In order for Mel to get the Melmobile back to Fort Bragg, repaired, and back in service to pick us up in the afternoon, we broke camp early and without having breakfast. We were transported back to Elk, arriving at 8, opening time for the Roadhouse Café. Car trouble is not necessarily without its rewards. Queenie, the cook, and Teddy, the waitress whipped up and served an excellent breakfast to the lot of us. By 9 AM, our normal starting time, we were on the road.
And on the road, we were for the first 2/3rds of the day. Except for two big loops as we circled down and up out of Greenwood Creek (where we watched 4 deer wade across stomach deep) and Elk Creek, our road was fairly straight and with some hint of a shoulder. We're finding that these straights can be a mixed blessing: we can see the traffic coming from a long way off, but in general it is traveling at a greater speed. Again, as we had the last half of the day before, traffic was generally light.
Along the way the roadway cut through the center of a pea farm. J spoke to several of the pickers in Spanish, but the only information he was able to obtain was that it was peas that were being picked. We surmised later that being asked a lot of questions by a bunch of gringos wearing orange vests might have been an inducement to the workers to not be too terribly loquacious and informative.
We were finally able to leave the road at the southerly end of the Irish Beach subdivision and get to our first beach since MacKerricher. Soon we came to Alder Creek and put our engineering division to work building a log bridge to get us across without our having to take off our shoes. After our dry crossing, some of us stayed behind and watched as our bridge changed the natural flow and erosion patterns in the sand, bringing on its own destruction. We were quick to make the connection to the sea walls and rip-rap structures that we have passed so far and will be passing in the future.
On the beach were our old friends, by-the-wind sailors. Here these little sea jellies lined the beach in untold millions, and new ones came ashore with each wave. These soft and gelatinous creatures have their edges tinted with an intense cobalt blue. Further up the beach lie the husks of these same creatures. A few days in the sun and wind reduce them to paper thin transparent wafers; walking on them sounds like walking on potato chips.
We ended with a ½ mile trek through the dunes to reach the end of Stoneboro Road and our day's stopping point. We are staying tonight at the Point Arena Lighthouse. (Jon Breyfogle; photos Linda Hanes and Don Nierlich)