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June 2008

Becky and Matt called to let us know they were on vacation in Oregon (searching for property).  They invited us to join them in Fort Bragg for a few days. Linda writes:   June 15th  Father's Day  I found a Petaluma cart for sale in Middletown below Clear Lake and we made arrangements to go look at it on our way by today.  The horse that pulls it is 14hh so we think it is too small for our horses.  Dave got the GPS all set up for us to make our way to Fort Bragg through the wine country.  Unfortunately, he put in a "check point" so far out of our way that I decided we really didn't need a cart right now and we continued on to the coast.  We got lost, in other words.  Dave called the guy and left a message that we weren't coming and I wondered if we had been near Middletown at that point how we would have found the place since the seller wouldn't give his address. 
    On towards the coast up 101 and crossing over on 128, a route we had never taken westwards before.  The sun came out just as we came upon an older gentleman who had stopped his PT Cruiser in the road with the emergency lights flashing and was standing behind it waving his hands.  Dave jumped out to see if he could help and the man said in a British accent, "My lights are all blinking."   After Dave told him they were his emergency flashers the man said "But I don't have an emergency."  Dave showed him the button and we were on our way again, our luck changed.  A quick pit stop at Navarro Winery where we tried to call Walt to ask him what kind of wine to buy that Becky would like, but he didn't answer.
     As we drove up Main Street in Fort Bragg, Dave called Matt's cell phone to find out where to meet.  Just as they made contact I saw Becky and Matt standing on the street corner talking to us on the phone.  We parked and greeted then walked around for a bit trying to find a place for lunch then wandered into the deli near the Skunk Train station for a bowl of chowder. 

    The Beachcomber Inn had a check-in time of 3:00 but we took both cars there and asked if one of the rooms might be ready.  It was, so we unloaded the cars into it and set up the back seats in my car for a trip to Mendocino.  After a walk on the headlands we found our favorite music shop Lark in the Morning.   Dave needed some new mandolin strings so we spent an entertaining hour playing with the instruments and chatting with the proprietor.      The Ocean Harp made the most eerie sounds and was reminiscent of a movie sound track for a science fiction film.  It was a brass jug half way filled with water that had wires welded onto the sides sticking straight up.  The wires were thick and could be played with a violin bow or a rubber mallet while the jug was turned by the neck on the top.  Matt was very good at coaxing a soothing sound out of it with the bow.  We all trooped over to the museum to use the restrooms and then did a little shopping and  walking to admire the flowers. 
The organic food store Corners of the Mouth is located in a church and is always worth the stop.  Dave bought his obligatory souvenir coffee mug there while the rest of us prowled through the choir loft and sniffed the herbs and spices.  Noyo Harbor lured us down the hill when we got back to Fort Bragg and we checked out Sharon's restaurant for VooDoo Salmon, but no luck.  The salmon fishery is closed and the sea food choices were limited.  We walked out on the breakwater under the bridge and decided on Captain Flint's fried food emporium for dinner. Dave and I always eat there once during our visits and everyone ordered my favorite Treasure Chest which included a sampler of deep fried shrimp, fish, oysters and scallops.  Becky and Matt enjoyed a Red Tail Ale with their meal.  After the rooms were sorted out and our things unpacked we walked out on the newly finished Pudding Creek Trestle.  It had been closed or under repair ever since we began staying in Fort Bragg so we hiked across it and around the south bluffs towards Glass Beach.  Becky and Matt were studying insects making paths in the sand and Dave and I were scrambling around on the bluffs.  We headed back to the hotel for our first "toast the coast" with some local ale.

     June 16th  Monday    The morning was slightly overcast but breakfast and the beach called.  Denny's hearty breakfast went down very nicely and fortified us for our walk on Glass Beach.  I always collect lots of sea glass. We drove up Oak street to look at Gretchen's mobile home and surrounding lot.  The neighbor said that the family had been there over the weekend.  The cabin is the original building on the site.
     Becky and Matt are hunting for property and saw a plot of land near the mouth of the Navarro River.  We stopped at the park there to walk across Highway 1 and scope it out.  There were many no trespassing signs posted and the land was listed as tidal flats so we gave it up and headed upland to the Navarro Ridge.  When Walt and Hedda were here last year we had explored this territory a few miles in off the highway.  After a few miles and no for sale signs Becky suggested that we follow the road back into the woods and have lunch at Philo. 

