Tuesday, May 17, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - The Beige Cliffs of Fort Bragg


ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE -
The Beige Cliffs of Fort Bragg


I woke early and saw that our cabin in the woods was engulfed in fog.   I immediately checked Richard.  His head was still connected to his body and his pulse was beating normally.  So, no visit from the Buckner family... at least not in our cabin.  I called Bob and Nguyen to make sure their heads were on straight.  All was well with them, too.

After breakfasting in our cabins, we decided to venture north to Fort Bragg.  We sped along the coast highway at a breezy clip of 10 mph, as the fog masked much of the sheer drops to the ocean.  Needless to say, this less than breakneck speed, coupled with nothing to see when I looked down put an end to my whimpering. 


We arrived late-morning and hit the trail to the white cliffs of Dover... well, the beige cliffs of Fort Bragg, at any rate.  


The fog had lifted a bit, though the cool mist that remained gave us a chill, so we bundled up.  Richard braved a hoodie feeling secure in the hovering mist that no one would mistake him for a gang member and shoot him. 


My brother, a big guy, also needed an extra layer, so Nguyen dragged out one of her ponchos from the SUV and layered it on him.  Not the most flattering ensemble, but it worked to buffer the cold.


Kathy and Heathcliff may have had their misty, foggy English moors, but we had the misty, foggy cliffs of Fort Bragg. And they are expansive and dramatic.

 



 We walked the cliffs' edge and came to a stairway to the Pacific.  It was steep.  We didn't want a workout so we passed it by.


We spied the Loch Ness Monster... yes, he's there in the mist, presumably on holiday from the Loch Ness.


Birds perched on rocks in the sea.

We discovered caves.



And explored the beige cliffs.



Then HE appeared.  Don't jump!  Was it Buckner?  Who knows? 

 

Because he soon disappeared.  Lost in the mist.

Nguyen looked for him as Richard tried to capture it all on camera.


The sun peeked out as we headed back to our car.


It was time to find a restaurant and have an early dinner by the sea and watch boats boating to and fro.


Another day, another excellent adventure.








Thursday, April 21, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - Our Cabin In The Woods





ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Our Cabin In The Woods



After more hairpin turns at 5 mph (you remember, brother Bob couldn't stand my whimpering in the back seat over the heights and my visions of all of us flying off the cliff a la Thelma & Louise) we finally arrived in Point Arena, which served as our base camp for all our Mendocino exploration.
We check into our cabins in the woods and I prayed we wouldn't recreate 2012's horror/comedy movie "Cabin In The Woods."  Well, I wouldn't mind the comedy, but will definitely pass on the horror.  As I searched the area for any pending "horror," Bob and Nguyen got settled in their cabin and Richard settled us into our cabin next door.



The cabin was darling.  A living room/dining room area with complete kitchen, a separate bedroom with a queen bed and a nice size bath.  TVs in both rooms so we could catch up with the world when needed. 

It was late in the afternoon and suddenly very overcast and my writer's imagination took over (I do write mysteries, after all).  I hoped the dreary sky wasn't an omen that those marauding Buckners who abused family member Patricia and decapitated cabin dwellers in that film were somewhere nearby. 

Oblivious of my fear, Bob and Nguyen decided to take us into Point Arena's quaint little town for a bit of sightseeing, then onto the area's lighthouse.  I love lighthouses, a love inherited from my Gloucester, Massachusetts ("A Perfect Storm") raised mother.  I think the first one I ever saw was at Montauk Point on Long Island.  I had visions of one day living in it as the lighthouse keeper.  I was only eight.

Enthralled by this new lighthouse, I did a photo "study"  (I love my Samsung) ...

 
... with one shot of the seals lying on the rocks near by.


After the long, harrowing (for me - that height thing), but visually awing 5 mph drive and touring the town and lighthouse, we all were tired, so we decided to go back to our cabin, open up a bottle of wine (or two) and make supper.  Nothing bad could happen in such a darling cabin, right?

Tomorrow is another day.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - Searching for Hobbits




ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Sea Ranch -The Land of Hobbits?



Brother Bob, sister-in-law Nguyen, Richard and I left "the DOG house" in Bodega Bay sated from our lunch of hot dogs and rectangular burgers in rectangular buns and headed north on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) a/k/a the "the 1" to continue our excellent adventure.

