Mom and Dad Loved Morro Strand

packed-and-ready-for-a-beach-walk.jpg

My parents used to camp on the beach at Morro Strand State Park. We thought about packing their ashes in cute old suitcases and setting them on a camp table to feel the campground again. We imagined mixing their ashes, some of him, some of her, into beautiful bags and thought how fun it would be to walk along the dunes letting their ashes flow on the wind. We could walk through a flock of terns, who would spread the word that these two were back as they flew and parted the sky.

If we could get a moment at the shore to build a mound, set a sand dollar on the top, and let the incoming tide slowly dissolve it into the surf, that would be grand.

We’d hope two western gulls would perch nearby and watch the whole procession. But mostly we’d tune to the presence of their spirits.

 

Dog Days of Summer

 

dog contest 1

They came to Pacifica this past weekend and brought Hwy One to a jammed up stop and wait. They parked on the streets all the way up the hill to our place, and clogged the neighborhoods within a half mile of Pacifica State Beach. My son stopped by, and was not heading home unless he wanted to spend an hour in stop-and-go traffic.

We lathered on sunscreen and walked to the beach where we witnessed dog after dog leading their owners away from the beach. We chatted up a couple with a pair of retrievers in tow, who said the tandem contest was about to start so we hustled. Thirty people stood in line for the restrooms, hundreds stood on the sand watching the last of the entries paddling out. It was a guy with a blue mohawk riding a large board with a small dog on the nose. The dog had great balance, sticky feet that did not let go, and the surfer dude with blue hair knew what he was doing.

We wandered the crowd, rapt with attention for these last two rides, and seemed pretty darn well behaved. We got a couple of shots of the surfing duo then headed to the Pedro Point shopping complex to see if the new Cafe, Soul Grind, was open and it was. This was day one, and they were swamped, but it’s a great space, a cool owner, Jimmy, and has views of the ocean. AND they are going to roast their own coffee. Can’t wait to sip a double espresso in front of the fireplace while coffee roasts in the back and rain coats the parking lot outside.

I’ve started a short story asking where are the black surfers, and there they were among a line of yellow boards, yellow jerseys, learning the ropes. The story is morphing into an old white guy getting schooled by a young black girl with powers beyond his grasp.

I think it was spawned from working with Mat Johnson at the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference last week. A man with a black mom and white dad, Mat’s spent a bit of time bumping up against, and flowing to the other side of the divide that we’ve created. More in another article.

Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how…

 

 

Back to New Brighton

It was Sunday late morning when Donna returned from yoga. “How about a trip to Santa Cruz and do a little paddling?” I asked, and Donna was game. She made us lunch to go and I outfitted the car with racks and gear. In an hour we were on the road south, through Half Moon Bay, on down to Santa Cruz and eventually New Brighton beach.

Swanton Berry Farm
Swanton Berry Farm

We stopped at the Swanton Berry Farm, not the one near Año Nuevo State Marine Reserve where you can pick berries, but a little complex on the east side of Hwy One a bit north of the little town of Davenport. Swanton has it all. Restrooms, hot coffee, berry pies, cobblers, and some serious chocolate. Payment is on the honor system, with a cash drawer sitting out to make change, plus an iPad for card transactions. The coffee was great, the chocolate truffles were rich and dark. We saved the pie for later.

We took the 41st Avenue exit and drove to the end for a restroom pit stop and a quick peek at the Hook, but for me, it was a chance to see if Sharks and Privates were breaking and they were. We tried to snag a parking spot in Capitola, but no game, no spots, wall to wall packed.

We pulled into New Brighton and showed them our annual Calif State Park Pass and in we went. An hour later we were warming up on the beach. Could have been the south of France, except it was sand, not rocks. We warmed up with plenty of shoulder stretching and then I fired up the GoPro and walked to the water. In two feet of water I just stepped on the board, then landed the other foot, but the water retreated, and the look on my face was pure surprise as I sailed over the nose and nearly collided with Donna. We laughed it off and had a ball. Donna saw a shark just a few minutes into our paddle. She paddled all the way to O’Neill’s house near Pleasure Point, then turned around and fetched me on the return. It was a calm paddle back, gliding over smooth water and emerald-green kelp.

 

 

After showers and warm clothes we drove into Santa Cruz and ate on a bench in the park across from Mission Santa Cruz. And that’s where we ate the berry pie.

mission Santa Cruz

 

 

Point Reyes Station

I’ll tell you how to do Point Reyes. First ya gotta get outa bed. Hit the road by 9, and drive straight to Fairfax. I like the back road out of San Anselmo, Central Blvd I think it’s called, near where Andronicos was, but wow, now it’s a Safeway. That road is so old-school Marin; bamboo hedges, bikes on the street. A few stop signs toward Fairfax, there’s a statuary on the right with Buddhas scattered outside, inside, and down to the creek below.

