Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Too Cute Takes the Curves

Well I have to start with the part that is not recorded with any pictures. My day with the TOO CUTE and Don-who thought he was driving in THE GRAND PRIX! I did at one time suggest to him that I thought a curvy sign with 20 MPH speed might be at least a strong suggestion that 40 MPH was just a tad too fast. I'm not sure exactly what about the TOO CUTE was so tempting for my Don. But just suffice it to say that we took those curves REAL FAST! Think it's probably the short wheel base that was the motivation for one of Don's comments- "you sure can take these corners tight in this car". We all know that those speed limits are what they believe is the fastest that some big SUV should do. After all, those people that drive those SUVs just really aren't quite with it or why in the world would they have bought them in the first place? So it's easy to understand why they need a little more time to drive around a little curve in the road.

So we did test the TOO CUTE out on the road as we took the trek over the coast mountains and then up the coast highway to Point Reyes Lighthouse. And we did make it to the Lighthouse- FINALLY. This was our third or fourth trip to Point Reyes- but it was the first time we actually were able to go down to the light house. We arrived too late the prior times- and the last time was with Brandy and Will- and it was so foggy and so windy that I stayed in the car while they pushed ahead (and saw nothing- too foggy). Well today was our day! There was fog- so the horn was blaring to warn the ships, but we did get there. This place is called Point Reyes because it is a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific about 1o miles as a large rocky cliff. The top of the point where the lighthouse is located is about 700 feet above the ocean. The shore line has numerous large rocks around it which the ocean is constantly crashing into. It is a beautiful place, but also a place that has had many ship wrecks. The whole piece of land that makes up Point Reyes is in the shape of a short triangle that parallels the coast of California. For those you who are interested in more details go to: For the rest of you, the most interesting part is that this piece of land forms a long bay (Tomales Bay) and the San Andreas fault runs right along the bay between Point Reyes and California. The fault has been somewhat responsible for the formation of the point and the bay, but as best as I can find, it all happened quite a few million years ago.

But first- on the trip out to the light house, we stopped at roadside stand and bought cherries- not local- but then Washington isn't that far away is it???

But the highlight was getting down to the actual lighthouse.

But first the warning to the less than committed...Like I said, the cliff is 700 feet high, but the lighthouse isn't at the top, it's down the cliff about 300 ft.


And we made it to the lighthouse...

And the original drawings of the plans for the lighthouse and the actual lens that was originally put in place to shine the light of four wicks that burned lard oil! The lens was so powerful that the light could be seen for 24 miles out into the ocean.

And the light they use now (this is still an operational lighthouse- and this still is the windiest-133 mph up to and foggiest spot in the USA!) This light is obviously electric and rotates from an electric motor, a motor that was broken when we visited. The original mechanism was used from 1859 until 1975. The lens, which weights 6,000 pounds was rotated by the clock style mechanism that used weights to drive it, much like a grandfather clock. This 6,000 pound mechanism, assembled in 1859 is so well balanced, that the park ranger indicated that she could easily turn it with a simple push of her hand.

We are going back- and in the winter and spring. I'm going to be up there waiting for the grey whales to swim by right along the coast on their way to and from Baja and the Arctic sea- but you'll just have to wait for that- as will I.

But after the lighthouse it was time for the hunt for the oyster. I had remembered stopping at a small roadside restaurant and eating oysters some years ago- like probably 14+ years ago- but I was determined to find it again- and Don would not abort the search until I did- and I wasn't about to. And we found it-

I have no idea where we found that little oyster place all those years ago, but Max was determined that we would find it, or one similar to it. Tomales Bay isn't very wide, but it is quite long and shallow, so it has been used for commercial oyster growers for years. I figured that while we were driving up Highway 1, there surely would be some hole in the wall oyster place along the way, and I wasn't about to give up until Max had given up. Just after we drove by the Tomales Bay Oyster Company, we came to Tony's. The parking area was packed with cars, and the restaurant sat on the water.

Not the same place- but a roadside spot- with oysters- BAR-B-Q OYSTERS!


Now the last time I ate an oyster, I was in New Orleans, and that oyster tasted remarkably like the Mississippi River mud smells. I haven't eaten an oyster since. Just the thought that these mollusks sit in the water as filter feeders just doesn't stimulate my appetite. I mean filter feeders have no discretion about what they eat. Whatever comes by in the water is fair game for them and I doubt if they ever spit anything out that tastes a little off. Maybe the water in Tamales Bay is fairly clean, at least cleaner than the U.S. sewer we call the Mississippi, but oysters just will not be part of my diet if I can help it.

We looked out at the Bay from our table. I did eat there, but it was fried calamari instead of oysters. We were both full when we left and I'm hopeful that has been satisfied by her oyster craving for a while. Oysters are the only food I ever graved when I was pregnant- and just one time with the second baby- Clint. I sat in a restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans and ate 18 raw oysters- all by myself- one right after the other. Now not to worry- I'm not pregnant- and I stopped at 8 oysters- 5 Bar-B-Q and 3 fried.

As we traveled back through the countryside toward San Francisco, we would see yards filled with "Naked Ladies"!

I remember the first time I saw a "Naked Lady". I was in Tulsa and Grandpa Lucas asked if he could show me a "naked lady". Well I knew Grandpa Lucas well enough to know there was some joke behind the twinkle in his eye. And he walked me around to the back yard and showed me my first "naked lady". Now Don and I have a few- tucked in the back- at Cincy. But I loved the yards filled here- with Grandpa Lucas' NAKED LADIES! How I do love that man!


fiddleheads said...

while i think "naked ladies" are beautiful i can't help but also love the peeks of the other plants coming in on the corners of the picture. the spikes of some unknown to me shrub and the large succulent in the back. they make me long to live in a climate that can grow sooo much. i have a jade plant in the sunniest spot of our apartment and you have neighbors who grow them as hedges...oh hum....
the lighthouse looks awesome. how was the hike back up?

Max's Dream said...

The hike up was no problem for us, but you should have seen some of the tourists trying to make the climb. I know, Max and I were there once, but now we can smirk due to our hiking these San Francisco hills.

The Life and Times of Poose and Hawk said...

I absolutely love the pic of Don walking down to the lighthouse! Pretty amazing-great trip!

Anonymous said...

We love the naked ladies! I have introduced them to my kids and you can often hear me yelling... "Look! Naked ladies!" as we drive by them in a garden.
Did you know Grandpa's naked ladies are still growing in the same spot on 13th street where he asked me if he could show me a naked lady years ago. We saw them in July!

Beyond The Strip said...

Sounds like a great day at Point Reyes. It was nice to see what we missed when we visited. I did a bit of fact checking on Don's claim that Point Reyes is the windiest place in the US..."With an average annual wind speed of 35.3 mph, Mount Washington's winds are the highest" according to a website I found. It also holds the fastest winds clocked in the US at 231 mph. I decided to also check out the foggiest place in the US..."Average number of hours of fog each year at Washington's Cape Disappointment, reported to be nation's foggiest spot at sea level." Beautiful non-the-less. love, b