Day 4 :: 24 January 2007 :: Point Arena to Castro Valley
aka "We've got cows!"
ML was back in the morning with a decent vengeance. And I slept like a baby, btw. Never even heard the fog horn. *hee* Anyway, we got up and headed out to take some pictures of the lighthouse and the surrounding area. There was a little cove to the northeast of the lighthouse where we got a lot of nice shots. And we saw a harbor seal out on one of the rocks. Got quite a few nice shots of him. Such a beauty! Jenn also saw a mole digging around in the yard while we were packing up again.
We went up into the lighthouse for a tour. 6 stories up, 145 steps. And we didn't get to go all the way up to the light either, just below it. We got to lean out the doorway [the 'catwalk' is no longer safe to walk on unfortunately] and took more pics of even more harbor seals hunting/playing in the kelp beds. We got to hear a lot of the history of the lighthouse, which I always adore. And we found out that on our way south on the 1 toward the lighthouse, we crossed a bridge [the Alder Creek bridge] that was actually us crossing the San Andreas Fault!!! Eeeek!!! We spent a great deal of money in the lighthouse gift shop once again.
I can honestly say that I would highly recommend doing something like spending the night in a lighthouse and/or the keeper's quarters, particularly if you like the sea or lighthouses. It was rather expensive [nearly $300 for the night], but really frakking worth every last penny IMHO.
Once we left the lighthouse, we continued south into the actual town of Point Arena and stopped out at the wharf to get some water and sand, since we couldn't get close to the water out by the lighthouse itself. Actually, there'd been a spot where we could have gone down to the water on our drive back up to the 1 from the lighthouse. We found it because we heard harbor seals barking, and saw a couple dozen of them basking in the shallows and on rocks by the shore. I wanted to see if I could take pictures, when we noticed people had gone over the fence to stand along the cliff side and start to climb down. Then we noticed the seals frantically barking and moving back toward the water. Turns out the frakking rude people that couldn't keep on the correct side of the fence also couldn't follow the rule of keeping their frakking dog on a leash. Yeah, you guessed it. They let their dog go and it was running out into the surf by the seals. And they were doing nothing to stop it that we could see. I can't deny the very visceral, very intense desire that one of those seals actually hurt that dog. But as Jenn put it, the moronic people would then want to hurt/kill the seals for hurting their dog, so it was better that the seals just went back out into the water…and we continue on our journey. But we certainly bitched about those frakking morons for quite a while…
But back to the wharf now… So we found this great little rock-strewn beach at the wharf to get some water. We found a few pieces of sea glass, and some trash that we picked up. And then we found the shell pieces… Abalone pieces, to be exact. We didn't find anything living, mind you. And if we had found something living, we'd have left it the frak alone. Period. But we got the shell pieces [mostly under the size of a quarter] and sea glass instead of sand. Hopefully, we can use some of the shell pieces in our jewelry work…
So we continued on our merry way down the 1 along the coast on our way to the San Francisco area. We saw a lot of hawks and turkey vultures. And then, we see some fences for cattle ranches, in the mountains. We thought this was a bit odd, but figured whatever works, right? Then we drive thru a gate over those bars in the road that keep cows from going over them. Oookay then… And we see no more fences next to the road, but we do see some cows on the hills and such. There's one that's on the side of the road, probably about 10-ish feet from my side of the car, just chewing on grass. We slowed down a bit and I rolled down my window and said, "Hello, cow!" The cow looked up at me with that expression of "Frakking tourists!" and went back to chewing his/her cud. We cackled merrily and continued on our way. At one point, we went around a curve and came to a slow, easy stop. Because there was a cow in the road, walking directly in our lane toward us. Another SUV was in the other lane, so we were going to wait for him to go thru, then slip into his lane and let the cow continue on its way. But the cow kind of gave us that "Okay, fine!" look and ambled off onto the shoulder by my side of the car. We waved at the cow and continued on. We went thru a couple of ranches that way, but didn't see anymore cows in the road after that.
There was another curve that we took with a big old cement mixer coming toward us from the other lane, only it was partially in our lane and we didn't have anywhere to go, being right on the edge of the cliff and all. Scared a few years off Jenn's life, let me tell you!
We finally got reception back as we got thru the mountains and detours, probably about an hour or so outside of civilization, aka San Francisco. By this time, it was dark again, and we got to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in the dark. That was kewl. We basically meandered our way thru town and took the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge over to the other side of the bay and made our way down to Castro Valley, where we spent the night.