A dusting off . . .

Pulveratricious: adjective meaning covered in dust (like this blog).


My mother always told me that the best way to learn a new landscape is by taking a drive to see where a road you haven’t been on before takes you. A staunch believer in the old-fashioned folded map, she still thinks that figuring out how to get home helps situate her wherever she’s living or visiting. GPS, of course, has taken the place of physical maps for many, making it harder to get lost. I’ve been trying to explore the California countryside by bike, armed with a paper map my mom sent me before I flew westward (and – who are we kidding? Google Maps in my pocket).  But, I was anxious to see what was further down the road than I’d been able to ride.

So, one morning last week I hopped in the car and headed for Lake Stafford, a short drive from the apartment where I’m staying. But, I quickly felt the pull of the Pacific Ocean — before long, I was winding through the California hills, following my curiosity, and eventually signs toward the lighthouse and beaches of Point Reyes National Park. The closer I got to the shore, the higher I climbed. The fog got so thick it was like driving through pulled cotton, which reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains back on the East Coast. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the seashore was also cattle country:


And wouldn’t you know – the only radio signal I could pick up was a country station. That’s when John Denver started crooning about my mountains and country roads on the radio — this is the sort of stuff you can’t make up, folks — and there I was driving around looking at cows and stopping for deer bounding across the road and wondering where the ocean was because the closer I got, the less I could see and the more I felt like I’d gotten myself lost in Appalachia. After passing a handful of cattle farms, I started seeing signs with warnings about the cliffs being unsafe for walking even though I hadn’t realized I was surrounded by cliffs. The pulveratricious road led me to the parking lot for the now-retired Lighthouse, but I found out the museum was closed the day I spontaneously visited. In my sleeveless sundress, I was too cold to hike up the hill, especially considering I was getting sprayed by an ocean I couldn’t see — the frigid wind was that strong.  A sign alerted me that Point Reyes is the second foggiest place in North America (!) and when that fog lifts, I should be able to see whales migrating, so you bet I’ll be back.

By the time I got back down to sea level, the fog had mostly burned off. I noticed a sign for an oyster farm that I’d missed on the way up and took a few minutes to sample their fresh oysters on the halfshell:


Of course, I couldn’t resist bringing a jar home with me, where I made fried oysters that tasted suspiciously similar to my mom’s oyster stuffing.

So maybe — technology, aside — you can’t get lost any more, after all.

Categories: Activities, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “A dusting off . . .

  1. Thanks for posting this inspiring piece of writing!

  2. hey-this is an awesome word! I know I’m always saying that, but you never fail to impress me. Also, I’m charmed by the idea of finding Appalachia in California and I find it particularly hilarious that I can hear your Appalachian accent come out in your writing as I read this in my head.

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