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September 17, 2011 / annakpf11

Scotty Odyssey—Mendocino Coast

Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field 

—Miguel de Unamuno

“It’s so quiet,” Dave whispers upon waking. Indeed. Our campsite in Van Damme State Park is a slice of heaven any day, especially after the lively Cassini Camp. Our windows look out over a fairy tale meadow surrounded by spruce, pine and redwood.

We spend a day exploring the coast, starting with the village of Mendocino.

Strolling the streets with our cameras, we find much to admire in the historic architecture and weather-beaten charm of houses and storefronts.

At the far end of town, the Mendocino Headlands extend to the sea.

Raindrops splatter our truck’s windshield as we sit inside the cab eating sandwiches of avocado and sharp cheddar cheese on rye. Skies clear when we venture outside to explore the network of narrow dirt paths winding through tall blond grass.

Goldfinches cling to stalks of dried fennel. Basil runs free. He goes a little nuts, bounding and racing in circles as fast as he can. He is so happy, in such a pure state of canine joy, that to watch him transports us to a similar plane.

As always, when we find a place we like, we consider moving here. For about ten minutes.

Back at the campground, showers are coin operated—a new thrill for me—and I make the mistake of attempting one at dusk, after daylight has faded and before the automated lights have turned on. The room is so dim I can barely make out the wall-mounted coin meter. After feeding it with quarters, I turn on the tap and wait in the semi-darkness for the cold spray to heat up. Shivering and naked, I wait long enough to suspect hot water will not be forthcoming, and resign myself to a quick cold shower and no hair washing. Just as I’ve finished the deed, the water temperature warms slightly. A few more minutes and it’s tolerably hot, so I manage to wash my hair after all.

In the morning, treetops disappear into opaque mist. Dave drives to town in order to find phone signal for another business call; I prepare for another damp yoga session. My resistance to camping creeps back. Just  a little. And just for a little while.

Today we will drive all the way to Eureka, through a patchwork of coastal hills, evergreen trees and fields of gold grass. Reminiscent of Northern Marin County, but far more vast and far less prosperous.


Leave a Comment
  1. Jane Story / Sep 18 2011 3:32 pm

    Anna: Goodie…another post from you! Jane

  2. casaprice / Sep 18 2011 5:26 pm

    Love the photo of the historic houses in Mendocino; looks like a vintage, hand-painted postcard.

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