Beyond Santa Cruz

On Friday morning, Chico and I packed up the tent and bid a fond farewell to the mystery spot. We dropped down to the coast and took Highway 1 towards San Francisco. It was a sunny clear day and the views were as I remembered them from years ago. I stopped in Half Moon Bay for something to drink.

The white car next to mine is the same make and model, it had dogs in crates inside, and a bumper sticker for clicker training dot com.

The white car next to mine is the same make and model, it has dogs in crates inside, and wears a bumper sticker advertising clicker training dot com.

The famous, and treacherous, Devil’s Slide area of Highway 1 has been replaced by a tunnel through the mountains. The tunnel opened on the Monday after I made this Friday drive up the coast., so I figured I’d go through the slide one last time. It too was as I remembered it – twisty and beautiful. But I wasn’t about to drive and take pictures at the same time, and there really isn’t anywhere to pull over.

We went to San Anselmo, in Marin County, where we hiked in the Mount Tamalpias watershed with Sandra and Mary. The two of them have taken a Friday afternoon hike in these hills almost every week for the last eighteen or twenty years. I’ve joined in a couple dozen times over those years, and it’s a real touchstone. We’ve all been through any number of the experiences that make one a grown up, and come to this hike in so many different phases of our lives, but the hike really doesn’t change.

We stayed at Sandra’s, and Chico did moderately well with her family’s Tibetan terrier, Pepper. Pepper is a cheerful fellow who was mystified by Chico’s attitude (Chico displayed curled lips any time Pepper got close to me) and occasionally had be reminded that Chico didn’t want to play and going over to say hi again wasn’t going to change things.

The next morning I was able to spend some time with my friend L&J, their twins, and their dog Buster.

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The girls are horse crazy, so we went for a walk to a nearby stable. You can see Chico and Buster doing parallel play out in front of the pack.

Chico did well with Buster, not perfect, but well. Chico just didn’t want Buster to get closer to me than he was. It’s a bit boring for me for him to have this issue with other dogs, and I am so grateful that my friends like me enough to put up with my dog’s issues.

L&J's road is very steep. It's hard for a New Englander not to think "Good thing it doesn't snow here" when looking at this road.

L&J’s road is very steep. It’s hard for a New Englander not to think “Good thing it doesn’t snow here” when looking at this road.

The twins made us some lunch.

They called it "Marin Tapas." That's some kinda sophisticated for not quite eleven years old.

They called it “Marin Tapas.” That’s some kinda sophisticated for girls of not quite eleven years old.

The morning flew by and suddenly it was time to head to Berkeley to Leo and Christina and Leila’s for a birthday party. Leo is my cousin Eva’s son, and he just turned 41, so they had a party. There were lots of little kids and their attendant adults in the back yard when we arrived. Chico was quiet as a mouse, and we went and sat to one side and made conversation with the grandmother of one of the children in attendance. None of the kids tried to hug or pet Chico, and he returned the dis-interest with great dignity and no apparent disappointment. He was noticeably relieved when the party broke up and the kids went away. All except not-quite-two year old Leila who loves animals and adores Chico from a distance.

The next morning, we went to Sacramento for an AKC agility trial. Stay tuned to see what happened.

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