Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Athanasia, Basil Wenceslas, Anselm Samuel, and I arrived at home about 5 hours ago. Several days ago we departed on a northern heading. We traveled up the Juniperro Serra Highway from San Jose to San Francisco (I love all the Spanish names in California.), where we crossed to Golden Gate Bridge, motored through the Rainbow Tunnel, and continued north on the Redwood Highway.

When we got to Cloverdale, which is one of the Best Small Towns in America, we spent the night on the worst motel bed ever. The mattress kept slipping off the box springs. I'm not kidding. Other thanthat it wasa pleasant stay and a treat for the boys, who love motels. We woke up late and when we gotin the car we adjusted course to the northwest and drove through the Anderson Valley on State Road 128. We stopped at Booneville for breakfast/lunch and encountered many wanna-be Rastafarians who had descended on the little town for a Raggae festival at the Apple Show grounds. (I wonder how many of those kids knows Bob Marley turned away from Rastafarianism and died an Orthodox Christian.) After a pleasant and leisurely drive through the Hendy Redwods and along the Navarro River we reached the Pacific Ocean and turned north on the PCH.

Along the way we took a short detour at the Philo Apple Farm and took a walk around. We met a very big friendly dog that wrestled the boys to the ground and decided I was his best friend. We saw an interesting, and rustic (it was made from old barrel hoops) oil lamp chanelier that might have applicationin the Orthodox Church. I hada short conversation with the farmer about diesel engines. She says she would like to run hers on grease from resturaunts but there is a bio-diesel company in the county that has contracts with every single resturaunt along 128. He buys it all.

We reached Russian Gulch about 2 p.m on Saturday and began to unpack all our supplies. Athanasia noticed I forgot to pack some essential cooking items, such as a knife and tongs. So she ran into a market in Ft. Bragg to buy them. While she was gone I set up the tent and got the campsite organized. That's when I noticed I forgot to pack my sleeping bag. So, when Athanasia returned to the campsite it was my turn to go to Ft. Bragg.

That night we read to the boys, and I read much of one of my school books. It was cold and foggy. I was glad I had a sleeping bag.

Sunday morning we said morning prayers (The long ones from the Jordanville prayerbook) and were joined by a Polish Catholic man who was camping near us. After prayers we ate breakfast, cleaned up after breakfast, and then I went into Medocino to an internet cafe to do homework. (I wrote and submitted a review of this book for my Roman history class.) While I was doing homework Athanasia and the boys were at the beach at the mouth of the little river that runs trough the gulch.

While they were at the beach and I was in Mendocino doing homework, the rest of our pary arrived. My god daughters and their parents came to spend a couple of days with us. It was muchfun to get to spend so much time with them. Anselm and basil play well with them. That night, when everyone went to bed, I did more reading for school beside the fire, while Athanasia read Ozma of Oz to the boys in the tent. When she grew too tired I took over for her.

On Monday I slept in and did not get out of bed. I was whiped out from lack of sleep the night before. I had two large lattes while doing my school work at the internet caffe. Each of them had 4 shots of espresso. I keep forgetting that I am not 20 anymore and caffiene really does a number on me now. So, Sunday night was miserable for lack of sleep.

WHile I slept on Monday morning, everyone else went to Glass Beach at the north end of Ft. Bragg. They came back to camp with lots and lots of sea glass. My god daughters' father found a collection of tiny blue glass beads. In the afternoon, we walked up to the beach at the mouth of the gulch again. That night we made smores. Actually, I think we made smores every night.

Tuesday morning, we went to Potuguese Beach (AKA Driftwood Beach) at the bottom of the Medocino Headlands. We had a nice lunch on the beach and the kids all played among the giant driftwood logs. Many years ago, when I was 12 years old and my nephew, Daniel was 9 my parents took us to that beach and we erected a wall of logs. The boys and my god daughters were too small for that kind of exhausting work, but theyhadfun nonetheless. Except for when Basil was stung by a jellyfish. But it was a mild reaction, causing only a scream and a rash on his leg. He had me make the sghn of the Cross on it ("Heal me, Daddy!) and he was back to playing in no time at all.

My god daughters' and their parents left for home after lunch but Athanasia and the boys and I stayed there by the water for a while longer. Then we went back to the tent for our last night. More reading to the boys. Sweet sleep.

This morning we broke camp and I took my first shower since Cloverdale. The north coast does not ever suffer water shortages, thus the shower at Russian Gulch State Park was like a warm hurricane. There was no flow governor on the showerhead so the water shout out of it like nothing I've seen in years. It was wonderful. I was not alone in the shower, though. An ariolimax columbianus. But he/she didn't bother me and I didn't bother him/her.

We drove back the way we went, mostly. We stopped at the Floodgate, a really good Mexican place just northwest of Philo for lunch/breakfast, and we stopped in Boonville so Athanasia could buy a 6-pack of her favorite beer at the brewery.

We stopped at Cloverdale for fuel and coffee and got back onthe Redwood highway, headed south this time. But we didn't take it all the way in to San Francisco. On other drives along this stretch of 101 we had noticed a giant building off across the Alexander Valley (at the Geyeserville exit) and had been curious about it. So today, we decided to drive across the valley and find out what it was. It was a beautiful drive through Geyserville and all the small wineries, but we were very dissapointed when we ascended the hill and discovered that the huge building was just an Indian casino. We didn't bother getting out of the car. Instead, we drove down to Healdsburg and got back on the Redwood Highway there.

When we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge heading into The City the fog was comming in and we couldn't see the tops of the towers. The boys thought that was very cool. We took another detour from our route in San Francisco and and stopped at La Boulange in Cole Valley to get the boys a little treat. Then we just drove on home to San Jose, where I was greeted by a tennant with a leak in her kitchen drain.

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