No Carbon Footprint Series: Do You Know the Way from San Jose? (Day 1)

Most of you know the way along 101 or 280. But most likely not the way we are coming. This week we are walking from San Jose to San Francisco–a mere 48 miles over a few days’ time.

For the past few years we have gone out the door (literally) and walked to Napa, California and two ways to San Jose–south along the east side of the Bay and along the Peninsula. This time we are going in reverse order from San Jose Downtown to San Francisco north along El Camino Real.

Many of you know us as urban walkers, and who enjoy the “slow” version of transportation. We see the small businesses stringing El Camino strip malls. Their parking lots serve nail salons, ethnic fast food take-outs, specialty music shops, and mid-range companies (vs. start-ups), that all pay their rent, bills, and struggle to stay in the economy.

The first time I started this wacky way of walking, I was on a weekend trip from Hong Kong to Honolulu about to take my first professional architectural licensing exam. Perched in Manoa Heights at a friend’s home, I had made plans to meet my friend Downtown for lunch. When I missed the bus, I discovered that the next one would not be for another hour! I glanced down the hill and determined that it wouldn’t be too difficult to walk instead. A three-mile walk is a breeze today, but in those days NO ONE walked outside their houses. Especially in Honolulu.

I was used to being without a car in Hong Kong for seven years, so it seemed rather natural. The look on my friend’s face must have been priceless when I told her that I would be a little late and why. She thought I was…well, wacko. So that’s how I coined myself the crazy lady ever since.

Nevertheless, we are keeping up the crazy lady walks. We came to San Jose for a performance, and despite the holidays being around the corner, we had the time to walk back to San Francisco, so why not?

For a few starters, we passed the Old Frank Lloyd Wright Building and the Rosecrucian Museum on the way towards Santa Clara University.

The weather is clear and crisp (above frost level today). The lovely neighborhoods we walked through included tidy pre-war bungalows and 60’s ranch subdivisions, all proudly displaying their Christmas decorations and embarrassingly beautiful citrus trees reminiscent of the region’s agricultural legacy.

San Jose, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale are in the heart of Silicon Valley and dead flat with paved sidewalks along the entire stretch to San Francisco. Walking 10 miles a day is a no brainer, with plenty of food and lodging establishments along the way.

Can you guess what we saw? Here’s the curtain call:


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