Salty Tasty Pig Parts: Mendocino County, CA

Trip Start Jun 22, 2010
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
MacKerricher State park

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 18, 2011

After lunch in Tomales Bay we continued up Hwy One until Point Arena then cut over on a very narrow mountain road to Booneville. Even before we moved to Monterey, Mike has wanted to visit Anderson Brewing Company. In fact, I think that goal was the driving vision for this primary brewery and camping trip. We had also discovered that one of our favorite wineries in Napa, Paraduxx had a sister winery just north of Booneville. They closed early, so we headed to Goldeneye first. They seated us outside in a beautiful garden and gave us a flight of Pinot Noirs and one Pinot Rose. The temperature was in the 80s and the warm air felt wonderful. A beautiful fountain stood in the middle of the garden. The garden gave way to the vineyard which climbed the foothills before being replaced with pine-covered mountains. Goldeneye is a Pinot Noir house. Mike is a Pinot Lover, but I have to say that we were a little disappointed with the wines especially with the high prices.  Our favorite was a less expensive PInot under their Migration label.  Due to wildfires in 2008, the bouquet was full of smoke and the lush palate displayed cherries and strawberry fruit. We figured it was the perfect camping wine and purchased a bottle.

Pulling into Booneville, we noticed a lot of people walking into the town and a large special event sign. Uncharacteristically, Mike exclaimed, "Where are all these hippies going?" As Mike considers himself a bit of a hippie at heart, I started laughing. “I just don't want to wrestle hippies for a pint at the bar,” he explained. His fear was realized when we discovered the disc golf course at the brewery had been converted to a camping ground for those attending the World Music Festival being held that weekend. Despite having a couple of delicious beers, I knew my husband was disappointed as his initial plan was to taste beer, then drink several while playing disc golf. Instead we decided to drive about thirty minutes north to check out Mendocino Brewing Company located in Ukiah. 

This well established micro brewery had just opened a brew pub, which was sparsely crowded for a Friday Happy Hour, but it was a welcome change.  Mike ordered a sampler tray and truly enjoyed all the beers. The bartender gave Mike a guide to breweries of the Pacific Northwest and his eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas.

It took about an hour to return to the coast and Fort Bragg. We had a reservation to camp at MacKerricher State Park, and we hoped to make it before dark. Another narrow mountain road through the forest impeded our progress. However the road was beautiful as we drove through multiple tree canopies. “It’s like hiking in the car,” Mike explained.

We arrived at the campground shortly before sunset. Mike shooed me away as he pulled out the tent. “Go watch the sunset.” I walked out to Laguna Point a few minutes ahead of the setting sun. Mike managed to meet just after it set, though he was able to see it on the way over. 

“Let’s get the campfire started and eat!” In general, I try to avoid processed food, but something about camping made me want to eat a hot dog.  I bit into the burnt juicy hot dog, my first in probably two years. And man, it was good. I devoured it. “How was your salty tasty pig part,” Mike asked referring to a store we saw the day before in San Francisco.

“Delicious,” I replied, “I think I’ll have to make another. Do you want one?”  Mike nodded. I walked over to the picnic table and shone my flashlight over the top. “Where are they?”

“They are right there leaning on the water.” Mike responded as if I were an absolute idiot. He watched me look for another thirty seconds before coming over himself. “They’re right…” his voice trailed. “They were right here.” He began fumbling in the dark.

“Do you think something could have taken them?”

“No way, we were less than five feet away.”

Mike shone the flashlight into the wilderness behind our camp spot. “Shhh. I hear rustling plastic.” Mike walked back and shone a light up a tree. Sure enough two raccoons were going to town on the remaining hot dogs. Mike came back glancing between our chairs at the fire pit and the table. “How did they do that without us noticing?”

“At least they are enjoying the salty tasty pig parts.” I was disappointed to lose the food, but it was pretty funny.

