Day 143 – Pacific Coast Highway Part 2, April 19, 2011
I started out the day visiting Point Reyes National Seashore, located on the edge of the San Andreas Fault. This enormous area was originally inhabited by the Miwoks. Francis Drake arrived in the area around 1579, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno’s ship wrecked here in 1595, and finally Don Sabastian Vizcaino gave Point Reyes its name in 1603.
I only explored a beach where dogs were allowed. As I began the 16 mile drive to Point Reyes Beach South, the sky was somewhat clear. By the time I passed acres of pastureland home to cows, sheep, and goats, I arrived at fog encompassed, sandy beach. Being surrounded in fog, green grass, and ocean, I felt like I was in Ireland. Petey and I trudged through the sand composed of a variety of different rocks, but it was so thick, even down by the water where it appeared to be packed, we sunk about an inch. I’m not in shape for that! The park offered a variety of other options to visit as well; the lighthouse where seals and sea lions bask in the sun below and trails through pasture lands, ridges and valleys, and forests and meadowlands. I could have easily spent the whole day there.
After enjoying the crashing surf, we returned toward the visitor center, but not before stopping at Drake Oyster Farm. Chris and Tish, the folks I met at the campground last night, suggested I go. This is a place I would have otherwise passed by. A small brown sign points toward the oyster farm. I turned VANilla onto the one lane rocky road, and we bounced down to this shack that sold oysters, whole or on the half shell. The oysters were harvested right out of the Estero behind the shack. The oysters grow on wire strings hanging from wooden platforms where they receive nutrients from the tide and where they are safe from starfish, crabs and stingrays which lurk on the bottom of the ocean. Since I didn’t have an oyster knife (which they were sold out of) and frankly I’ve never shucked an oyster, I ordered a half dozen on the half-shell. They definitely were different from the Gulf oysters I’m used to, but delicious none the less.
After lunch we continued North on Highway 1 to Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds”. Petey and I took a leisurely stroll around Spuds Point Marina, before hopping back in VANilla and following Route 116 east along the Russian River to Guerneville, CA. We had to make a detour to pick up an anti-biotic at the pharmacy for Petey. It turns out he has a urinary tract infection. The Reader’s Digest book suggested visiting the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve nearby and also noted a convenient campground, so we thought we would spend the night there. Due to budget cuts, the campground was currently closed, and it was clear the Safeway that posted signs in its parking lot, “Free 1 hour parking for Safeway shoppers” didn’t want campers for the evening. So Petey, VANilla, and I found a residential neighborhood and parked on the street for the night…a new experience for me! ETB