Monday 3rd June 2013
We had only booked 3 nights at our hotel before we flew out to California. We wanted to have the freedom to move around during our stay if we so wanted. My step children’s step father had helpfully drawn up a list of hotels for us to look at in a nearby town. So as Monday morning dawned we managed to get ourselves not only out of bed but packed and checked out of the hotel by 9.30am
We decided to have breakfast at McDonalds, so I set the Sat Nav to find the nearest Macky D’s which turned out to be on the far side of town. I had my first taste of Blueberry and pomegranate smoothie which was delicious.
It was still fairly early so we decided to just follow the road to see where it went. We were due to meet up with Missy M later in the day. We drove for miles along the same road following hills and valleys. After some time I plugged in the Sat Nav for directions to the town of Novato where we would meet up with Missy M. Owl couldn’t believe it when he saw a sign for Laurel Canyon (not the one in Los Angeles). In a previous era of his life he had owned the album Blues from Laurel Canyon by John Mayall. I had better not tell him that this was not The Laurel Canyon, but hey it is still in California.
Reaching a modest shopping centre we called Missy M who knew exactly where we were and joined us a few minutes later. It was then decided that she would show us the local beach. I assumed that this beach would be on the edge of San Pablo Bay, but it did seem to be taking us much longer to get there than we had expected. 45 minutes later we arrived at Bolinas, we parked just a short distance from the beach itself. Missy M told us that it was a popular beach for surfing. Whilst there we watched a couple of fishermen with their rods set up near the slipway.
Not long after we arrived we watched as one of the men reeled in his catch. A sting ray, while one man held onto his rod the other unhooked the fish. He tried to put it back into the sea but the waves brought it back. The three of us watched in horror as the poor creature lay flapping helplessly at the edge of the water. The ebbing tide not managing to take it back to sea. We knew that before long it would die. Sadly there was nothing we could do.
Driving back from the beach we discussed the list of hotels that Missy M’s step father had kindly printed out for us. We were moving on to a nearby town which Owl just could not get his mind around the name of, he kept referring to the town of Petaluma as Patagonia. It begins with a P but there the similarity ends.
Having dropped Missy M off back at her car we took the back road to Petaluma. We were planning to book into Step dad (SD)’s recommendation Hotel Petaluma. Using Sat Nav we found the road where this hotel was situated. The entrance was a little on the shy side, hiding among nail bars etc. Opening the door we stepped into what appeared to be a an office with the dated appearance of a throw back to the 1920’s. I have just looked up the history and indeed the hotel does date back to the late 1920s.
There was a jovial silver surfer (older gentleman) sat behind a huge desk who when asked about booking a room said he had to phone someone. He then proceeded to speak to a woman on a mobile (cell phone) which he then passed to Owl. The woman told Owl she would be there in 20 minutes to show us a room. Having been on the road for hours I was by this time desperate and asked if there was a restroom I could use. I was directed to a door at the end of the office. It was like going into a cupboard under the stairs. It took me a while to find the light switch as it as covered in the same ancient wallpaper as the walls.
We made our excuses and left. Owl has since described Hotel Petaluma as having the appearance of ‘The Addams Family House’. Next we thought we would try our luck at the local Best Western. Half an hour later we were unpacking our luggage at the Best Western. The very helpful receptionist told us that they had an agreement with the local diner for 20% discount for BW guests.
We were made very welcome by the staff at Pepper’s restaurant. For dinner that evening Owl wanted a bowl of soup but was astounded when he was offered either a sandwich or salad to go with it. Finally he agreed to have a salad, expecting a small side salad. Nope he got enough salad to feed a family. My chili n’ cheese potato was the biggest potato I have ever had, it too was served with enough salad for a family.
Needless to say we didn’t go to bed hungry that night.