So Larry and I went on a road trip yesterday. We decide on a big circle, run the 20 to Fort Bragg, travel north along the coast to Leggett, and then circle back around to the lake. We pull big red out of the garage and hit the road. I want to make the trip interesting so I give Larry three challenges (you know my obsession with three). I want to stop at a new winery, browse an antique shop, and enjoy a cup of chowder along the coast. I know what you’re thinking, be careful what you wish for, and you are so right.
We cruise along Highway 20 in silence, enjoying the enormity of the majestic redwoods, until we slide into Fort Bragg on the edge of the coast. We’ve been there several times so we stop for coffee at our favorite place. This is when I see this shed type antique shop I’ve never noticed before and I insist we stop. I am charmed, Larry not so much, he walks down the street to check out a red Oldsmobile 442 convertible that’s for sale. We both leave empty handed but Larry is pleased to check one thing off the list. I’m not sure it counts if you don’t buy something but I keep those thoughts to myself. Marriage requires some restraint.
Just as I’m being lulled by the beauty of the coast, Larry screeches to a halt, and make a sharp left into a driveway. I’m jolted from my daydream, “What the hell?” He stumbled on the Pacific Star Winery, in the middle of nowhere, on a bluff, overlooking the ocean. For a minute I give him the ‘you are brilliant look,’ you know the one, a look I should give him every day, and don’t. This is preciesely why we’re on the journey.
We sip wine sitting on these Adirondack chairs, right on the edge of a cliff, watching the tides break over the rocky shore. Host Holly pours the wine, a wonderful woman, but she is not putting up with Larry’s distaste for Rose. She insists he try all the wines and in the listed order. She assures him he will not die from tasting fermented grapes. I think I love her. She also tells us exactly how we will spend the rest of our day. After inspecting a darling guest cottage located on the edge of the property, enjoying a small picnic of pepper cheese, salami, and Charbono wine, we hit the road with our new agenda.
As instructed, in thirty-three miles, we pull off Highway 1 onto a rocky dirt road. There is only room for one car although it’s the only way in and out. We travel along this road (that’s a stretch) for the better part of an hour. Half way up we see a work crew that is amazed we made it this far in a classic mustang convertible. We continue at a snail’s pace because the terrain is so rough. So I have nothing better to do but play with the metaphor of this drive. If marriage is like the vehicle we use to travel down the road of life, than you have to go slow over the rough spots, or risk permanent damage. Am I right? I mention my metaphor to Larry and I know he wishes he left me at the winery (me too). We are trying to find the Lost Coast (which I think is ironic), an area so heavily forested that the highway commission by-passed the entire peninsula, and the goal is this pristine beach where elk like to hang out.