My California Adventure
Posted on July 21, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 18 Comments
Here you see my friends Monica and Kevin (with Deven Desai, center, as officiant) just about to get married. Kevin I’ve known since the first day of high school, and is one of my closest friends; Monica is the gal he’s extraordinarily lucky to have gotten. These two are the reason I and my family hied ourselves to California last week.
It was also a chance for me to see part of California I’d never seen before, namely the coast north of San Francisco. We spent a couple of days in Mendocino and then a couple of days in Fort Bragg, and both were just lovely, and I recommend them if you’ve never been up in that direction. Just remember to bring lots of cash money, particularly for Mendocino, which looks like it’s populated by hippies but is in fact peopled with aggressive capitalists who don’t like credit card companies taking any of their money via transactional fees.
It was also a chance to spend some quality time with old friends. One of the downsides of being far flung, as so many of my friends are (actually, inasmuch as I’m a California boy currently living in Ohio, I am the well-flung one) is that the amount of time you get to spend in their actual physical presence is pretty limited. So I got to see some friends I’ve not seen literally in years, even if I’ve been keeping tabs on them via Those Crazy Internets, and well. I love me some Internets, but there’s no beating actual face time.
For fans of Zoe’s Tale, you’ll be interested to know I finally gave a copy of the book to my friend Magdy, whose name I borrowed for a major character, and who was there for the weekend. He told me a funny story in which one of the doctors he works with (he’s a cardiologist) came up to him and asked him if he knew me. Magdy said yes, to which the other doctor replied that he figured that had to be the case, because really, how many guys named “Magdy” are there? It’s funny how these connections get made.
One minor sadness was that due to the schedule of the wedding and its location, I didn’t have a chance to see some of the other people I like in California, including family and friends. California: Big damn state, not a state like, say, Connecticut, which does allow for easy popping about in. Hopefully I’ll catch more of my California folks the next time I’m out.
In any event: A lovely weekend, and I’m over the moon for Kevin and Monica. It’s great to be married, and it’s great these two are now married to each other.
(Picture credit: Kathy Hollenbaugh Sullivan)
Northern California’s dead gorgeous. NorCal beaches have it all over SoCal beaches, what with their “surfing” and their “warm weather” and all that. Give me rocks and cold sand and crashing waves anytime. My wife is from Sonoma County and every time we’re out there, the beauty of the place just blows my mind. And I’m from Colorado, the single most naturally beautiful spot on God’s Green Earth, so that should tell you something.
Subtitle: “In which I reveal myself to be very well-flung”
Congrats to them!
I love that area. We were in Mendicino almost exactly a week before you were. We stayed at the inn across the river, which has llamas and a million ravens…on the way out, we took the boy to glass beach in Fort Brag. Did you go to the music festival at all? We didn’t, but we could hear the drums from our room…for some reason, only the sound from the big drums made it across the river.
Did you take Athena? That area is really fun for kids…at least my son thinks so.
Great area and your right the capitalist up there will kill you. They sneak up on you and jack your cash. Damn wood carvings.
Well, the bookstore took my Amex, which was awesome as it had the one Ian M. Banks book I had not previously read!
As my wife would say:
Mendicino Co. is “Hippy gone Yuppy”, they traded their VW micro-buses for Volvos years ago.
I know a dentist named Magdy. Very pleasant gentleman. The world could use more Magdys.
You should, or perhaps have already, read some of Christopher Moore’s books, I think Practical Demonkeeping, the Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and the Dumbest Angel are all set in this type of area. Very funny stuff, unless you are really, really Christian.
Zoe’s Tale was awesome.
Ah, you were up in my neck of the woods…well, where I grew up and where my folks remain. Gorgeous, indeed. Glad you enjoyed the trip!
This is a large state, yes. :-)
May God grant Monica and Kevin many happy years together!
There’s too much California for any sized trip; I live here, and I don’t get enough of it.
That said, Mendicino is a nice place to hang out, if touristized badly. But like all the tourist spots, there are non-touristy places the locals go.
The Big River beach there on the south side of town is pretty distinctive; when you posted the photo, the two points to the south and the road along the first point just jumped out at me. The sandbar filled in some, it looks like, but it’s a nice beach. How warm was it up there when you were there? I’ve tended to end up going through in spring or fall when it wasn’t really beach weather, but even in the fog it’s nice to hang out and watch waves.
I live south of San Fran, and just happened to be vacationing up in Manchester Beach (in Mendocino county), and happened to spend a day in Fort Bragg at the same time.
I guess it is best for both of us that we didn’t run into each other (me ’cause I would have been embarrassed and tongue tied, and you because you would have had to suffer with watching me embarrassed and tongue tied)
“Hey are y-y-you John Scalzi?”
And as much as I like to imagine that I would have managed to just very breifly tell you I loved your books and shut up after that and let you get on with you day, I’m oh-so-very-fond of “that one last comment”, so again, you luck out in not having run into me :-)
Fort Bragg has both a glass beach and an agate beach. Very nice for those of us who like to pick up pretty rocks.
A bit of a coincidence (I must be the umpteenth person with a post like this), I just drove through Mendocino and Fort Bragg today on my first ever exploration of the Pacific Coast. They are very lovely places! Being from not-America it’s not every day that I can get to see such nice scenery, though I wish I had listened to my GPS when it told me that California Route 1 is much much slower than US101, I ended up getting to my hotel at about 8pm rather than at about 5pm. C’est la vie.
Also, tomorrow I am looking forward to my In-n-Out burger. Largely due to this blog’s incidious influences I will be going out of my way to find my first ever Double-double (Animal style of course) since I’m in the right part of the world for it.
Everyone should drive Route 1 at least once.
That said, if you haven’t done country road driving, please don’t do it when I’m doing it, as I tend to drive it faster.
Everyone should indeed drive Route 1 at least once. However, it’s only the beginning – turn off 1 near Rockport (just after it’s curved back east/inland) for Usal Beach, the south end of the Lost Coast. If your vehicle is high-clearance, keep heading north on the fire roads to Whitethorn and eventually Honeydew. After that the road gets better through Petrolia to Ferndale – one of the most beautiful seaside loops in the lower 48, and hardly anyone knows it’s there.
I so totally miss living in NoCal it’s not even funny.
Just reporting in that Double Doubles are quite good, much better than I expected from a fast food chain burger!
Also the square mile that has Google HQ, this In-N-Out burger, the Computer History Museum and NASA’s Ames research facility is an impressive square mile!