USA Day 5 – Palo Alto

Saturday 24 December 2022

No blog yesterday as I have been laid low with flu for the past couple of days. The others went to San Jose and I really wanted to go with them, but once I got out of bed, I started shivering violently and couldn’t stop. So daughter no 2 sent me back to bed with an abundance of tangerine juice and I had to admit defeat.

However, this morning is parkrun day and I am determined to drag myself from a sea of snotty tissues and make it to Byxbee Park.

Byxbee Park

Byxbee Park, on the outskirts of Palo Alto, is on the shore of San Francisco Bay. It is constructed over a former landfill site and consists of trails along the shore line plus some manmade hills with public art which look like someone got hold of a job lot of telegraph poles and couldn’t think of anything better to do with them than plonk them on a hillside.

Byxbee Park

Byxbee Parkrun

Byxbee parkrun takes place in Byxbee Park every Saturday at 8 am. It consists of two out-and-back loops along Creek Loop Trail. As you run along the shoreline, you can spot waterfowl and other wildlife aplenty. Once I actually overtook a hare by the finish line proving that I really am the tortoise.

Byxbee parkrun

It’s a very friendly, mostly expat affair. Parkrun hasn’t really caught on among Americans (they appear to be suspicious of anything free) so the runners are usually a mixture of Brits, Australians, Germans – every nationality except American.

Bayland sunrise

This morning we are volunteering. I am car park marshal, daughter no 2 is doing the first timers’ briefing and the old man (and Mariah) are tail walking.

Byxbee parkrun

As parkrun takes place earlier here, it’s an early start. I wake to see a woman has broken the world record at Poole this morning. Personally, I’m just pleased to be able to get out of bed, which is more than I managed yesterday.

Byxbee parkrun

Once the onerous duty of car park marshal has been fulfilled (standing in the road holding a sign), we set off on our run. I manage to walk/run for alternate minutes, which is somewhat of an achievement, if probably not a good idea. Not only do I make it to the finish, but I’m almost 20 minutes in front of the tail walkers.

Byxbee parkrun

On the way home, I can’t resist stopping at some OTT Christmas decorations. Check out my baubles!

Giant Baubles

Lunch comes from another of the many restaurants on the downtown Palo Alto strip. This time, from Crepevine. I chose the California crepe. To be honest, I bought it for tea last night and it was so huge I’ve split it over two meals. And there’s still some left…

California crepe from Crepevine

As I have not actually been out of bed for two days, Christmas lunch is not looking good. Not to mention the lack of presents. So in the afternoon, it’s a last minute dash to the shops to buy the ingredients to make a vegetarian Christmas dinner in someone else’s oven, which frankly we haven’t got to grips with. What could go wrong?

Once we have amassed a strange array of ingredients from what’s left on the shelves of Target, the others take Mariah to the dog park while I have a little nap. Not the most successful outing. She manages to stick her head into a can and get her ears covered in engine oil. To make things worse, the front door is left open while we try to clean her, and the robot hoover makes a bid for freedom.

Downtown Palo Alto

In the evening, after a rather interesting sprout based teriyaki stir fry, we take Mariah for one last walk, taking in some of Palo Alto’s Christmas decorations. Downtown is looking very festive with its illuminated trees.

Christmas tree

But my favourite is a house in Addison Avenue which is decorated several times a year. For Christmas they have really gone to town with the lights and poinsettias. There was even a fancy ice sculpture in the garden at one point which hasn’t lasted long in the Californian climate…

Palo Alto Christmas house

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