Monday, February 18, 2013

Point Arena to Fort Bragg

I trust the opportunity will be afforded to you to render the country such service as will compensate you for your long trials and the self denial with which you have labored to support the cause in which we are enlisted. –Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, in a letter to General Braxton Bragg dated August 5, 1862

We can redeem the past: let us concentrate all our available men, unite them with this gallant little Army, still full of zeal, and burning to redeem its lost character and prestige & hurl the whole upon the enemy, and crush him in his power and his glory. –Bragg to Davis, as quoted in a letter from Davis to General Joseph E. Johnston dated December 23, 1863

The rivers come in a variety of names. Some of them (Garcia, Navarro, Albion) show slightly more imagination than others (Little, Big).

After the rivers, we come to Fort Bragg, a lumber and fishing town of about 7,000 residents. Originally home to the Pomo Indians, it became Mendocino County's first military outpost in 1857. A decade later, the fort was abandoned, opening the door for an emerging lumber industry.

The town is named after Braxton Bragg, who served as a general in the Confederate States Army and at one time was military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. It isn't the sort of name one expects to find along the Northern California coast, but in 1857, the Civil War was a few years away and Bragg was still a hero in the United States for his efforts in the Mexican-American War.

Here we see our first fast-food joints since San Francisco. We also see Piaci Pub and Pizzeria, which takes cash only and which–true to its name–serves pizza and beer. It's a tiny joint in a tiny town, at the end of the road.

Sandra and I share an 8-inch New Yorker. Pepperoni, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and herbs. The tomato sauce is thick and rich, the crust is thin and crispy.

The beer is equally tasty. Sandra has the Boont Amber, I have the Trumer Pils. Piaci serves half-pints, perfect for lunch.

We sit at a table by the window, staring out at what has become a gloomy day. The bar behind us is filled with regulars, and the strains of '70s album rock permeate the room.

East of Eden and Murder, She Wrote were filmed in this town. So were other, more obscure titles such as Soul of the Beast (featuring Cullen Landis, who was later the male lead in The Lights of New York, the first all-talking movie) and the screamy '80s horror flick Humanoids from the Deep.

After Sandra strolls about town for a bit and I take a nap in the car, we return to the main highway and continue north. On our way out of town we pass North Coast Brewing, a place I wouldn't have minded visiting had I remembered it was here. Then again, we still have 140 miles to drive this afternoon, so maybe it's best I'd forgotten.

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