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By Tim Hunt

Schools days are roaring upon us

Uploaded: Aug 8, 2017

Pleasanton parents and students alike are counting down the final days of summer this week.
School opens next Monday, earliest opening day in memory. Of course, school closed the week of Memorial Day so the summer is the same length.
Although for administrators, it had to be a shock to be back in the office in July. July typically was the idyllic month for educators when no thoughts of the classroom were necessary.
Next Monday’s opening has the contractor painting the historic Bernal Bridge over the arroyo hustling to have it open in time. It will be a traffic disaster not to have both lanes open when Foothill High classes start on Monday.
Work has been proceeding all summer with traffic delayed by one-lane traffic over the bridge. Those delays had been predictable, but not in the last two weeks when the contractor’s crew started using a lift truck parked in the roadway so workers could finish the middle of the structure. That brought new meaning to “long delays” that are promised on the warning signs. Do use alternative routes—I have made U-turns there twice in the last week.
What the early start to do school does, for those with schedules not tied to education, is expand the prime vacation season in Northern California. It used to be September started the non-child season in the Sierra Nevada, now it’s mid-August so the season has expanded by three weeks.
We were at the summer hub of Lake Almanor the third week of August a couple of years ago. We went golfing on a Sunday and almost had course to ourselves. There was no beverage cart service—the student handling it had gone back to school already.
Crowds were absent, both in town and around the lake. I suspect it will be the same in many prime vacation spots over the next several weeks with ideal weather and few people.
The shift means June vacations are more likely and that brings with it a bit of a weather downside. Unlike the South where June is a much better weather month than the dead of summer when the humidity socks in, our California coastal communities talk of “June Gloom” thanks to the heavy fog banks.

Avid bicyclist and golfer Jerry Pentin cornered me at the National Night Out event at Pleasanton Gardens to politely disagree with the characterization of golfers’ driving on Alisal Road while coming or going from the city’s Callippe Preserve course. In an interview with long-time Alisal residents, golfers were characterized as always in a hurry to make their tee times.
Jerry begs to differ. He routinely rides his bicycle on the Sycamore-Alisal-Happy Valley loop a couple of times a week. When he’s headed south on Alisal, he’s moving at 22-23 mph and thus barely holding up traffic with the 25-mph speed limit. He reports that he’s routinely pushed by motorists, but they turn off before the golf course—not after it.
It’s similar when his daughter, Joi, an excellent golfer, is driving them to Callippe. She absolutely refuses to go even 25 mph and often collects a few followers who are local motorists.