Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Blue's Labor Day weekend in NorCal Adventure - Day 2

Day 2 route.

We woke naturally on Saturday but had a mission. It's a long story, but without going into too many details, I'll tell some of it here. We were in Fort Bragg last weekend, after a Saturday night camping in the Camry. We had stopped into a thrift store on the south end of town and a book had caught my eye. Here's where I'll speed things up. I later looked up the book online and found out it is worth money. Enough money that we planned on swinging in on our way back through to grab it. So we were now 15 minutes away from the thrift store with about an hour and a half to kill.

Big Blue in Mendocino.

The Ultimate VW Camper for sale in Mendocino.

Our first stop up the road was Mendocino. The town often gets a bad rap for it’s tourism. It’s almost like the town is too cute for it’s own good. But I must say that Mendocino waking up is a pretty cool site. The coffee shop was the most alive, with folks getting their morning caffeine. Folks – most of them looking like they were on the lamb - were chilling out with worn-looking dogs. EP got some tea and we drove down to a “no parking” area, parked, and enjoyed to view. We didn’t waste much time, as we needed to move on to Fort Bragg. And the idea that Derrick – our hitchhiker from the night before, may be lurking around any corner, was on my mind. So we pushed on.

Fort Bragg waking up (note the 2 VW buses in this picture).

It’s not often we find ourselves both 1) fully awake and 2) with time to kill. It seems to me when I was a little kid, I had ample supplies of both. In Fort Bragg, we had both, arriving a good hour before the thrift store we needed to stop at was open. So we trolled the back streets of this working-class town, enjoying the ‘hood. We even stopped at a garage sale and came this close to purchasing an old pack of Polaroid film for $2.

Shortly after, we came upon a soccer game involving adults, so we decided to stop and watch. We spent a good hour watching people we didn’t know play soccer. I rooted for white, since the goalie seemed to be a little unstable.

When the time came, we went back to the thrift store, waited for the door to open, moseyed in like we weren’t looking for something specific, walked to the bookshelves and... It was there! I poked around a little more, afraid my play would be found out, then purchased the book. It will soon be on ebay to hopefully pay for some upgrades to the camper (I will let you know the results).

Not much north of Fort Bragg, we saw a sign that said, "EVENT TODAY". So we couldn't really pass it up. It turned out to be a horseshoe throwing contest. I was pretty good at this beer-drinking game back in college since we had some pits at our rented house, but these guys were beyond good. The contest hadn't started yet, but by the warm-ups I got the feeling that this was a Labor Day tradition that the participants looked forward to. Not only that - these guys were already doing some serious drinking (it was probably 9:45 in the morning?) Note the guy 2 pictures down, that's a beer he's draining!

Serious 'shoes north of Fort Bragg.

Just up the road from the horseshoe throwing contest, we pulled over at a book sale and found Jerry Kamstra's book, Weed: Adventures of a Dope Smuggler. We bought it for $1 and EP started reading from it back in the bus as we rolled along. The book has turned out to be excellent - a smuggler's tale set in 1960s Mexico. (Here's a pic of Jerry and a bus, but I don't know if it's his.) It became the "audio book" of our trip, and I look forward to hearing the end of it on our future camping adventures. We also picked up an old game, "Boggle", for $1, which we would try later that night.

The musty, worn copy of Weed we picked up for a dollar.

After that, we headed north on the 1, now on the move to our campsite. We had tunes – Regina Spektor, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and even some Eagles - for the trip in between EP reading our new book.

Highway 1 turns away from the ocean to meet back up with the 101, and we climbed the hills that keep the coast moist and foggy. Soon after, we hit some light rain and we decided to pull and make lunch. This also gave me a chance to check the tape below Blue's windshield. We pulled off in the mountains and chilled out for a bit.

We made campground X long before sundown (I have no idea of time at this point). I'll refer to it as campground X here, since we were surprised to find people there and must fight to keep it secret. I will be happy to share with VW campers who want it (email at bigbluevw -at- Anyway, this would be our home for the next 48 hours. We hung out on the beach. The weather was amazing for Northern California on the coast - warm, sunny. Per-fect.

Below is a collection of some scary 80s love song-style beach scenes.

What it looks like when you shut off after 65 hour work weeks...

EP flying kite.

Random beach shot.

Here was Big Blue's camping zone. Nevermind the stick in the top. I'm not sure why we put that there..

We played a little Boggle before crawling into bed to the sound of the ocean...



I love everything about this post - old book, thrift store, old Riviera, camping, ocean & boggle - does life get better?

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