Tag Archives: Pokemon Go

Pokewalk No. 2: Rockridge BART and College Avenue

Chabot Avenue

Chabot Road offers idiosyncratic landscaping and a variety of architectural styles.

This walk sets you a challenge: Are you primarily interested in walking or gaming?

From the starting point at the Rockridge BART station escalator, you can see 38 Pokestops and five gyms. College Avenue is basically a sea of swirling blue cubes. If you want to get a workout, choose your pause points before you start, then grit your teeth and walk past the rest.

An advantage is the frequency of sidewalk benches that allow you to hunt without blocking foot traffic or looking obviously deranged. I picked a Sunday morning for this walk, which is a relatively quiet time on this busy commercial corridor.

MapHead north, past the Firestorm Community Mural and Chabot Middle School. You’ll pass the Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream factory and College Avenue Presbyterian Church, designed by Julia Morgan and built in 1917. One of my favorite buildings in this neighborhood is the Claremont Day Nursery, a tiny Spanish Revival dollhouse with a distinctively old-school sign.

At the Claremont Diner, turn left down Claremont Avenue, then take a sharp left to go up Chabot Road. This street offers a menu of idiosyncratic landscaping and different East Bay architectural styles.

After you cross College Avenue, you’ll pass St. Albert’s College, a brick seminary with an extensive garden. If you have time and energy, it’s worth extending your walk farther into this neighborhood.

If you want to keep catching Pokemon, you’ll want to turn right on Presley Way, then back down Miles Avenue. It’s worth stepping into the BART parking lot to appreciate the deep space mural painted by Vista College students. But also note the Mid-Century Modern fire station immediately behind the middle school.

Cross under the BART station and make a quick loop by turning right on Forest Street and right on Shafter Avenue. You’ll pass several possibilities for coffee or breakfast as you head back to your starting point.

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What’s so bad about Pokewalking?

Sausal Creek, Dimond Park

There is a Pokemon in the middle of this creek, which used to be under a culvert. Maybe dont tell your kids about this one?

OK, it’s a fad, and OK, some people aren’t using good sense about where and how they play.

But Pokemon GO is also making me look at my neighborhood in new ways.

I walked two miles this morning, visited 16 Pokestops, faced defeat in two gyms and caught eight Pokemon.

I also saw a hummingbird, heard a red-tailed hawk, searched for fingerling trout, enjoyed several murals, checked the titles in a Little Free Library and found a church I had forgotten existed.

I felt nostalgic about Pokestop landmarks that have already changed: the little fire truck in Dimond Park that has been replaced with a brand-new tot lot, the hand-painted stars that used to decorate the fence around the old Blockbuster store, now demolished to its concrete pad. Even my favorite Chinese restaurant, closed for many months, is honored with a stop labeled “Ocean Temple.” Old-timers have a definite leg up in finding these spots.

This transitory nature of the world can sometimes cause humorous results. The in-game map shows dancing green sparks in the middle of a field in Dimond Park, but that field is now a restored section of Sausal Creek. It seems unlikely you’ll catch them all without getting your feet wet.

Nothing forces you to keep your face in your phone while hunting Pokemon. If you are familiar with the area, it’s easy to check what the Pokestop landmarks are before you set out and put your device back in your pocket till you get there. Don’t worry, it will vibrate when you pass a Pokemon.

DimondPokewalkStart this Pokewalk at Fruitvale Avenue and Lyman Road, at the brick steps that mark the entrance to Dimond Park. From this point, you should be able to see five gyms and 20 stops. You can plot your own route, but if you want to follow the one I’ve mapped for you, head into the park and downhill toward your left, past the redwood groves. You’ll follow the paved path along Sausal Creek past the Scout Hut, then take a detour to the Recreation Center.

Coming back past Lyons Pool, cross Sausal Creek to Cañon Avenue, a lovely, shaded street winding between neat bungalows. Look for trout in the calm spot to the left of the bridge.

Turn left onto MacArthur and head downhill, turning right onto Dimond Avenue to take a detour past Paws and Claws. Use Bienati Alley to get back to Fruitvale Avenue and the heart of the Dimond shopping district: Farmer Joe’s Market, La Farine, several cafes and markets.

Take Fruitvale back to MacArthur, turn right and right again onto Lincoln, which runs past a swirling blue mosaic and one of Oakland’s old fire houses. Go left and uphill on Champion at the firehouse, passing the Dimond Gateway Mural.

You can cut your walk to two miles by continuing uphill on Lincoln, rejoining my route at Sequoia School. Or go right and walk along MacArthur to Bret Harte Middle School, enjoying several mosaic murals on your way.

Head uphill on Coolidge Avenue, left on Madeline, left on Laguna and right on Scenic, through another neighborhood of modest but well-maintained bungalows. You’ll know you’re near Sequoia School when you pass the playground and another colorful mosaic mural.

Go uphill a block to Wilbur Avenue, then sharply downhill on Wilbur to Whittle Avenue, already described in this blog. Whittle will return you safely to Dimond Park.

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