Part One (Working Backwards--in order to keep things at least a touch interesting, I'll begin with the latest events and work my way back toward when it all began; also, I haven't yet received Friday night's pictures):
Arriving back in the East Bay, I thought to myself, "What next?"
Towards the end of my trip, I finally got a halfway decent shot of a stand of eucalyptus trees (I'd been trying for one all weekend). There is something so California about a windbreak of Eucalyptus--it makes my heart melt (which is weird because Eucalyptus are non-native, and because whose heart melts over stuff like that?).
*Note: most highway shots were taken while driving by raising my right arm, camera in hand, through the sun roof. You may find I've not yet mastered the technique.
Here on my hillside perch above the mighty Pacific I'll tell you a bit about what I'd been doing. When I took this arm's length self-portrait, two turkey vultures were occassionaly swooping over my head. I was watching the tide, listening to the break, and splitting segments of dried sea grass into a pile in front of my feet. It was a fab break from my ride down the 1. I left the hotel at noon and stopped here a bit north of Bodega Bay . I'm not sure how much time I spent in this semi-catatonic state, but I emerged thoroughly relieved of the minor dread that had been building in my stomach since leaving Mendocino, and felt ready to enjoy the remaining 4 hours it took to drive Shoreline Highway all the way to Muir Beach, where I then turned home to Alameda. The next few pictures should help explain the minor dread...
I mean, who would want to leave this place? Above you can witness the view from my private deck.
If I look on the verge of happy tears, it's probably because I was. I got to The Heritage House Saturday afternoon, armed with a fluffy bathrobe, a brimming getaway basket (thanks to Mackenzie, Amy, and Vicky--more on this later) and a heart full of song (thanks to the new "Playlist 30" on my pod). I pretty much holed up on this deck and in my room the whole time, except when exploring the grounds. I don't have much to say about it. It was just perfect.
The inland drive to Mendocino was equally wonderful. I purchased a sack of Pink Ladies and a jar of fresh applesauce here at Gowan's Oak Tree, just before entering a redwood forest. Don't be surprised if one day soon you hear from a mutual friend that I've given it all up to sell apples on the roadside. I could do it, too--I could totally be happy as an apple farmer (I really hope you'll follow that link and click "OK" when the dialog box pops up--especially if you're Sarah. Think of it as a bleated birthday present to me).Admittedly I'm not as enthusiastic about grapes as I am about apples, but man is October a good time for photographing vineyards. It reminded me of the ivy covered house at 5th North and 3rd East where I lived my last year of undergrad--in the fall, the leaves would turn all golden and deep red and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world (even though most of my roomates there fell into the category of a. narcissistic, b. "creative"--read "actress", or c. bulemic). And maybe I could enjoy life as a vintner. I mean, they get into some crazy stuff...
Folks, they cleared the manger scene out of this creche to fill it with Halloween ghoulies. Talk about post-modern.
I didn't get any decipherable shots of the coastal dairies I drove by, but the air was thick with cheese and I'm perfectly convinced that I could happily live with the stench of manure if it meant I got to live at the beach with my cheese cows. Grandpa F. would be so proud--I'm sure it would be enough to undo the painful tears Larry provoked when he heartlessly told a dying old rancher that a young man like himself wouldn't ever be a farmer (you asked for a blog, so I even gave you a shout out!).
Not pictured here are the 170-something songs I whistled, hummed, sang, or emoted through all the time I was driving. There is for sure no better medicine for any ailment than singing--can anyone else relate to that? I've known this about myself for a long time, but it's starting to become a stronger fact the more I think about it. If I had any doubts about spending my 30th birthday completely alone (which I guess I hadn't yet mentioned was the whole intent of this trip), they quickly and finally dissipated when, shortly after leaving the 101, this song popped up. No way could I have felt better in any moment than right then and there.