I think one of the reasons why I married my husband Mike is his sense of direction. When we were young, he could get us anywhere we were trying to go often on the first try. And he would even remember how to get there the next time around. Sure, he got us lost in Bilbao, but that was the exception rather than the rule. His general sense of direction gave him such an aura of competence that I found terribly appealing.
My friend Lola and I, on the other hand, are like that museum curator from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade who once got lost in his own museum (not such a difficult task, mind you, some museums are virtually labyrinths). So it came as no surprise to anyone that when we decided to spend the weekend at Tomales Bay – a narrow stretch of water an hour north of San Francisco – it took us practically the whole day to get there.
To be fair, we started out late (that’s a Lola trait, I may be many things but I’m very timely) and then of course we were starving so we stopped by Joaquin Deli for lunch before we headed out of town. And I had to return some books, buy some cat food and get some $$$. But anyway, it couldn’t have been after 2 pm when we finally got on the road.
We decided to go through the East Bay and take the Richmond-San Rafael bridge ’cause I usually like to avoid driving through San Francisco. It’s waaaaay too easy to get lost there (and yes, Lola and I spent an evening driving through the city trying to find the Bay Bridge once). And the maps (damn maps!) showed that there were roads heading west from 101 to 1 both in San Rafael and Petaluma. Ha! Yes, I’m sure the roads are there. But where? where? Mike, in his ugly Americanism, cursed at how badly marked roads and streets were in Salta and Jujuy – but that cannot compare at all with the lack of signage in Petaluma. We spent 45 minutes driving through town trying to find the road to Tomales. Twice we got off the freeway at the “Bodega Bay” exit, it did us little good, that road is very well hidden.
So we continued north, managed to find the road to Sebastopol – from where we knew we could head southwest to Tomales – and drove through the town. We must have been at least half an hour past it when I thought of asking Lola if we might have possibly passed the town. So we turned back and after an expressing stop at a McDonalds and at a supermarket for some drinks (Lola was paranoid that we wouldn’t be able to find any food on the coast), we headed out of Sebastopol again. Or we tried. Here the confusing roads and lack of signage got us again. But it only took a couple of circles around the town before finding the correct road.
Amazingly we made it to 1 and Bodega Bay without further mishap. Of course, we didn’t know that, so we stopped at a mini-market to find out how to get to 1. The guy looked at us like idiots when he told us we were on 1 and then proceeded to give us directions for Tomales. He told us about a shortcut. We thanked him and got to the car and laughed. A shortcut, yeah right. I had images of Wrong Turn in my mind. If there was something of which I was sure is that if we took a shortcut we’d get lost. Maybe not raped and killed, but definitely lost.
Fortunately, a guy who was at the store when we were asking for directions came to our car and told us that the shortcut directions were actually wrong and told us how to get to Tomales. That involved pretty much staying on the road, not too surprising as Tomales is on Highway 1 after all.
The rest of the trip went well, we arrived at Valley Ford, had dinner at Dinucci’s Italian Dinner (Lola, once again, was afraid there would be no food in Tomales – alas, she was wrong, they have their own, albeit more expensive, Italian restaurant) and then made it to Tomales before 10 PM.
In Tomales we stayed at the Continental Inn (review to follow), a very nice B&B.
The next day we *amazingly* managed to not get lost at all. We spent the morning walking through tiny Tomales (Lola is a photography frenzy so this took longer than it should have), and then stop by a quick stroll at Dillon Beach. I could go on about how beautiful this area is, but in reality all of western Marin county is so unbelievably beautiful that there isn’t much of a point in comparing one beautiful spot with another one.
We stopped at Hog Island Oysters for Lola to feast on tiny, live creatures (or, as she puts it, to give meaning to their deaths) and then drove around the bay to Inverness where we had lunch at Priscilla’s. I had never been to Inverness before (though I must have driven past it) and was amazed at how small it was. I’d heard about Manka’s, the famed lodge and restaurant, and I expected it to be in a somewhat larger town. Alas, it was pretty – as was the drive to Point Reyes and the beaches around there. We spent quite a bit of time at the beach, looking at the stones. Unlike at Dillon beach, parking here was free.
Then we headed home, an espectacular drive, yada yada. We found the bridge and, most amazingly, we made it from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge without getting lost ONCE (though once again, the 101 could be better marked). OK, so we had to change lanes at the last minute a few times to get into the right freeway/exit, but we made it!!!!
A brief but great and so very relaxing holiday. We finished it off by going out to dinner at Vo’s and then chatting away the evening in front of a fire at home.
We’ll definitely have to do this again – and now that I know Mike can handle both kids by himself we can 🙂