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A Brewing Mystery
"I think it's trying to tell me something," the Lady said as she climbed into our camper. We were getting settled in a campsite in Sonoma County's Westside Campground.
"What was trying to tell you something?" I asked as I checked the burner operation on the stove.
"The bottle of beer in the bushes outside," the Lady said matter-of-factly as she adjusted our bedding in the cabover.
"What, a bottle of bud saying 'throw me in the trash'?"
"No, it's a full bottle of Pliny the Elder, that beer that's always around Ted," the Lady answered.
"What?" I exclaimed and popped out of the truck with the camera.
"It scurried off after I took a photo," I noted as I climbed back aboard. "What would a bottle of Pliny be trying to tell you?"
"Maybe it wanted to seek 'safe harbor' with us non alcohol drinkers." The Lady chatted as the last setup chore was completed. "It's a mystery! Let's go for a walk now. Chores are done!"
This trip was truly a spur of the moment adventure. On our early morning walk we talked about what we might do the next day, Saturday. We are eager to going skiing, especially with waking to a skiff of new snow on the deck. But the new snow was the talk on all the social media and news broadcasts. Our mountain roads would be a zoo with traffic. Trapped in the mess, it could take us hours to get home - been there, done that.
"How about this?" I offered. "Let's take off for the coast this afternoon, just a quick trip to get away."
We wandered about Bodega Bay in the late afternoon. We always enjoy the colorful marina at Spud Point.
"There it is again, or maybe another one!" The Lady pointed to a bench overlooking the bay.
"There has to be a reason for Plinys here," I offered. "Let's see, the brewery is in Santa Rosa. Maybe the Plinys are migrating down the Russian River to the Pacific and we are seeing an evolving sea run subspecies of Pliny the Elders! Maybe they will head up Salmon Creek and establish a brewery in Freestone or Occidental!"
"Stop it!" the Lady scoffed. "You are over thinking everything and just trying to make a story out of this! Stop it! There's always a much simpler explanation."
The teacher had spoken.
We walked back along the edge of the bay. The winds were strong after the latest storm. We knew they were raging over on the Pacific side and a high surf warning was posted. But it was so good to get away.
Back at camp we put our towels and such together and walked down to the showers at the south end of the campground. Upon exiting the men's shower, this greeted me on the bench outside.
"Now what are you doing around here?" I asked the old gent. The bottle smiled and tilted a bit to the east. My eyes followed in that direction and the mystery was solved. The Lady was back in the camper when I returned. I opened the door and asked her to come with me.
"You aren't going to believe this one!" I said as we walked back to the south end of the campground.
Our friends the Teds were just setting up in a campsite.This was a surprise! The Teds were here.
"With all these Plinys about, Ted has to be around here somewhere! We should have known!" we both said with welcoming hugs all around.
We woke Saturday morning to wind against the camper. The Lady and I like the location of Westside Campground as we have discovered the system of trails that give access to areas that are relatively empty of other visitors.We were spending the whole day hiking from camp and exploring. The Teds were off on their own, exploring, and searching out fresh crab and kites.
The Bodega Dunes are an amazing place. The trails are not well marked but with the roar of the high surf, audible above the roaring wind, we knew what direction to head.
Salmon Creek Beach was empty of people and all ours.
Large chunks of redwood burl dotted the beach.
A group on horseback approached from the north.
It looked like two young women had paid for a horseback ride on the beach.
The young dude wrangler - and definitely dressed for the role - tied his mount to attend to the women.
His horse was experienced and with an expert roll of its head and neck the hitch was undone.
"Hey partner," I called. "Your hitch is undone."
The young fellow ignored my observation. The Lady added more.
"When your horse is loose and untied," she asked. "Will it stay put or take off back to the barn?"
This wasn't helping his image but he quickly attended to his mount.
They got on with their picture taking and we continued our walk up the beach. It appeared the big boss man was coming out to check on how the ride was going. He looked like he had worked in the saddle many years.
We watched as the group moved into the distance surrounded by wind and salt spray, just like us.
We walked north and then turned inland, crossed through the dunes, and looped back to the south. We crossed through the Marine Reserve and looked down on Horseshoe Cove and the University of California Marine Laboratory.
We also had a nice view of Bodega Bay's entry into the Pacific.
We ended at Bodega Head and the busy parking area, even with the cold windy conditions.
It had been a wonderful day for us, hiking and wandering all day within sight of the ocean. We returned to the campground just as Ted and Donna were returning. Alas, no fresh crab for Ted. The wind and swells kept all the boats in port. And alas, the kite that Ted bought was a poor performer in the wind, refusing again and again to take to the sky.
After dark we wandered back over to the Teds and we all chatted into the evening.
The weather was much improved Sunday morning. The wind had calmed. A few boats headed out at dawn.
We wandered around the marina in the early morning light, a ritual with our mugs of coffee.
We stopped by the Teds' camp and said our goodbyes, still remarking about the coincidence of us ending up at the same campground on a quick visit to the coast.
We slowly made our way toward home, refreshed and happy after a very nice spur of the moment trip.