For those of you phonetically advanced, the real name of this bridge is Carquinez, named for the Straits where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers drain into San Francisco Bay. The Strait connects Suisun Bay with San Pablo Bay, which is a northern extension of San Francisco Bay.
Two well-known claims to fame for this area are organic and inorganic. An errant humpback whale, nicknamed Humphrey, swam up the Strait to Rio Vista, before being coaxed back to the Bay and beyond by the Marine Mammal Center. The more notorious USNS Glomar Explorer built by Howard Hughes was docked (moored) for many years at the eastern Strait. While I will not see either famous and temporary landmark, I will see a view out toward Marin County and the northern portion of San Francisco Bay to the west. To the north will be Mare Island, the former Naval Base, and the bankrupt city of Vallejo. To the south is Crockett, a small port town hugging the coast. A little known fact is that the Carquinez Strait Powerline Crossing was the world’s first powerline crossing of a large river.
The Strait got its name from Karkin, a linguistic division of the Ohlone Native Americans, who lived on both sides of the Strait. Karkin is los Carquines in Spanish. The California Maritime Academy is located at the west end of the Strait. Crockett, on the south shore, houses an old C & H Sugar refinery. They left when everyone with a sweet tooth moved to Walnut Creek!
The bike path I am taking was completed in August of 2009. The original span was built in 1927, the year Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs. It was dismantled after the new bridge was completed in November 2003. The bridge is used by over 100,000 vehicles each day. The 12 foot wide bike lane hugs the western side of the suspension bridge. The path is 1.6 miles long, and features twelve dual class boxes, one facing the roadway, and one facing the bike path.
It was a pleasant ride, with very few walkers, runners, or cyclists. The noise level seems okay, and the view would rate above average. It is not possible to see the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz from this trail. Mare Island and its golf course and old horse stables are front and center to the northwest. The Dead Fish restaurant on the Crockett side would be a good refueling stop should you need a martini or two.