The signs didn't say that it wasn't a through road, only that certain vehicles were discouraged from trying it.  The road went from paved to pot holes to gravel to dirt to a dusty cut through the landscape for 15 -20 miles.  I was very glad we didn't meet any vehicles head on. 

We felt intrepid and kind of gritty after our adventure but our plans for lunch were dashed.  The restaurant in Philo was closed on Mondays.  Back to the coast on the Philo-Elk Road and a stop at the Greenwood Pier to see about lunch but it was almost three in the afternoon.  The wait-staff at the restaurant was just about to go off shift and the replacement hadn't shown up.  We were saved by the evening shift coming in a little early and had a lovely salad and soup or quiche or lasagna.  The gardens and flowers were as gorgeous as ever and we meandered through the shops happily sated.  After a walk on the bluffs and beach we decided that we could make dinner out of what we had in our room refrigerators.  It was a very nice meal with local and imported cheeses, bakery rolls, cherries, apples, almonds beer and wine.  Oh yes, of course we had chocolate.  The coast was toasted and the talk went on into the late evening.
June 17th  Tuesday.  We decided to spend another night at the Beachcomber instead of driving north.   The hotel had rooms but we would have to move. The new breakfast place was one Dave and I had passed many times, Café 1. It’s just south of the Glass Beach turnoff and has an organic menu, Thanksgiving Coffee and very 1950’s diner décor.  Delicious food and great coffee gave us a good start to our day.  We agreed that the Mendocino Botanical Gardens was worth a morning’s visit.
The gardens have had a change of directors and a little more ruthless pruning program than when we were here last year.  But everything was lovely and the Cliff House view of the north coast and flowers was as beautiful as ever.  The veggie garden was especially interesting with its raised beds and luscious lettuce.
Click here for a video of the cliff house view.

A quick stop at the Noyo Harbor to look at the boats preceded lunch at the North Coast Brewing company.  Dave and I took an after lunch bike ride north to MacKerricher State Park and then walked on the beach again.  I found the shells I had been hunting for years.  We had to leave the beach due to the incoming tide but I made plans to go back at low tide the next morning. Dinner was again in the room with wine, cheese, bread and lovely fresh fruit and veggies thanks to Matt. 

MacKerricher State Park
June 18th  Wednesday  I woke early and scampered down to the beach to do some successful shelling.  Breakfast was again at the Café 1 organic restaurant and most of us had the veggie omelet.  Wonderful.   We said our good byes at the hotel and headed to the Pomo Cliffs area for one last look at the ocean.  This is across the inlet from the Noyo Harbor breakwater and the local kayakers call it “Chicken Point” because it is where they decide whether to brave the open sea or chicken out and paddle up the river. 

The first delay was about a mile out of town on Highway 20.  They are widening the road and have narrowed the existing road to one lane.  The next delay was at Clear Lake where they have been working on the road ever since we began going to Fort Bragg.  We rolled into Arbuckle around 2:00 and chatted with Bub for a while then left by three to avoid Sacramento rush hour traffic.  The next delay was in Dunnigan on I-5.  But the hour long trip from the I-80 cutoff back to south bound I-5 was the worst.  The traffic jam was tremendous and tempers were heating up.  Bucky was glad to see us when we got home and we were glad to be there.

June 13, 2008. Friday was a training day for Dave and Tango. Tango thinks it is a pretty good trick. Lie down; get a treat!

June 6&7, 2008. Friday and Saturday we went to the horse show at Cal Expo.  We volunteered to work for the United Pegasus horse rescue and the picture shows us working at the booth.  Above is a picture of  the Mustang challange.  Mustangs were made available to twenty five trainers by BLM and were trained for 90 days.  Then, at the event, the horses were judged on their training and later sold at auction.

June 1, 2008. When we went to get "the boys" from their paddock they came to the gate as usual and discovered that the hot wire had been fixed. They took off like they were shot from a rocket.  Linda had thought to bring the camera, so we got some action shots.

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June 2008
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