Monday, February 11, 2013

Bodega Bay to Sea Ranch

Sea Ranch Lodge, Sea Ranch, California

I wake up thinking of Dexter Fowler. It's a little after 5 a.m., and I need to make a few final tweaks before filing my article on the Rockies' enigmatic center fielder. This I do while seated on the linoleum floor of our cottage in Bodega Bay. There's nothing special about writing while seated on linoleum, I'm just operating within the parameters of the room.

Today we will see the first of many Pacific Coast lighthouses. As usual, I am eager to get an early start and so wake Sandra once Fowler is no longer my problem.

Breakfast options in town are limited. We walk to a corner store just beyond the Sandpiper and ponder various pastries before leaving with only a cup of Jeremiah's Pick French Roast coffee in hand.

It is just before 8 a.m. and the motel office isn't yet open, so we deposit our room key in the drop box and return to the road. Large predatory birds soar overhead. The scent of saltwater and pine permeates the air.

Why doesn't Barney like hats? It's a question we'll never answer.

We drive through Salt Point State Park but do not stop. We miss Stewarts Point, with its general store on the west side of the highway and its post office on the east side. We miss Jenner and Fort Ross, we miss Kruse Rhododendron Natural Reserve.

What we miss in stops we make up for in views from the road. After an hour and a half of winding along cliffs overlooking the ocean, we stop at Sea Ranch Lodge. The benefits of this establishment are that it is here and it claims to serve brunch.

The smartly dressed woman at reception is having a hard time. This seems like the sort of place whose customers might give the woman at reception a hard time.

An anonymous online reviewer laments the absence of in-room televisions and poor cell phone service. Why someone would come here to watch TV or talk on the phone remains, like Barney's aversion to hats, one of life's great mysteries.

Blue Point Grill, within the lodge, is a different story. We are greeted with a smile and guided to a table whose sweeping panoramic views of the coast nearly overwhelm.

Sandra orders Eggs Benedict, I get corned beef hash. Both taste delicious. This might be a function of our hunger, the view, and our being in no hurry to get anywhere. Or, the food might just be good.

Time and responsibility are distant concepts, barely perceptible from this perspective. They continue to exist, of course, but don't seem real. It's a nice feeling to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Even baseball has faded into the background. I've already forgotten about the Fowler article. I'm aware that Kevin Youkilis was traded and that the Padres beat the Mariners in their latest Vedder Cup match, but breakfast and the ocean view keep me from caring.

Not all of baseball has faded, though. Long-time Padres bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds died yesterday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Although I never knew him, I knew people who did, and all spoke well of the man.

The temperature today is in the mid-50s. The sky is laden with thick clouds, providing a superficially apt metaphor for Akerfelds' passing. Occasionally the sun peaks through; given what I've heard about him, this seems an even better metaphor.

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