San Francisco to Bodega Bay

Sunday, January 21 – Friday, January 26

On Sunday in San Francisco I basically did fuck all. I notice that happening more and more lately and I can’t express how delightful it is. Unfortunately, it makes for boring reading. I didn’t do completely nothing: I went to Bed Bath and Beyond (my friends call it Bloodbath and Beyond and now I do too, you know who you are, Zen and Helen) and bought an overpriced yet necessary tiny dehumidifier. There is enough condensation in Amelia to make me think it’s leaking like a sieve even when it’s barely raining and, as we know, I’m heading to the Northwest now, Land of Rain. Then Mimi came over to the camper with her two dogs and we all went for a long muddy walk around a marsh / bird sanctuary that’s next to the trailer park. I got a new lens – a 100 – 500 mm zoom lens so I can take more pictures of birds and I was eager to try it out. And I got to see a duck fight! Not, alas, to photograph a duck fight – I haven’t gotten the new lens down to the point of action shots yet – but I’d never seen a duck fight before. It was brief and splashy and there was a lot of outraged quacking.

2018-01-22 13.25.31On Monday I was kicking myself for not doing more San Francisco the day before so I got to SFMOMA just as fast as I could, which was not very fast since the Larkspur ferry terminal parking lot was full and I ended up having to lyft there from the trailer park. SFMOMA is an amazing museum; I think it is one of the best contemporary art museums in the country if not THE best. I went to see the Walker Evans show but I ended up spending way more time in the German Art Since 1960 exhibit, getting reacquainted with some artists I had almost forgotten and shouldn’t have. And then I found the Louise Bourgeios spiders and the Rauschenburg retrospective. I was there for hours and every single minute was a joy. Then I went to Borderlands, which is a sci fi and fantasy bookstore in the Mission. I was there for a while too, which was also a joy and I came away with a heavy bag. And then I went to meet Carol and Schuyler for drinks near their hotel, planning to stop enroute at Uniqlo – I have never been to a Uniqlo store, only online, and I was excited. Unfortunately I had managed to get myself sort of tangled up in this thing called Lyft Line which is basically taxi sharing, or as we like to say in the old country, a bus but smaller. It’s worse than a bus because they can decide to just go pick up and drop off other people as you’re sitting there and all in all it took over an hour for me to get where to the bar. No Uniqlo! Bah! But wine and snacks and friends, which is much better than shopping any day. And then I ferried back again through the dark.

So I didn’t do much San Francisco – or much shopping – on this trip and I feel bad about it. My pocketbook, however, feels heavier than it otherwise would and it was truly more amazing to hang out with my wonderful friends. But my love for San Francisco continues unabated and I really hope I can come back again and again. I thought about staying another day but in the end the rain that was forecast for Wednesday decided me – staying two or three days until the weather cleared was just not on, money wise, if they even had space at the trailer park, which they probably would not – and so I managed to get hitched up and on my way to Bodega Bay by noon on Tuesday. It is not a long drive; it would have taken a normal person like an hour. Even I couldn’t make it last longer than about two.

_MG_7214I loved Bodega Bay, just like I loved Morro Bay. I am beginning to suspect that I just love towns with the word Bay in their names. The drive to Bodega Bay from San Francisco was super easy, because I didn’t take Route 1. It’s closed through parts of Marin County and thus I opted for the simple interstate route, 101, which is really not bad at all. Then I got onto Bodega Avenue which took me through amazingly beautiful rolling green hills dotted with picturesque farmhouses and cows and then LO, there was Bodega Bay, looking weirdly familiar. Why do I know this place? I mused to myself, is this deja vu? Why do I have a sort of. . . creeping feeling of dread?

_MG_7121Probably because The Birds was filmed there! The Birds, which I saw for the first time on TV when I was 12, with my mother, scared the shit out of me. It scared my mother too, but I am sad to report that when I tried to replicate this experience with my 12 or 13 year old son – bonding over horror movies is an important parenting experience – he just thought it was dumb. I managed to get scared myself all over again though. So there I was, in Bodega Bay with a brand new birding lens, actually out there looking for birds. And I found some. I am happy to report that they did not even try to eat my_MG_7128 eyeballs, so, win win. I will say though that I watched a hawk of some kind hunt on the ground and then a heron perched at the top of a tall pine tree, so definitely Bodega Bay has some strange ass birds living there, but fortunately they are not homicidal. And they have a lighthouse that hoots all night long and at least one owl who hoots as well, so it is a lovely place indeed, besides being one of the single drop down god damn absolutely most gorgeous places I have ever seen in my life.

On Wednesday it did indeed rain most of the day and so I holed up in the camper – that explains the sudden flurry of blog posts that went up on Wednesday. The RV Park, which was very nice, was also pretty empty for the first day or two I was there and thus the internet was lightning fast. I have noticed that a lot of RV parks can only keep the internet flowing as long as there aren’t any actual RVs there. The minute a park fills up it seems to be bye bye internet and that’s exactly what happened on Thursday. But meanwhile, on Wednesday it was great and I even caught up on Outlander. On Thursday I woke up bright and early and went on a long hike, much longer than I had originally intended, but I kept hearing the ocean and thinking it would be just. . over. . . the. . . next . . . hill. .. . and then of course, it was not. I saw two skunks, though, and a lot of deer tracks and it was fun although at the end, when I got a bit lost, I was worried that I might have to hike on the road. Early morning hikes are a challenge for me sartorially – I like rolling out of bed and heading out the door without stopping to think, so I wear my pajamas usually, and hiking boots, and whatever other thing my caffeine free sleep addled brain thinks might be a good idea, like a weird hat and pink scarf and, oh god knows, but never an outfit that you want to be hitchhiking in, particularly in a town where the average 1200 square foot home retails for about 800K. *

_MG_7209In the afternoon I went to the town of Bodega – it is the 5 miles inland version of Bodega Bay, also frighteningly picturesque and familiar, because there is the church and the school from The Birds. The church is also the subject of a famous Ansel Adams photo so of course I tried to replicate that with the Praktica. The school, a sign tells you, has been a private home since the 60s. Apparently I am far from the only person with lifetime scars from the Birds and even though the movie is older than I am, people are still seeking out the sets. I don’t think I would want to live in a house that’s constantly photographed, but the building is totally gorgeous, so there are compensations. Then I drove out to Bodega Head – many bodegas! But no bodegas and it is not at all like New York! – which is more amazingly beautiful scenery. The road there is all harbors and crab pots and oh my god pull over and take a picture vistas. You would think that I would be starting to get immune to it but no. Then, just when you think it can’t get any more beautiful, you come to Bodega Head, which is a spit of land jutting into the Pacific with attendant dramatic cliffs and rocks and a beach and oh god, it’s indeed more beautiful. Apparently one can often see whales from Bodega Head but I, alas, did not, although I stayed out there in the wind taking endless pictures for a very long time. Bodega Bay: another place I would move if I suddenly and unaccountably became very rich indeed. Sigh.

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* What? Doesn’t everyone look at Zillow as soon as they roll into town? You know they do.

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