We woke early in the morning and walked out to Laguna Point on the beach. We saw several people with monster cameras and telescopes scanning the ocean for whales. We walked out to the observation deck and heard the whale watcher exclaim, “There!” I scanned the horizon for the whale spout. Luckily I heard one of the photographers direct someone on where to look. I was looking way too far out. The whale was less than 100 yards from the shore.  I saw the spout and then the back of the whale as it surfaced. Just then another spout emerged. There were two! We watched the whales for awhile then walked about further down the headlands of the beach. It was low tide and a lot of rock formations were exposed. On the walk we spotted deer in the meadows and ducks and herons along the rocks in the coves. Seals swam a little further out in the water. We had not even had breakfast yet, but I knew it was going to be a glorious day.

We packed up camp and drove south to check out Mendocino, a quaint historical town. Mendocino Headlands State Park borders the coastline and I felt like a child walking on sea arches and exploring the coastline. We then drove a bit further south to Russian Gulch State Park.  A five mile loop through redwood and pine forest and along a creek brought us to a beautiful waterfall. I was in heaven.

It was after two and we were starving. We drove back to Fort Bragg and to North Coast Brewing Co. Mike ordered a sampler tray and we each got lunch.  Mike teased me as I ordered an Italian sub, “You sure are eating a lot of salty tasty pig parts.” It was unusual for me.

“And I still want hot dogs tonight. I didn’t get my fix last night. It’ll be enough salty tasty pig parts to last me a year.” Luckily there was a wonderful smokehouse next to the brewery where we were able to get a couple of fresh made dogs for me and some sausages for Mike for our dinner.

The last place I wanted to check out was Glass Beach, located in the the southern portion of MacKerricher State Park a few minutes from the brewery. In the mid 1900s, people had dumped a lot of garbage in this area. The glass was broken by the rocks and surf then polished over decades covering the beach with small pieces of smooth colored glass. Online I saw pictures of the beach glimmering with blue, green, red and gold pieces of rounded glass pebbles and the beach was described “as one of the most unique beaches in the world”. The headlands of the beach were very pretty, but I didn’t see the color I anticipated. I walked to edges of the small cliffs and looked down.  Dozens of people, adults, teenagers, and children sat below with bags sifting through the sand and rocks attempting to fill their bags with every piece of pretty colored glass they could find. I knew that I had read that it was specifically prohibited to take the glass. That it was important to leave it for future generations to enjoy. When I had first learned of this beach, I was intrigued by the idea that something beautiful could be created by the waste left behind by mankind. But there were humans screwing it up again! There were so many people collecting glass that it was unjustifiable that it was all being taken to create a beautiful art project (not that I would be OK with that either).  “Those people are just going to take it home, put it in a drawer and then throw it away in 10 years. They probably won’t even recycle it,” I exclaimed. I walked down to one of the coves. Now that I was closer, I could see that most of the beach was covered with smooth pieces of white glass. I scooped up a handful. There were a couple of brown pieces and some tiny turquoise slivers.

“They should have more signs reminding people that they can’t take things from state parks especially the glass,” Mike offered to try to calm me down. It didn’t. I think it should be common sense to leave beautiful environments alone. I could wrap my head around people taking one piece as a memento even though after a longer time period the end result would be the same. It made me wonder if people saw that the glass was almost gone and were trying to grab every last piece of the unique features. I was mad and Mike suggested that we leave. I do admit that I am someone that tends to get upset at things that wouldn’t cause others to blink an eye. But did no one care that people were destroying the very thing that made this place special? When we were leaving, I shouted loudly, “You are not allowed to take the glass!” Mike turned red and pulled me along. He was lucky. That was the clean version of what I wanted to say. I really wanted to tell every glass collector exactly what salty tasty pig part I thought they were.
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Patti & Dale on

Great trip! I love the pictures. Something about just looking at Mike makes me smile. We miss you guys and the fun times at WineStyles. Ginger dancing will always be a legend here. We offer Craft Beer flights now, so you'll have make a trip back to San Diego county for beer tasting. It's complimentary for Mike if he wears the "Ginger Man" shirt. ;-)

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