Friday, April 3, 2009

Coastal Hospitality

I am a lucky person. I just returned from a wonderful, restful night away on the beautiful Sonoma coastline. Now, I don't get around much, but for my money, this is some of the most beautiful scenery one could ever hope to see.

I met my friend Cinnamon at Dispatcher Academy. Dispatcher Academy was this mostly fun place in Windsor, CA to which I got sent for three weeks to learn about dispatch stuff. The downside was that I was about seven months pregnant at the time, and if you follow my blog at all or remotely know me, you know I was sick the entire time I was pregnant. You might also know that the longest stretch I went without getting sick were the first five days I spent at Dispatcher Academy. I actually went from Monday morning until Friday night when I got home without a single puke. Amazing. If only the next two weeks could have been that way.

Pregnancy woes aside, the upside of Dispatcher Academy (in addition to all the stuff I'm sure I must have learned there) was that I wound up sitting near Cinnamon, and my other two good buddies, Janel and Adrienne. The further upside of this, aside from the fact that they are lovely, fun people, is that when either Janel or Adrienne are working the same graveyard shift that I am, it is nice to know there is company in what is sometimes misery. Also, Cinnamon, (who was a dispatcher until she got pregnant with Easton and put on bed rest) is married to Brandon, who, in addition to being a great guy, is also a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy. His beat is 150 square miles of beautifulness, including the coast, and he is stationed in a lovely home in Timber Cove, on the woodsy side of Highway 1, up the hill from the Timber Cove Inn.

I have to come decide he may just have the best gig I've ever heard of. I am sure that others of you in law enforcement are thinking this sounds like a pretty sweet deal as well.

Though I was aiming for a 12:30 p.m. arrival time, I didn't actually make it until about 3:15. I know, shocking. And I can't even blame it on Kayla, because she was a little under the weather so I left her with Baby Daddy (who very graciously offered to come stay with her so I could go). I can't blame my tardiness on bad directions, either; I had ones I'd written down from Cinnamon, a Mapquest map, AND a brand new GPS (courtesy of Baby Daddy, someone paid for a job in GPS units so I was able to reap part of that benefit). Pretty much, if I ever have plenty of time to get ready to go somewhere, I am usually going to be late. Something perhaps I'll try to work on because I don't like it.

After greetings to everyone, including Cin's boys (Devin is 5 and Easton is 2, and they are a couple of cutie pies)....

... we took the tour inside and then checked out the view from her deck.

I know. Gorgeous.

As if all this beauty and good company weren't enough, Cin also has a Wii. I happen to be obsessed with the Wii, ever since I bowled and played tennis on it at my brother's house back in December. For someone who so clearly remembers playing games on the Atari 2600 and thought that the graphics in Pitfall were mind-blowing, this Wii is pretty much like magic. We got our bowling on, taking tips from Devin (quite the little expert), but I kept veering to the left. Here's Adrienne in action: I know I told her that her butt would be prominently featured on my Facebook page; not sure if I gave her the same warning about my blog, but she's a good sport! And a good bowler, she beat me by three pins.

We decided it was close enough to 5 for it to be cocktail time. Janel and Adrienne were quite chagrined to find that though they planned to make Cinnamon's favorite drink, a Midori sour, they had been led astray by the lady at the store. She told them some Midori and some bar syrup (I think that's what it was called) were all they needed for the drink. WRONG. Midori SOUR. Not Midori SWEET, lady. So without sweet and sour this drink really did not work for them. I think Adrienne settled on champagne, Janel had a beer with me, and I'm not really sure what Cin wound up with, as I was too busy with my beers. I was planning to enjoy some beer with Brandon. But the poor guy is on-call every single night through mid-April. This would be the downside of his sweet gig. I even brought three twelve-packs of his favorites and had to work on them all by myself. I did not drink three twelve-packs, not even one twelve-pack, but I did play Oktoberfest (as Brandon named it) and alternated among the three flavors (Corona, Pacifico, and Sierra Nevada).

Both Janel and I were pretty amped to see the sunset over the ocean. All of us decided to walk down to the Timber Cove Inn to check it out (though later there would be much debate about whose idea this was and whose fault it was that we endured a painful trek back, but more on that later). The trip, though a little longer than it seemed in the car and not a great one to make in the shoes I was wearing, was worth it,as we got some fabulous pics.

Yes, I know. More gorgeous. If we thought the walk down the hill was a little rough, we hadn't seen anything yet.

Umm, that's an 18% grade right there. May not sound like a high number, but imagine your body is at the same angle as that truck. And imagine you've had a few beers. And imagine you are carrying a lot more weight than you should. Then start walking. Walk. Ouch. Rest. Walk. Ouch. Rest. It was cold and windy, and poor Adrienne recently shaved her lovely brown hair off for charity, so she needed her hood. I'm sure the champagne in the red cup was helping to keep her warm also. Janel was pretty much as happy as a clam, because that's how she rolls.

Poor Cin was pushing a double stroller up the hill. No fun.

At least Brandon did show up... first rolling code two-and-a-half (that means really fast) down the hill, on his way to a call. Moments later he came back up the hill and rescued Adrienne. He could only take one person at a time because his dog, Odin, took up a space, but that was fine with me. I wanted the walk under my belt and I did actually make it up the hill. Eventually.
Our reward was some of the yummiest lasagna I have ever had in my entire life. After that, we were all pretty tired so we hit the hay early. I was lucky enough to score a lower bunk in the boys' room (afraid to room with anyone else because of my snoring, which everyone reported the next morning they did not hear, excellent!).

Morning meant Cin was in the kitchen again. She cooked up what was literally the best waffle I have ever had in my life. Here's a shot of mine, covered in whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate chips.

And turkey bacon on the side. My hostess does not eat red meat. Was this the trip from Heaven or what? (Nodding head enthusiastically) Yes, yes it was. Oh, and the coffee I had as an appetizer was scrumptious, also.

I ate and ran, as it was almost 11, and I felt I'd better get home rather than keep Baby Daddy away from any more hours potentially making some money. We all hugged goodbye with promises to see each other real soon on Facebook and in person. On the way back home, I just had to stop. I mean, it was silly enough that I was only up that way for one night, I had to stop somewhere on the coast and get some shots. So I finally picked a little turnout at Gleason Beach.

There was some beautiful rocky coastline so I snapped a few pics:

While I was figuring out the best vistas to capture, I felt something on the back of my leg. I realized it was the bumper of my car, because I'd forgotten to put it into "park." So my advice to you is if you are going to get out somewhere and take pictures, and you plan to keep your car running, be sure to put it in "park," otherwise you could have a real problem on your hands, especially if you are standing near the edge of a cliff.

Girls, I had the best time. Cinnamon and Brandon, I cannot thank you guys enough for your hospitality, and I can't wait to take advantage of it again soon. All this beauty just a little over two hours away from me? Trust me, I don't plan on going two years before I see it again like last time.