A night of adventure
Someone once said the real adventure doesn’t begin until things start going wrong. Well, if that’s the case last night we had a little adventure.
Yesterday began with a miserable night sleep. We were parked in Mill Valley in front of a friend’s house. With the spring wind rocking the trailer, a still wonky bed and too-much on my mind I slept all of 30 minutes. We planned to do some last errands before heading out to Marshall in west Marin County to stay at the Straus Home Ranch. The ranch was the childhood home of my friend Michael Straus whose brother Albert now runs the excellent Straus Family Creamery. We were going to stay there for a night or two and soak up all that west Marin has to offer. With places like Straus, Marin Sun Farms, Hog Island Oysters, and the excellent Osteria Stellina restaurant, west Marin is definitely food forward.
Before we could head out Deirdre spent another hour with AT&T in what had become a multi-day effort to get her business line switched over to an iPhone. After much browbeating she finally left with a new phone in hand. Meanwhile, the trailer was parked at Brandon’s tires in San Rafael. The sidewalls of the tires were cracked and worn and driving around I couldn’t help worry about the inevitable blow-out. In spite of our tight budget we had to get new tires.
I called around to half a dozen places and Brandon’s was the cheapest and had tires in stock. Apparently trailer tires often require a special order. They quoted me $341 for four tires, but when they saw the old school split rims on the trailer they said it would cost a bit more and take longer. They called the rims “widow makers” because they can be dangerous to work with and especially dangerous in a blow out. We also needed new tubes because the ones we had were cracked and worn. More blow-out fodder. So the tires cost a bit more, but they really put my mind at ease.
New tires and new iPhone in hand, we lumbered west on Sir Francis Drake Blvd., the gateway road to west Marin County and the Point Reyes area. It was about 5pm by the time we got underway and I wanted to go to the Straus ranch first to get set up and then go to dinner. I do not like pulling the trailer into unfamiliar places after dark. But the kids were hungry and the lure of Stellina in Point Reyes Station was strong. Stellina is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere with a locally derived menu of west Marin-influenced Italian food. Lagunitas IPA on tap, too.
With full bellies and the sun setting through dark clouds over Tomales Bay, we wound north along a very narrow Highway 1 to Marshall. Our instructions were to take a right turn up a dirt road right before Nick’s Cove restaurant. Now that it was pretty much dark I missed the turn. Since Highway 1 is a single lane road in these parts, flipping the trailer around is no easy task, especially since the highway threads a narrow path between Tomales Bay on one side and hills on the other. But I was able to turn around and slowed down to look again for the turn off. Deirdre spotted what she thought was the turn but I wasn’t willing to commit to a narrow dirt road in the dark so I drove past it. Turns out it was the right turn. Now I had to find another wide spot in the road to make another u-turn. Eight or so miles later I found one and headed back and found the turnoff once again.
It was close to 9pm at this point and very dark. My instructions were to park in front of the big barn. I found the barn, but I didn’t find a place to park. There was very little flat land for the trailer. I spied on a spot up a little hill that I thought could work. By this time the rumble of my Dodge 2500 turbo diesel had brought a neighbor out of her house. Sorry. She was kind enough to give me the lay of the land. I did my best to back the trailer up the hill but the spot was too narrow and not level enough for the trailer. So we left.
Dead tired, my Lagunitas IPA buzz long extinguished and Everett and Ava sleeping in the back seat, we limped down to Olema to stay at an RV park. It was a welcome sight after a long day and night. Full hook-ups and plenty of flat ground, too. A long night sleep followed.