The views were spectacular.  Well, when I actually would look.  Being a tad height "phobic" my life flashed before my eyes every few seconds as I saw us careening off the mountain a la "Thelma & Louise" and crashing into the ocean hundreds (and hundreds) of feet below as we drove up and up the mountains overlooking the ocean.  But my brother loves me (or couldn't stand my loud whimpering) and drove about 5 mph and stopped often so I could actually get out of the car and put my feet firmly on the ground as I took a photo or two.



As we slowly headed north (remember, Bob's driving 5 mph), we reached Sea Ranch, a many mile development of high end coastal houses (some of which are rented out to vacationers), each nestled on large lots often miles apart with views of the ocean.  Hobbits also live there.  I know because there, servicing weary travelers and the inhabitants of Sea Ranch, sat the Sea Ranch Chapel which can only be described as a chapel made for hobbits.  The set designer for the "Lord Of The Rings" movies was definitely inspired by this chapel or was a hobbit himself.

front doors
inside - stained glass window


Inside, we sat on a bench and read the brochures that informed us that the chapel (a non-denominational sanctuary for prayer, meditation and spiritual renewal) and surrounding grounds were a gift from residents Robert & Betty Buffum (sounds like hobbit names to me).  The artist and architectural designer was James Hubbell (Hubbell, hmmmm another hobbit?) and used all local materials and local craftsmen and contractors.

I sat silently trying to meditate away my fear of heights.  No such luck, but I think my spirit was renewed.  I did fall in love with the artistry of this little chapel.  It was definitely hobbit forming.

As we left the chapel and drove north through Sea Ranch-land, I continued to search for a hobbit sighting, but not only did I not see a hobbit, I saw no one anywhere on their decks or property in the miles of pristine land overlooking the Pacific. It was a hobbit ghost ranch.

Next stop, our cabin in the woods in Point Arena, still some hours away.


    

Sunday, March 6, 2016

ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE - the Dog House





ILONA & RICHARD'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE -
the Dog House  



It all started last fall when we left Ojai and drove to Sacramento to meet up with my brother and sister-in-law, Bob and Nguyen.  You remember them, I'm sure, from some of my other travel and food adventures...  Anyway, after resting overnight at their house, we hit the Pacific Coast Highway (a/k/a PCH or just "the 1") and headed north toward Mendocino County.  As the scenery became more beautiful...



..we decided to stop in Bodega Bay for lunch.  This is the little town adjacent to Bodega, famous for being attacked by "The Birds" (thanks, Hitchcock).

Bob and Nguyen, who'd been in the area many times, knew only of a couple of large tourist-y fish restaurants overlooking the water, but none of us wanted that loud, cavernous experience.  But, put me within a mile of a hot dog or cheeseburger stand, shack or diner and my inner antenna will find it.  There on the coast road, my eyes automatically spotted a little sign that said "hot dogs."  Well, hot dog!!!  

We followed the arrows down to the Bay and there, in a small mini mall, we discovered "the Dog House."

 
Nguyen and I found food heaven (she loves hot dogs, too). 

 
Inside the small restaurant, we met the warm and friendly young owner, Shannon, and found out that the Dog House was relatively new and thriving. 


But the Dog House isn't just for dogs we discovered as we read the menu on the wall.
 

There  were burgers and various types of sandwiches to complement the different dogs being offered ...and all you can eat french fries!  A gentlemen sitting at a nearby indoor table was eating a burger.  A rectangular burger in a large, seeded rectangular bun!!  It oozed juicy.  Now if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know the one thing I love more than hot dogs is cheeseburgers.  And throughout my blog, I've continued to search for the perfect burger so, of course, I had to have one.

Nguyen, on the other hand, loves fish as much, if not more than hot dogs, and the grilled salmon sandwich made her mouth water.  


She'll get the hot dog the next time, because we were definitely going to stop here again on the way home and after our excellent adventure was over.

But Bob and Richard stayed true to the restaurant's name and opted for the hot dogs.  We were in a dog house, after all.


Outside, we took a table in the sun and sat by the dock of the bay.  The day was beautiful.  The blue, blue bay glistened as a seagull perched itself on a piling, musing how good life can be.

My rectangular cheeseburger, big enough to feed a family of four in its soft seeded bun, was so good it was near perfect.  Nguyen loved her salmon and the boys enjoyed their dogs.  Even the french fries were delish.  Crisp on the outside and warm and mushy in the middle.

An excellent way to start our travel adventure.


the Dog House
537 Smith Brothers Rd.
(just off Scenic Hwy 1)
Bodega Bay, CA  94923
707-875-2441

check out the menu at:
http://www.doghousebodegabay.com/