Boathouse and Coffee

This boathouse is in Fairmount Park in Riverside, California, and houses rental paddleboats, which can be used on the three lakes in the park. The lower story of the boathouse at the water level contains the docking area for the paddleboats. The upper story is a hall which is used to host weddings and parties. The color photographs were made on September 11, 2011 with a Panasonic Lumix G1. The black and white photo was made on the morning of October 19, 2012 with the Yashica Electro 35 GSN on Kentmere 100 film.

Last Friday (10/19/2012) I parked the Road Star in one of the park’s lots, shut down the engine and dismounted, then pulled my thermos and Yashica rangefinder from the saddlebag, and looked at the area, judging the quality of the light while I drank 7-11 (convenience store) coffee.

I typically start the day with tea at home, though I prefer the taste of coffee. But I don’t own a coffee pot, because I tend to drink coffee all day long if there is a machine in the house. Consequently, 7-11 coffee is a big treat for me, since it is the best coffee in the city and there are no Dunkin’ Doughnuts locations on the West Coast, damn it.

I know what some of you are thinking at this point, but never mind the crappy Starbucks alleged “coffee”. It doesn’t count. Not even up to 3. I don’t put any effete additives in mine, so I know what the coffee actually tastes like. Even MacDonald’s makes better coffee, because they buy a better grade of beans, not the rock-bottom stuff no one else will touch.

Mallard Ducks swimming past the boathouse.

Wait! How did this make a right-angle turn toward coffee?? Back to the story: Because I was in no particular hurry and took three or four minutes to stand beside the motorcycle drinking coffee, that was apparently the signal for a homeless woman to try to panhandle from me. I noticed her listing in my direction for 70 seconds. She was pushing a bicycle with a luggage basket mounted on the handlebars. She was an upscale homeless person, having traded up from the standard stolen shopping cart to a bicycle. I turned her away, then performed a cursory inspection of my leather jacket, jeans, and baseball cap. There wasn’t a single sign to be found. No paper taped to my clothing that said, “hit me up for something”.

I finished the last sip of coffee in the cap/cup, screwed it back onto the thermos, then deposited the thermos in the saddlebag. Walking toward the boathouse, I surveyed the inhabitants of the park; two middle aged women walking the gravel paths for exercise, scattered park workers, and a half dozen apparently homeless people within my lines of sight.

The homeless woman on the right side of the black and white photo above watched me for a few minutes as I shot the boathouse from different angles. When I got to the front of the building, she walked out of the frame three times. I don’t know if she was being helpful or simply didn’t want to be photographed. I left her in this photo because there was something about it that looked right at the time.

I’ve always liked the architecture of the boathouse shown here. I don’t see boathouses on the scattered lakes in California, so it is something of a rarity. It would be even better if it housed some other type of boats, like a few wooden hull Chris Craft and Penn Yan boats, but many people like renting and using the small paddle boats, so it is something of a wash…

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