Nov 30, 2009

Rainy Mendocino Writers

Merlin in Mendocino Coast RainWe’ve a lunch date in Ft. Bragg, lured by the promise of great beer at the North Coast Brewery. Merlin rides for the fries. Our pal, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley author Molly Dwyer, invited us to address her local writers' group. Molly was inspired by her visit to the Marin Branch of the California Writers Club to charter a new, more conveniently located, branch. So three CWC officers, Linda McCabe and Kate Farrell of Redwood Writers, and Merlin's chauffeur from Marin, trekked the three hours north to Mendocino County. Merlin Greets Mendocino WritersInstigator Molly was still in Paris so we toasted her with fabulous microbrew and birthday cake. Merlin gathered us for a photo snap in the rain beside Hwy 1.

California State Route Number One is Merlin’s favorite road trip road. Designated an All-American Road, the infamous Highway One hugs the western edge of America along some of the most specular coastline in the world. Many of Merlin’s favorite destinations are on Highway One: Muir Beach, Point Reyes, the Golden Gate Bridge. The artist colony and resort town of Mendocino is an obvious addition to the Highway One catalog, and Merlin managed to parlay the writers lunch into a three day getaway. The first big storm of the season arrived just ahead of us; it rained the entire sojourn.Merlin on Mendocino Coast Merlin trotted across raging storm drains, splashing into the center of puddles, soaking through his clean towel pile at the first stop. Happy wet Merlin streamed up the car windows. We drove towards the ocean and slid to a muddy stop on the cliffs above the roiling surf. Stepping out into biting wind and salty rain, Merlin squinted from the leeward side of the Merlin mobile. No whale sightings today.

Merlin suggests we find some of those famous Mendocino redwoods. Turning inland from Van Damme State Park beach, we enter a primordial forest. Gliding through soggy tree tunnels, Merlin inhales wet pine. Mendocino has some of the tallest living trees in the world, and some of the smallest. A Pygmy Forest Merlin in Pygmy Foresthides in the poor soil of coastal terraces between Fort Bragg and Anchor Bay. Cypress trees over 100 years old are only a foot high: Merlin-size! We disembark with umbrellas, towering over the tiny trees. A ginormous Merlin sniffs their tippy tops from the raised walkway protecting the delicate Lilliputian forest from disruptive visitor feet. Here we are Brobdingnagian, strolling respectfully among century old toothpicks. We slosh back through thick drizzle to our warm coastal cabin fireplace and hot tub.

Mendocino Getaway: 333 miles