Rivers and Roads

___A cross-country swim from Nashville to San Francisco___ May 28 - June 29, 2012

Sloth swimming. Please watch and note the calm (not panic) with which the animal moves through the water. 

Sidecar Jilly: Two years ago, a week ago, a month from now...


A little over two years ago, a few days before we left for Nashville, our friends Jess & Kale came over to say goodbye. They gave us the flower talisman pictured above to watch over us on our big cross country trip east. It still hangs from Ol’ Blue’s rearview now, a bit less pink, but no…

Sidecar Jilly: Ode to the Fog & Ol' Blue


We saw the fog first. Well. I did. Katie was asleep. We were driving home. Off into the sunset. The fog looked like a giant fist up there wrapped around the sun. The pinks and oranges and yellows streaking out from it. I felt giddy. It was familiar. It was new. It was where we were going to stay…

Homecoming. It’s great to be back! Thanks for coming out to AP, friends!

Homecoming. It’s great to be back! Thanks for coming out to AP, friends!

Swim #15 Aquatic Park, San Francisco

Date: Saturday, June 30, 2012

Conditions: Overcast to start, but clearer skies toward the end of the swim. Air temp: 64°F, water temp ~60°F. Visibility ~1 foot, brownish, greenish, gray. Wetsuited.

Crew: Tom swimming along, Jill, Susanna, Shay, Shannon, Tiff, Katie, Zoe on shore

Route: To the pier, to a boat, to the buoy where the bay meets the cove, to the eastern-most swim buoy, to the western-most swim buoy, back to shore. About 35 minutes.

Observations: It’s been almost a week since this swim. A lot has happened. Jill and I are settling into San Francisco and back into our apartment. Our homecoming was happily nothing like Neddy’s in “The Swimmer"— a key was waiting under the mat; our landlord welcomed us back with hugs, beers, and no rent increase (so far); friends were friendly; favorite cafés and restaurants were still open; the sun has been shining, and yet it’s still chilly enough to wear a hoodie. Life is good. 

And the swim! It was glorious. Most of my SF swimming buddies were unavailable for the Saturday morning dip, but Tom Simonite, fellow technology journalist, was able to join. Thanks Tom! Especially since your wetsuit stops half way down your limbs and especially since this was your first Bay swim since your arm fracture! 

So there we were, Aquatic Park on a Saturday morning at the height of triathlon season. There were plenty of other wetsuited swimmers splashing around. Many of them stayed along the buoy line to do laps, but quite a few of them swam different paths around the cove. It seemed to me that there were more swimmers than I remembered, more clusters, more people swimming around the cove. 

Tom and I swam to the opening of the cove where the Bay waters push you around a bit. Here we paused and watched some sailboats glide by. Then we turned back toward the beach. Nothing fancy. Just a solid half-hour swim in brackish cold water.

On shore, I ate a delicious pork bun, supplied by the thoughtful Susanna Kwan. And then we all went to a pub for Irish coffee and other edibles. It was a fine conclusion to an epic trip. So many excellent swims. So many excellent people. 

This post may or may not be the last of this blog. I will of course continue to swim around. And if a swim strikes me as unusual in some way, I may blog about it here. It’s been good to have a notebook/scratchpad of sorts. Jill will likely continue to use her blog for other trips as well. 

So with that, thanks for reading! We are so grateful to the people who hosted us in their homes and in their waters. You made this trip most excellent. And I’m sure we’ll see you down the road. 


Sidecar Jilly: Red in Motion


Driving north through California means stopping in Fresno. And stopping in Fresno means seeing my mom’s cousin, Mary Ellen and her husband Red, and eating at least one meal at the Yosemite Falls Cafe. It also means hearing stories by Red and perusing the Daniels estate via whatever latest mode…