California Coast

Jane and I were up bright and early this morning (unlike the sun) and out the door before Zack was awake. We hiked our way down Broadway Street to the Ferry Building, which took just over an hour, and purchased four tickets to Larkspur Landing. Forty-five minutes later Peter, Dorothy, Jane and myself were sitting on the San Francisco to Larkspur ferry while the waves, wind and rain did their best to upset our journey. My second cousin, once removed, Charlotte had arranged to meet us at the ferry terminal, but heavy traffic (70 miles at 20 mph) meant that she was delayed. But sooner or later (later!) we were back on the road and heading up Highway 101 towards the coast.

Much of the day was spent exploring the Californian countryside and coast, and although the wind and rain conspired against us it didn’t hamper our enjoyment and actually held off for our brief excursions outside the car. First we drove through Bodega Bay, the town where some of Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed, to a vista point where we were able to sit and watch the Pacific Ocean crash against the coast, and seals playfully testing the surf. Many photographs were taken, and the sun even appeared for a moment, and with it a patch of blue sky and a rainbow.
Further up the coast, at Jenner, we looked at the mouth of the Russian River and discovered that nowhere was open for lunch there either.
We eventually stopped at Duncans Mills (I know! where is the apostrophe!?) for something to eat before exploring the Redwood groves at the Armstrong Woods near Geuserville. This was a perfect opportunity to escape the SUV for a while and walk off some of our lunch. On the path we came across a brass sign giving information about the Colonel Armstrong redwood, a massive tree over 1400 years old and 14 feet in diameter; the notice was also translated into braille above the English text. I couldn’t help noticing, however, that the sign was facing the opposite direction to the tree. So that, even if a blind chap was standing reading the braille notice even though he couldn’t see the tree HE WOULDN’T EVEN BE FACING THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

Following our brief jaunt in the forest, we returned east to Highway 101 and to Healdsburg, where we checked out Char’s house (where I had stayed all last week) before visiting Carol for drinks. Our last stop for the night, before we returned to the city, was Fitch Mountain Eddie’s for dinner, where again we disgraced ourselves by eating our own body weight in burgers.

Tomorrow is a free day; a quiet day; a lounging around, reading and writing day. Peter and Dorothy are coming over for lunch, and in the evening we’re heading over to cousin Jessica’s in the Castro for pizza dinner. Bring it on!

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.