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The 53 Town Pledge:

Cities & Towns

Martinez - Richmond

Last update: February 18, 2021

Martinez 10/20/20 (pop 35,824) Martinez is the Contra Costa County seat, and also home to a large VA hospital. I drove a friend to a series of three appointments there and decided to take in a few towns for my pledge. And what better stop for Martinez than the VA hospital. Not thinking, I was at first surprised at the number of handicap parking spots, but then, oh yeah. It is indeed humbling the sacrifices these people made on my behalf.

Moraga 5/18/20: (pop 16,016) Moraga is host to St. Mary's College. I wanted to see the basketball building (University Credit Union Pavillion) because that's what the school is famous for. Since the 2003-04 season, they've had winning records, and have snuck into the AP top 25 seven times. Right here in my home county and I didn't even know. Of course, the campus was shut down and I couldn't get in, but I got this shot of the front of the campus. Pretty cool.

Orinda 5/18/20 (pop 17,643) Much like the Lafayette Memorial, I'd driven past this landmark theater many times on Highway 24. Unlike the Lafayette Memorial, I'd noticed it. Nice and distinctive, so I thought I'd see it up close and personal. Of course, due to the virus, it's shut down, but there's a small square of which it is a part, and the restaurant is open for take-out.

Oakley 4/12/19: (pop 40,622) Oakley is the easternmost city in Contra Costa County, though four CDPs lie to its east. I drove through the downtown area, stopping in the city administrative offices to fine out where the golf course bearing its name was. I was told there are no golf courses in Oakley. I later found that I was thinking of the Oakhurst course in Clayton, and understandable boo-boo. That's a trip for another day. For now, this is part of the downtown Oakley Civic Center Park. Looks like a good spot for a concert, but one of the posted park rules is "NO EXCESSIVE NOISE or AMPLIFIED SOUND." Dang.

Pittsburg 4/12/19: (pop 70,679) Pittsburg is located in the north of Contra Costa, along the Suisun Bay. I mostly remember it for being the home of the Pittsburg Power Plant, one of PG&E's largest. It's now owned by NRG Energy Inc. The nicer pics are from the bay, but this is a road trip so this will have to do.

Pinole 8/29/19 (pop 18,390) Pinole was the only actual city I visited on this date. As such there are a number of points of interest, but quite by accident I chanced to enter Pinole Shores East Bay Regional Park. Strictly speaking it may not be in the city limits. But at least I went through Pinole to get there. Nice trails and (unlike neighboring Bayview) it has a nice view of the Bay!


Richmond 12/4/20 (pop 103,701) I remember hearing about Rosie the Riveter when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. Rosie was the subject of a WWII song honoring the women who went to work in our plants while the men went to war, plants like the Ford plant in Richmond that built tanks back then. I drove past a sign on the freeway many times for the turnoff to a National Park honoring Rosie and what she represented. A couple of times I tried to find the place. I failed. Now that I've found it, it's closed due to COVID-19. It's the National Park closest to me and I've never seen it. But at least I can find it! 


Pleasant Hill 2/18/21 (pop 33,152) I had a great shot planned, the Cine Arts theater. Though taken over by Century Theaters some time ago, it was a cultural landmark and had won several architectural awards. I didn't know until after I got to Pleasant Hill, was that it had been demolished in 2013. Dang. I wandered into a nearby mall and got lunch, a veggie loaf, at Urban Plates. It's a chain, mostly in Southern Cal, a couple in the Bay Area, and (oddly) 3 in Washington, D.C. It was pretty decent. Service was, well, pleasant.

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