn park is money (surprise) so I kept driving back around that area to see what I would see.
If you are not familiar with the area, it runs long the Bay on the other side of the Standard oil refinery. There is a strange mixture of government owned land/buildings and Refinery owned land, both with their own variety of signs admonishing you to stay the hell away from everything and don't drive down this dirt road and keep off that building, etc. Just the place where you want to wander around and explore old buildings and weird-looking industrial things.
Only, I saw a nice, paved road with a sign saying "Rifle and Pistol Range"...Hurray thought I, maybe I can stop by here some time and blast a few targets. I drive up the road and there's a guard shack with an old guy in it. He looks at me dubiously and when I tell him that I'd never been out this way, he says half-joking, 'So you're lost". I try to tell him about the battery and the recharging, but it starts to sound like the bad alibi of a suspected thief, so I switch gears and ask if the range is open to the public. He tells me it's not and allows me to pull a U turn in the lot by his shack.

After I got home, I had this nagging feeling...I really wanted to know how or why there was a shooting range in what looked like the Refinery. What to do? Oh, well of course, Google! They know everything...everything. They're like benevolent Gestapo. Sure they pry into every part of your life and know all about you, but look how smart and hip and young and cool they are! What's that? The cell on the right is mine? OK, no need to shove.

Where was I? Oh yeah, what lay over that hill past the Guard Shack I needed to know. Off I went to Google Earth and lo and behold, not only was there a shooting range, there was a pool, tennis courts, barbecues and a playground! Check out the shot below...I love this stuff. This hidden treasure..a little oasis in the shadow of the hulking, stinking refinery. Of course, it's off limits to you and me(unless you work for Chevron), but thanks to the magic of Google Earth, you can see it all. Almost. We need to get a Street View Car down there...

You can see the magical oasis here: (Click to enbiggen it!)

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