Approach Shots Near Alamo, CA
Not "The Alamo", but Alamo, CA. It would be well worth your while to discover, and then to remember Alamo, CA though, especially if you are a fan of pickleball.
After our visit to Visalia and Sequoia National Park, we drove the short 219 miles to Alamo, CA. Ky and I first met in Silicon Valley 35 years ago. We lived and worked about 40 miles from here, but we had never visited this area. What a magnificent place! Alamo is home to around 15,000 people and it is a suburb of the San Francisco East Bay region, an unincorporated community in Contra Costa County. The median home price is a whopping $1.89 million!
We chose Alamo because of a pet sitting opportunity. In case you haven't read earlier blogs, that is one of our favorite ways to live as nomads. As usual, we were bartering our pet sitting services for a wonderful place to stay with awesome pets. In this case, we were keeping a four year old German Shepard, Stella, a 13 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Molly, and a noble 4 year old cat of unknown lineage named Pippa for a family headed to Scotland. Please send me a message if you want to know more about how we find pet sitting jobs.
We arrived at the family's beautiful home the evening before they were to leave so we could meet them, and we could get to know the pets and their routines.
When we initially posted our road trip plan on the Facebook Pickleball Forum, Carolyn, who I unfortunately never had the chance to meet, invited us to visit Rudgear Park in Walnut Creek. She gave me contacts for both Rudgear and Willow Pass in Concord, and she served as a terrific ambassador for the area even though she had to be out of town while we were there.
Rudgear Park is 12 acres within a lovely community where two tennis courts were intelligently converted to eight outstanding pickleball courts to complement the remaining tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields and play grounds. The pickleball courts are used daily by a devoted and large group of around 300 members (not all there at once of course). During open play hours every morning, there are all levels of play. A white board system for four off / four on is used when the crowd is large, which seems to work quite well. The rest of the day after open play, the courts remain open until dark.
During our 10 days in Alamo, we generally played every day either at Rudgear, or at Willow Pass, which will get its own separate blog soon.
If you are a beginner or visitor showing up without contacting anyone beforehand, it will probably be best to ask some of the friendly regulars how to fit in, and how to find the right level of play for yourself. Don't be intimidated by the many intermediate and advanced players at Rudgear Park. Better yet, connect with them through Facebook before you even hit the courts for a warm welcome. https://www.facebook.com/Walnut-Creek-Pickleball-Club-1543604792618026/
If you are a seasoned denizen of pickleball courts, you will quickly find yourself in a great game. There seems to be quite a lot of serious competitive play for those looking for good matches.
A great swag swap was completed with Lynn, who had a variety of shirts from which to choose, due to her participation in many tournaments. I hope to find someone as sweet in Eureka, CA who wants to be the next swag swapper with me!
One day when it was slated to be 103 degrees in Alamo, the forecast for San Francisco was in the high 70s. We decided to get to the courts early that day and leave after drilling and a couple of games and head towards the cooler city. Ky loaded our bikes on top of our 4Runner and after playing we headed to a little known gem. Destination: Treasure Island. Looking on Google Maps while planning our trip, we discovered the Bay Bridge Trail Parking Lot. It is adjacent to a recently renovated building called the Bridge Yard which is being used as a museum of sorts and for events. It is tucked away in an area that will likely soon be discovered in a big way, but on the day we chose to go, we were the only vehicle parked there!
It was a perfect day for a bike ride to Treasure Island across the Oakland Bay Bridge on the dedicated and separate bike lane. Ky had the opportunity to ride more than I did. Ten minutes in to the bridge ride, I realized that I had left my cell phone on the back bumper of the vehicle while helping to prepare the bikes for riding. He gallantly returned to our vehicle from the spot where I came to a quick halt upon realizing that my phone was not on my person. What a great guy - I am a fortunate woman!
On a day when we both decided that our bodies had had enough pickleball (unfortunately it happens occasionally), we went to visit the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. So much to see and learn!
If you go:
Rudgear Park: VXGF+H4 Walnut Creek, California
Daily Open Play Hours dependent on season, currently 8 am until you're exhausted
We look forward to returning to Alamo for pets and pickleball!
It has been an awesome stay in every way!