The weather, oceanside in northern California was the most pleasant I’d ever experienced. Day after day brought sunny, pleasant skies with a cool, sea breeze. Mornings brought dense fog off the water; evenings held a kaleidoscope of colors long after the sun had set.
My work at the beach store consisted of making campground reservations, ringing up store sales, renting kayaks and surfboards, and answering questions from tourists. In less than a week I knew and gave directions to any one of the five state parks in the area and the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.
Each of the parks and beaches was different from the next: Big River was wide and difficult to navigate in a kayak if you paddled against the tide, Van Damme had lush green canyons and a pygmy forest, MacKerricher Beach was notorious for rogue waves that roiled with black sand and rocks.
I knew the best places in Fort Bragg and Mendocino to eat fresh caught fish and seafood and enjoyed the daily visits of locals who were both amiable and colorful. They informed me that I was now living in the Emerald Triangle and cautioned me not to drive down any dirt roads and especially, “ Don’t go to Covelo.” Apparently, there were pot farms galore in “them there hills.”
The best times of day were sunsets on the beach. I’d plant my beach chair right at the water’s edge while the sun slowly descended into the ocean; pelicans and osprey dove for their fish dinners, harbor seals prowled the waters, surfers crested rolling waves and I sipped languidly on Barefoot Zinfandel.
Sitting on the edge of the continent, at day’s end, it just didn’t get any better!
(aka Tin Can Traveler)