Father’s Day 2011

I had dutifully sent my package with a Pendelton long-sleeved shirt and two new books from the NY Times Best Seller list to my father (92 years young) and called to remind him that Wimbledon would be on for 2 weeks and to make sure to watch it on TV, and Herb had taken his dad (95 years young) to do a little gambling at the Cache Creek Casino near Sacramento the Saturday before, so Father’s Day was going to be a day just for us. Our children both checked in to wish their father Happy Father’s Day – our eldest daughter called from a friend’s bachelorette party at a Dude Ranch in Colorado, and our youngest daughter called from “somewhere in the maze at Hampton Court Palace”, so we took off for a day at the coast. The crab season was almost at an end, and Herb was still itching to put a pot in the harbor and bring home some salty crabs for dinner.
We had just received an order for some of our wines from an account near the ocean, so we decided to take scenic River Road along the Russian River headed west through Guerneville towards our destination at the Bohemian Grove. (Lucky members to be offered some of our 2008 HL Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon while in camp this summer!)  The streets were lined with tie-died t-shirts, hitch hikers with backpacks and dogs, peace signs and other hippie ephemera of our youth. Along the river, majestic redwoods on the hills gave way to patches of vineyards, and shanty summer homes on stilts on the river lead down to rocky beaches. We reminisced at the dozens of kyacking trips we had taken with our family down that river, for a quick summer cool down, to watch the Jazz Festival from the water or with a convoy of boats for a child’s birthday party.

Another favorite haunt, Occidental, beckoned, so we stopped in at the old Union Hotel to play some favorites on the jukebox and have a celebratory drink with a couple of Liar’s Dice matches at the bar. The lottery board flashed, the TV had a ball game on and the wait staff was prepping for a big luncheon crowd. We used to come with the kids to experience the old lumberjack’s family-style dinners of all-you-could-eat ravioli, duck and spumoni ice-cream.

Up and over the Pacific Range to the coast via Coleman Valley Road, the grass turned from green to brown and the wind blew while the temperature dipped 15 degrees. We passed more bicyclists (14) than cars (6 – one of which was a 60’s Volvo), and saw more cows than vineyards. Once on Hwy. 1, the cool, misty sea breezes followed us down to the docks at Bodega Bay, where we launched our yacht for the open waters.

Alas, the crabs had left early this year, and the purpose of our trip eluded us. But the trip itself was worth more than any bite of crab could have been . . . the kind of day one might anticipate having when/if you were retired with nothing but time on your hands, traveling with the father of your children.