On The Road to Point Arena for a Farmstay Experience

Picking up from eating oysters at a scenic viewpoint on a picnic table and bench on the side of the road (which was a bit of a journey to find and we were not in agreement about doing this initially—I had wanted to eat on Bodega Bay Oyster Company‘s grounds, even though there wasn’t anyone picnicking outside since it was a weekday; Aaron wanted to find a great view, but it took some time since most prospects required us to pay an entry fee of $7, which I didn’t want us to pay since we were just going to eat and go; plus, we were hungry), it was windy up there (and a bit chilly for me, though beautiful visually, which I focused on to make the most of the experience). We also ate homemade sandwiches we prepared and chips with mango salsa as we looked down at views of the beach, rocks, waves crashing against rocks, and seemingly endless ocean. Bonus: A seagull friend, patiently and quietly sitting nearby our picnic table and bench, welcomed us, showed us some tricks, groomed himself, and hung out. Apparently, at some point, he became frustrated we weren’t feeding him and had enough of waiting expectantly, so he decided to begin screaming at us, we presume, hoping this would do the trick. We did not feed the bird.

*Side note: I’m about to be candid with you, as promised I would be when starting our blog, which may be TMI for some of you, so please feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you feel you’d like to at this point.* Unfortunately, because of where we were in a random place off of Highway 1, I had to find a secluded spot to pee outside when I was feeling desperate (which was quite the challenge and not the most sanitary situation for me; Aaron, on the other hand, had no problem with it himself). Thankfully for me, most later spots we stopped off at along the coastal route had toilets, so this was not a recurring theme. 🙂

Something that stands out to me about this day is taking in driving along the coastal route; the beautiful ocean and beach scenery flowing by on our left while hugging the mountains on our right and passing through small, beachfront towns along the way. This went on for miles and miles. We loved breathing in the fresh air while outside and also in our car, as we often drove with the windows between cracked and all the way down. There were numerous signs on the highway for beach access along the way, so we eventually both decided we wanted to walk along a beach to break up the driving and made it happen when we didn’t miss the turnoff (this felt a bit frustrating for me when we did, being the driver at the time). At the first beach we stopped off at, Black Point Beach, we walked the full beach in both directions from where we entered. The views were of course beautifully picturesque and the sand felt warm on our feet for most of it. I walked into the wet sand and invited the cold water to engulf my feet (it was really cold but continued to get colder as we made our way up the California and Oregon Coasts). We were mindful about jellyfish on our beach stroll, as we saw many clear, gooey-looking blobs of them laying in the wet sand and took care to identify and not to step on them. We took photos of our views throughout our walk. Back to the car!

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We turned off onto a random road upon seeing a sign to follow it to a winery about 8 miles off of the highway. After a remote drive, we came upon Annapolis Winery. We were the only visitors in the tasting room and got the impression from our conversation and surroundings that there were few visitors that day. Our hostess was very friendly and eager to chat about the area, her life, Harry Potter (which she emphatically insisted we start reading and was utterly shocked we hadn’t already), etc. We were both feeling exhausted after intently listening and participating in the conversation (but really liked her and liked hearing about her experience as a local). The wines were okay (“pretty solid”, says Aaron) and we were happy to pay the $5 tasting fee each and be on our way (we may have bought a bottle if we were wine tasting in our “regular” lives, but we’re on the road and the temperature conditions in the car are usually unpredictable, constantly changing, and an effort to control; we didn’t want to have to worry about it going bad). She gave us a recommendation for a Thai restaurant, Anchor Bay Thai Kitchen, which she raved about, that would be on our way in Gualala, near where we were staying that night, but we agreed, after briefly looking at the menu when coming upon it, to make dinner at our farmstay accommodation since we were going to have access to a shared kitchen and perhaps check it out the next day (which, unfortunately, didn’t happen because we got there and I realized I had left my purse, after checking out, at the farmstay, and I was going to have anxiety and a one-track-mind laser focus on worry and internal freaking out until I got it back, even though rationally I knew it was safe there; plus, they appeared to be understaffed at the time, and waiting for our table service gave me more time to stew about this until I couldn’t take it any longer).

We stopped a couple of times to ask Point Arena locals walking on the street where the road to our farmstay was located, as we didn’t have service to figure it out up there, as it’s remote. Luckily, the directions worked and we made it. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the owners’ dog, which leaped into the passenger side seat over Aaron and right onto my lap, scratching my leg, which I managed my reaction as best I could (while a puppy, he was still a BIG, hyper dog to me, which I’m naturally uncomfortably frightened around). Aaron thought this was the funniest thing to see and laughed hysterically (he says it’s the funniest thing he’s seen so far on our trip)! It was cold and we were hungry. Unfortunately for me, I started to experience my Raynaud’s Syndrome in my fingers and toes, so I grabbed what I could to take to our room and Aaron gathered and carried the rest (thank you, Aaron).

This accommodation was a rustic experience. We had our own cabin-like room, with a fireplace but no electricity, and a shared, separate kitchen room in its own building.

