Categorized | Event, Northern California

Row. Row, Row Your Boat

New Year’s Eve weekend between 2015 and 2016.  The Mountain Man and I decided to take a trip up north along the coast.   Neither of us is particularly fond of the ocean…and we had only known each 8 weeks. Outside of traveling up to his home near Redding, we had not been on an overnight trip together.  We had not traveled like this together and we didn’t know each other real well.

We headed up without much of a plan, including no reservations. On New Year’s Eve weekend, no less. It reminded me of the time that Teresa and I went on a camping road trip over 4th of July with no reservations. Somehow something always came through.

We took Highway 1 up north and unlike many trips I have taken on 1, it was clear – no fog.  Highway 1 can be treacherous.  The steep cliffs, blind curves, and – believe it or not – cows appearing out of nowhere on the road.  They graze these steep hills and wander the highway. I have been in the car when it has been almost too foggy to see them. They congregate in an area of Highway 1 that is particularly steep and particularly full of blind curves…

Path to the sea

We decided to call it a day in the coastal town of Gualala. It was getting dark and it was the last big town for awhile (relatively speaking!) With no reservations, we strolled into the Gualala Inn, a very nice place that I had seen on my many trips to Sea Ranch with my family. Miraculously, not only did they have a room, but they had a very nice room, and it was at a very good price.  There had been a cancellation of some type and we were in. Even better, they had a continental breakfast the next morning. The room was cozy and nice.  There was a fireplace at the foot of the bed.  Mountain Man is excellent at presenting a calm affect. I am not good at this. Actually, I was kind of a nervous wreck.


After settling in, we went up to Anchor Bay for dinner. Anchor Bay is tiny – just a block or two long. There was a Thai Restaurant and that was pretty much it. It was fairly full for New Year’s Eve, mainly with folks who looked like locals. It was pleasant and warm. We were able to get a table and have a nice dinner.

The next morning was New Year’s Day.  It had been a tough evening with Mountain Man. I woke up early, got dressed, and took my camera outside. I needed to calm down. Mountain Man looked a little panicked. I told him everything was OK. But it wasn’t really OK.  I needed to make it OK and the only way that was going to happen was to leave with my camera and calm down outside.

Beach at sunrise

The Gualala beach at dawn

When I returned I was somewhat better. Mountain Man was dressed and we headed downstairs for breakfast. The continental breakfast was served in a cozy Victorian parlor. The Christmas tree was still up, and in the Victoria fashion, there were lots of Christmas decorations and accessories, including pillows, afghans, books, dolls, toy santas, elves…. The bay window looked out on the ocean.  Mountain Man and I sat in two chairs next to each other and balanced trays of tea and toast on our knees. Among other guests wandering in and out, a particularly disheveled woman kept coming in and out of the room. Finally she settled in the chair next to us.  At some point soon after that, I found myself with my arms around her as she told me about the son she had lost – just five days earlier – after his 38 day struggle with cancer. I think about her often. Wondering how she is. The loss of a child is a profound grief – deeper than any grief I have ever encountered. Her grief haunts me still.

We packed up and were soon on our way  to – we weren’t quite sure.  We did want to continue along the coast and we drove up Highway 1, soon finding ourselves in Point Arena.

Mountain Man wanted to go down to the pier. Mountain Man fishes and was also in the Navy, so he loves being by the water. It was brisk outside and we watched the boats coming in and out.  At one point, a boat started coming towards the pier and he told me to wait and watch, as we would be seeing an interesting sight and here it is – a boat being attached to a sling and being pulled out of the water.  This is the only way to get the boats out of the water and onto the shore at the Point Arena Cove.

Fishing Boat coming into shore

The boat approaching the pier


Fishing Boat

Note the rope tied in an X shape.


fishing boat in the water

Lowering the hook


Fishing Boat

Attaching the hook


Fishing Boat being lifted

Here she comes!


fishing boat on pier

Up and over the pier


fishing boat in trailer

Settling the boat into the trailer

Mountain Man knew some back roads and before long we were in Fort Bragg. We stayed in the same motel I had stayed in during another trip.  We headed out to Glass Beach before sunset. We ate our leftover New Year’s Eve Thai food in the hotel room that night – I love motels that have refrigerators and microwaves!

Footprints in the sand

Relationships are complicated and messy.

As dusk fell, we took our cameras out to the motel deck and took some sunset photos.

fog rolling in at sunset

The fog rolling in at sunset

In the morning we asked the hotel clerk where the best breakfast was in town and she pointed us in the direction of a storefront diner located in a nearby shopping center.  I cannot recall the name now.  Breakfast was indeed fabulous and Mountain Man declared the biscuits and gravy to be among the best he had ever had. We both like to geocache and the nearby wooden fisherman at the front of the shopping center yielded another notch in our caching belts.

Fisherman statue

The fisherman greets the traveler and he guards a secret.

We decided to take a little tour of Fort Bragg and found ourselves down under the bridge by the water, looking at boats and at the views. There was peace in our lives.


Homes alongside the water


By late afternoon we were on our way home…

winter skies

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