February 1, 2018
I left Anchor Bay Campground today around noon. It was hard to leave – I mean it was insanely hard, like it took all my willpower and I had to yell at myself and really push. Just one more day, I begged myself. No! I said, You have dawdled here long enough. It’s time to get a move on. You’ll never get out of California at this rate. And I made it happen. It is a little alarming how fast on this trip I have become several people. We routinely refer to ourselves in the royal plural now and, okay, I do know that Moby and Amelia are not sentient but that doesn’t stop me from having lengthy conversations with them. Well I have read enough damn science fiction novels over the years with a sentient ship and a solo traveler that somehow, extrapolating this to a Ford F150 and a tiny camper is not a stretch. We – all three of us – want to live at Anchor Bay Camprgound forever, by the way, and we are sad that we had to leave and get on with this journey. Ah well. Onwards!
I haven’t been feeling super well for the last couple days. On Tuesday evening I went out and gathered mussels! Then I cooked them: I soaked them in fresh water for half an hour, then scrubbed the hell out of them, cutting the beards off in the process. Then I steamed them in water and white wine. When they were all steamed and open I took a slotted spoon and put them in a big bowl (discarding the two that hadn’t opened; I’m not crazy,) then strained the cooking liquid into another bowl and wiped out the pot. Then I melted butter in the same pot, added a bunch of chopped garlic and parsley, sauteed it on low until it was nice and mellow, then added the strained cooking liquid or about half of it anyway back in with some more wine and some lemon juice and then reduced that a bit. Then I poured it all over the mussels in the bowl and served it to myself along with half a baguette. YES OMG THEY WERE DELICIOUS and I put them up on Instagram and Twitter like a good little social media influencer (PLEASE DEAR GOD LET THIS LEAD TO SOME KIND OF NEW CAREER SOMEHOW SOMEWHERE) and then, because I’m me, I prepared my soul for death.
I had googled intensively and found out that Sonoma County had declared wild mussels safe for the picking as of January 20 but I know, because I know shit like this, that eating shellfish is always, but always, a bit of a gamble. It’s a gamble with very good odds for the most part, but we all know that person who ate one fateful wrong oyster and blammo, that was it and he lived, yeah, but he had to carry his intestines around in a suitcase on wheels behind him and subsist only on chicken broth and spring water. Or he didn’t live and now is an Awful Warning. The victims are out there. Shellfish are tricky. I love them but every time I eat them I pretty much try to get ready for death, just, you know, in case. *
I didn’t die but I did drink the entire bottle of white wine – well, about ¼ of it at least went into the mussels but then that sort of counts as drinking it too – and what with that and the other half of the baguette I ate in the middle of the night (mussels aren’t, actually, all that filling) and / or possibly the Fritos (don’t ask about the Fritos) somehow or other something has gone a bit wrong in my mid abdominal region. This is not uncommon for me and I don’t think it’s the mussels. But if I keel over spectacularly tomorrow, it’s not been a bad run and a dramatic shellfish related death is not the worst way to go. Still, it’s been more than 48 hours now and I show no signs of dying, so I probably survived the mussels. Phew!
Excellent, because THERE ARE SEALS HERE and I would have hated to miss them! Highway 1 from Anchor Bay to Fort Bragg is nowhere near as scary as Highway 1 from Bodega Bay to Anchor Bay, I am pleased to report. Of course it is just as jaw droppingly beautiful as any other part of Route 1, so, yeah, hairpin curves and breathtaking vistas, ho hum. Not! It took me about three hours to go the 55 miles or so – yes! That’s how We roll! Very fucking slowly! – and then once I got myself into my campsite I set off on a hike. The campground is in the woods but the beach is just a short trail away and oh my gods, what a beach it is. It has black sand and the requisite Northern California rocks and it goes on and on and is just beautiful as hell, although there are grim and blunt warnings that say, and I quote bits here: The water is bitterly cold, swift and unforgiving. . . rogue waves. . . few survive. Few survive! Damn, California State Parks, don’t sugarcoat it. I noticed the conspicuous absence of surfers.
So, no surfers and hardly any people – yesssss – and there are SEALS. I love seals. I wasn’t expecting them – I had made my way about halfway down the beach and was shooting some cormorants when I realized that the rock they were standing on was absolutely covered with seals. It’s low tide and the rock wasn’t that far from the beach, at all, so I could have gotten even closer and I started to, but I am a careful (chicken) person who has no plan to bother seals, so I tried not to get too close. The seals were watching me and they let me know when I was getting too near – a few of them humphed and slid into the water and said, basically (I speak a little seal, not much) “Come any closer lady and you will see just how fast we can FLOOMPH up that beach and get your fat ass.” It was a bit alarming. I came in a sort of back way, so I had missed all the helpful signs telling me it was illegal to get closer than 300 feet to the seals – I saw them during my ladylike but efficient retreat and thought, I have no idea how far 300 feet is for heaven’s sake. Were the seals consulted on this? Anyway, I backed away quickly while saying soothing lies about how I was just there as a representative for Seal Monthly Magazine looking for a cover model. This is, by the way, what I tell the gulls too, only then I call it Gull Monthly. The gulls believe it. The seals, not so much. I don’t tell the ravens that. Never lie to ravens, is my motto. And don’t expect an answer when you ask why a raven is soaking wet, like the one below. He will scowl at you and fly heavily away, dripping water.
Then I hiked back to the campsite and tomorrow I am going to go out early early in the morning and see if the seals are in a better mood. I am pretty sure they will be better lit, anyway. Tomorrow I am getting back onto Route 1 for the very last little bit of it (which is supposed to be super fucking hairy, so I’m a little nervous) and then it will join up with Route 101 and cease to exist. Tomorrow, I will be among the redwoods. New biosphere! Wheee!
* While thinking about death – yeah, I know, the most beautiful place in the world and I’m all Morrisseying out, a dreaded sunny day – it occurred to me that it might be a good idea if people actually knew not only where I was at the moment but where I am planning to be in the near future. So I’m going to start putting that up here on the blog when I can or on twitter if I can’t get to the blog for impossible wifi reasons. SO ANYWAY tomorrow, Feb. 2, the plan is to drive up Highway 1 past Leggett CA and through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and stop at one of the RV parks just on the other side of it. I don’t know yet if I’ll be there just for one night or for two. Doubt it will be more than two. If Route One is too terrifying to get that far I will stop at the Benbow KOA for the night but with a little gods given luck – and half a klonopin – I should make it to the redwoods.