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Exterior of our cabin

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Exterior of our shared kitchen

We also had a shared, outdoor compost toilet and shower, which was (I think) quite the walk along a narrow dirt trail to get to (the shower). I froze as I gathered my shower items, before it got dark, to brave the trail and get showered, where unfortunately, the hot water unexpectedly lasted about 2-3 minutes before blasting me with ice cold water. I shivered all the way back to our room as I dressed myself as quickly as I could. The room felt warm, thanks to my husband building us a nice fire, and I felt clean, which is a great comfort at the end of a travel day on the road. As usual, it took some time for my hands and feet to thaw out, but it felt good when I got normal circulation flowing into them again.

The highlight of this experience was the $15 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) local produce basket, consisting of produce grown on the farm, we received upon our arrival and cooked with during our stay. We had both never heard of or tried a ground cherry and we don’t usually cook with kale or broccolini, which we sautéed.

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After a Caesar salad dinner with sautéed vegetables and tomatoes with olive oil on the side, we retreated to our room for the evening.

IMG_20160817_205607We read our books for a short time and talked, and I soon fell asleep leaning on Aaron with the relaxing sounds of music we had playing in the background. My body had recovered from the cold and I think just wanted to rest, which I welcomed to take over me for the night.

*Side note: I’m about to share another candid experience of mine with you, related to the last one, so please skip to the next paragraph if you’d prefer.* I am not much of an outdoorsy person when it comes to certain things. Using the outdoor compost toilet was an experience for me. It was a little higher than my normal sitting position, so I had to slightly lift myself up onto it and my feet dangled below, and I had to shift my weight to wipe. There was wood chip material to scoop onto the top (for #2), which I think was primarily why it didn’t smell bad in there. There was a sink with running water outside of it, so I could feel sanitary and clean afterwards. In the middle of the night, I held in my need to pee, as we were sleeping on a bed up in a loft, and the staircase was narrow and a bit scary for me to go up and down. Certainly being half awake and with limited lighting, I didn’t feel this would be a safe experience for me.

We woke up the next day and took our time getting ready for the day. I remember lounging on the bed in the main part of the room reading and laying around. We had oatmeal for breakfast initially and then sautéed most of the rest of our vegetables and sprinkled our remaining cheese on top later in the morning before we left, which was delicious and nutritious!

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We chatted with our neighbor (the dad of the three), who lives in Oakland with his wife and pre-teen daughter. We soon after hit the road to backtrack 15-20 minutes to the Thai restaurant that was recommended to us, which I’ve told you about earlier in this post (and recommend anyone passing through check out and share their experience with us so we can live vicariously through you)!

A key feeling that I struggled with during this time, an early part of our trip together, was sharing and decision-making. When you’re with your partner 24/7, which is so different from every day life where you spend blocks of time both together and separate from one another, you are in a position where you face the same encounters all day long, and thus, either make a joint decision, or one person makes the decision and the other goes along with it. This is the case when it comes to obvious things like what and when to eat, but also the smaller things like when to stop for something or when to change the radio station. Overall, we are both considerate of each other’s wishes and consult one another when making bigger decisions. But when it comes to the little things, it’s naturally been an adjustment that is in constant motion. For example, I don’t like sharing my water bottle with Aaron; not because I don’t want to put my mouth on the same lid as him (come on, we’re married!), but because I think he drinks water more quickly and in greater quantities than I do, whereas I reserve mine in the car so I don’t have to go to the bathroom as often as when I’m more mindful about hydrating. So essentially, I don’t like feeling like I have a shortage of water available to me when I’ve been reserving “mine”. I’ve been working on being okay with this, as we aren’t always going to have separate water bottles while on the road (and we often have multiple ones hanging around in the car). On the flip side, Aaron likes to look into where we’re going in the days to follow and I sometimes feel like before I make the time to (because I’m catching up on social media, email, blogging, looking into the closer future of where i’ll get coffee or have my next meal), he’s already got an idea in mind that he’s slightly wedded to. For example, while in the yurt when I was doing what I just listed, he was looking into the next couple of areas we’d likely be in for the next couple of days, and thus had scoped out campgrounds that would be reasonable driving distance to cover in-between and made reservations (after consulting with me, of course). I just went with it because I knew he wanted to camp and he had gone through the process of looking into it, but I didn’t get the chance to scope out what was next and be a part of that process. Now, mostly the outdoors was what there was to experience in that area, so camping seemed to be a natural and convenient activity. But this feeling I felt motivated me to then take on looking into the next parts of our journey to play a more active role in that planning and suggesting process. Overall, it all works out and we both want each other to feel like we’re making decisions together, and we both realize that perhaps it works better for one person to take the lead at certain times and the other at times soon after. But in practice, we’ve been mindful of how this has evolved and in recent days, this has been working well as we’ve only been planning the next day ahead in more detail together.

The couple of nights I’ve described in this blog post and the prior one, in the yurt and farmstay, gradually prepared me for our next couple of nights camping outdoors in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Aaron, on the other hand, was patiently and excitedly awaiting our outdoor camping experiences like a kid in a candy store!

Until Next Time,
Elena 🙂

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