In Fairfax, park in the lot, a block west of Good Earth, a wonderful memory of what SF Real Foods was like in the day. But now for breakfast at Barefoot Cafe. They serve a good cup of espresso and fine egg dishes. The art work cycles through and I like to spend a moment in the restroom where some of their older works are on display. There are many cute little shops within a block or two of the cafe.

On to Point Reyes Station. First thing is go straight to the Station House and book a dinner reservation. OK, you could call or even go online, but I love to see the place, maybe use one of their two restrooms. Station House has a great burger and the bar-b-qued Oysters are a serious local treat. They serve hot turnovers to every table. The perfect vehicle for butter. There might be a musical group playing weekend nights.

Point Reyes Stores-2

Depending on your energy, I’d head down the street to Bovine Bakery for coffee and a sweet treat. The chocolate cherry things in the right display are so sweet they make my teeth hurt, but they are tasty. On sunny days there’ll be bikers on the street, sipping caffeine and carbo loading for the ride home.

If you need gear hit up Cabaline Country Emporium & Saddlery, where we’ve bought shoes, boots, socks, inserts, belts and a hat or two. It’s packed floor to ceiling with outdoor clothing slanted a bit to those who ride horses.

We usually stroll by the Marty Napp’s Photography Gallery who has iconic images of the area with a few surprises each time we visit. There’s also Point Reyes Books whose well-stocked shelves can keep you engrossed. If I could only have one book store, this would be a finalist.

Point Reyes Stores-1

If you like cheese, Cow Girl Creamery. It’s a big store, a little over crowded and over priced but it’s locally sourced, and there’s more than cheese in the shop.

You’ll see Marin Organic written on many Point Reyes restaurants, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets. There’s are options to the Station House. From time to time we’ve selected an Italian place called OSTERIA STELLINA a bit more upscale, with locally sourced food. Not a lot of elbow room.

And then there’s Coyoche.  Go across the street from Station House and turn left. There’s a little outdoor mall area with interesting shops, our favorite being, well, actually, I’m not sure which is OUR favorite but we usually shop Coyoche for sales on bath sheets and bedding. All cotton, subtle tones, a little expensive, but a cool place.

There’s more to Point Reyes Station but I need a hike and my favorite without hesitation is the Estero Trail. Getting there is part of the charm. Head out of Point Reyes, like you’re going back to Olema, and make the right just past the bridge over Laugunitas Creek (by the way, Donna and I paddled up that creek where we saw turtles and had a ball. You can read about that trip here.)

Next up, Estero Trail.

 

 

Twas the 10th and 11th Day of Christmas

star-2-1

Twas the 10th day of Christmas that I did not get out, so on the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a trip to the Yoga Studio for her “clear-the-head-shake-out-the-kinks” morning starter.  It is brisk at the beach with a stiff north-west wind.  A good time to wrap the last of our stocking stuffers, and prepare to see the new Star Wars Movie with our extended family.  Yes the STAR of Bethlehem graces our Christmas Wreath, disguised as a pearl-centered star fish.

May you feel blessings of life flow around and support you today.

Twas the Ninth Day of Christmas

ribbon-1

Twas the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a ribbon of spun cloth and my 100th Follower, All Things That Dogs Blog.  It’s set in a retro Apple framework.

My brother and his wife raise Guide Dogs for Guide Dogs of America.  Our mom was legally blind by the time I was twelve, but it sure didn’t stop her from catching us poking each other or grabbing cookies from the jar. She said she had eyes in the back of her head, and they seemed to work just fine. 20-20 hind sight, I’d guess you’d say.

I’m sure she would love to see Bev and Allen’s current Guide Dog in Training, Bud.  Hats off to them for guiding 17 Dogs into service. So go Bud, Go.  You’ll be number 18 if you keep your nose clean and pass all your tests.

Bev and Allen have brought unwavering love and devotion to train all those dogs who bring their skills to those who cannot see.

bud
Bud – Guide Dog in Training.

I am grateful for my vision.  I am grateful for my family.  I am grateful to be alive.

 

Twas the Eighth Day of Christmas

sun-1

Twas the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the most splendid early morning light on this, our Winter Solstice.

We drove down the coast for breakfast, our usual on Wednesdays, before my lovely baby-sits our little grand daughter.  Driving south on Hwy 1, 7:30 a.m. light spilled over the hills to set Pedro Point aglow, reminiscent of the haunting light of a solar eclipse.

Later I received a text from my friend Sue, with this photo of little V at the Christmas tree.  It speaks for itself.

violet-xmas-tree-2016

May you find time to bask in early morning light.