I have grown to love Sacramento. However from time to time, you need to go back home. It had been nearly three months of self isolation in Sactown, work, home, Safeway, repeat. I needed out, I needed the ocean. A former San Franciscan, the Mighty Pacific has always had a calming effect on me like no other. If I were stressed, I would simply drive down to the Great Highway, crack the window and recline my seat and listen to the waves until I fell asleep. I needed to get out and hear something other about death. I rented a Chrysler and headed west.
There were more cars on the road than usual this weekend, as I approached Berkeley it dawned on me its was Memorial Day Weekend. Another, realization as I crossed the Bridge into San Francisco, the State of California due to Covid ,walled off the Ocean and closed parking. Due to the cool weather, finding a quiet place to park near the ocean usually isn’t a problem. I could access the beach, but I didn’t want to walk several blocks.
My mental hard drive was searching for a quiet beach. North was the result. The traffic in Marin County was not reassuring. Crossing into Sonoma Country allowed me to exhale.
I forgot the beauty of driving along Highway 116, the wineries and then surrounded by trees and foliage as you drive through Guerneville, and then follow along side the Russian River through Jenner as the river meets the mighty Pacific.
From the moment I saw the ocean, I could feel my world returning. Traffic was light in Sonoma County. Yes, the parking areas were blocked , but one could park along the roadway and walk a few feet to the beach.
My rented Chrysler was one of three cars at the beach. The blue was incredible as it crashed along the rocks. The few pictures taken with my LG wasn’t worthy of its beauty. There were people simply sitting and watching the blue. No reports of new Covid cases, or the death toll, no one was watching their phones. Just listening to the magical melody of the ocean.
Enjoying the views, I took the long way home. Driving along Highway 1, through small picturest towns including Bodega Bay where Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” was filmed. It seemed like every town had a white church. At one point, I wanted to turn around and repeat. But I knew I would return, the ocean wasn’t going anywhere soon.
In the last few years ,many of my friends have moved to Austin, Texas. I really like Austin and its weirdness, its a combination of Portland and San Francisco and I considered moving there. However, like any place ,where do you go when you need to see something else?
In Sacramento, my options are many. 90 minutes to the east is Tahoe, 90 minutes to the west is San Francisco and the ocean. Depending on the wine, we are 30 to 90 minutes drive to the wine country and if I want the freshest vegetables or fruits in the world, its minutes away . The American and the Sacramento Rivers cant be compared to the mighty Pacific but it can be nice place to spend the day. After several visits to Texas, there isn’t any comparison. California here I stay.