Trips That Exhaust You

Those tend to be the best trips, and I’m happy to report that I just had a three day vacation that resulted in many naps. In fact, I think I’ve just started to recover.

We went up to the town of Mendocino, which is farther north than I’ve ever been on the California coast. Mendocino County has two of the best things on the planet: redwood forests and ocean. Let this picture show you – it’s the view from the balcony of our rented house:

View from rental Mendocino 2013

We didn’t have much time to stare at the view, though. Oh no, we were out in it as much as possible, along with our four friends who shared the adventure with us. For the first time in my life, I got in a kayak, and I did not fall into the ocean. I get a trophy for that, don’t I?

Ready to kayak 2013   Rick and Marlene in kayak 2013

If I could do this for a couple of hours every day, I’d be thin, and I could still eat three meals. The best part was it didn’t feel like I was burning a lot of calories because it was so much fun. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to the kayaking… I’m a bit afraid of the ocean and I had no idea how I’d handle myself in a kayak. But I’m a convert. No, I will NOT go white water rafting with you. But kayaking on a gentle river or lagoon – I’m in.

Our other adventure did not use many calories, at least not directly. But it was an absolute blast, and we have the Train Singer to thank for that. Do you like trains? Like forests? Like corny, old-time music sung by a master of the genre?

Ride the skunk train.

It starts in Fort Bragg and goes north. Our trip went as far as Northspur, which took about 1.5 hours. We had lunch in Northspur, then went back. It’s not the world’s most exciting thing to do. But you can  stand out in the observation car and watch as meadows, rivers, and giant redwoods go by. And let me say the food served at Northspur was awesome. It didn’t have to be – we were sort of a trapped audience. It was simple barbecue fare: hamburgers, hot dogs, and pulled pork sandwiches. But it was real food – not something mass produced and poured from a box. Even the french fries were nothing but potatoes, fried perfectly. I washed my pork sandwich down with a local amber ale. Quite pleasing.

But the best of the train was Greg Schindel, the Train Singer. I don’t know how to describe him. An effervescent, silly baby boomer, he’s an old style folk singer and one-man band. He was delighted to see us on the train. Evidently it’s mostly young families, school groups, and the very elderly who take the train. We were his contemporaries and most of us knew his music, and we formed the core of a little group of crazies who sang Charlie on the MTA, City of New Orleans, and other songs with him out on the observation car.

We got so crazy that we bought one of his CDs and he gifted us with another one, and after dinner that night we played his music and did some more dancing all over our rental house. No, I won’t show you the video. You’re lucky I’m admitting it.

Cynthia and Marlene with train singer Cynthia sings on train 2013 Rick and Marlene on skunk train 2013  Beers Spiridakis Dotterer Medocino 2013

Good times, good friends, lots of good food and wine.

At our age.

5 thoughts on “Trips That Exhaust You”

  1. Mendocino is a great spot, one of my favorite places. Marlene, what’s this “at our age” stuff? You’re just a kid. There are no cutoffs or new definitions prescribed by age.

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