Driving along the interstate, I passed a brown and white sign saying that there was a Public Beach at the next exit. It was uncommonly mild for a Fall day and I hadn’t yet visited this particular beach. I exited the highway and easily found it. Getting out of my car, I heard gently crashing waves, but the elevated train tracks blocked my view of the beach.

The path led me to a tunnel whose entrance revealed the bay with the morning sun gleaming on the water. The only other visitors was a...

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