Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crazy Drive to School

Today was the first day of classes this semester at Berkeley. For the past few days, its been raining here, and last night through this morning its been really coming down. We take Skyline Blvd and Grizzly Peak Rd up along the top of the Oakland hills all the way to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab where we park and take the bus to campus. The road winds through the hills, which are steep, rocky, and have many houses perched off the cliffs. The houses cut down vegetation to clear out their land so that they can have a million dollar view of the San Francisco Bay. A lot of the road cuts deep into the hillsides and when it rains, there is a lot of erosion from the running water. Sometimes the water forms a small river following the side of the road.

This morning started out like any other morning, driving to school along the route, except that there was a lot of debris on the road, like fallen eucalyptus bark and branches, and small rocks and mud. As we were a little more than half way to the Lab, we saw a huge boulder rolling falling down the steep hillside to the right of the road. It kept rolling until it hit the road, and rolled right across it! The boulder was as large as me (if I went into the fetal position) and it rolled from about 50 to 100ft above, down a 75 degree slope. It rolled with so much momentum, it bent and wedged itself into the metal guard rail on the other side of the road.

Falling Rocks!
The boulder.

The scary thing is that the boulder rolled across the road just 5 seconds before we would've crossed its path, and it also missed clipping a Prius from behind by just a second! The Daewoo (and Prius) just narrowly missed being hit. That would've sucked! On the way home, the rock was still there and I took a picture of it on my cell phone. Then we saw about 4 different rainbows along the drive home. We also picked up a hitchhiker. He was jogging when it all of a sudden started to pour hard outside. He lived just down the road, on our way home, so we dropped him at his house.