Spring Awakening

We had a lovely spring adventure this weekend.

The hills are alive...

The hills are alive…

And with work ramping up at the house again – new patios, seismic retrofits, yada yada – it was perfectly timed to provide a little escape from the need to clean up messes, oversee contractors, hover, ask too many questions… You get the point.

We ventured out to the Carquinez Strait for a long hike along the ridge between Martinez and Port Costa with our newly-minted couple friends, Roni and Quincy. We wound up spending the night at the 130-year-old Burlington Hotel – one of only three or so business establishments left in the tiny hamlet of Port Costa. It’s a crumbling Victorian that barely marks the spot where a giant rail ferry used to ship trains cross the strait before the bridges were built.



View of the strait.

View of the strait.

Lovebird sighting on the trail.

Lovebird sighting on the trail.

Holed up for the night in an old hotel.

Holed up for the night in an old hotel.

There’s not a lot to do there, except patronize the two other businesses. So that we did:

  1. Ate dinner at the seemingly misplaced swanky restaurant
  2. Got drunk at the biker bar, with its built-in “oddities shop” (a favorite of mine and Trent’s)
Cocktail hour in PC.

Cocktail hour in PC.

We also enjoyed a few other local pastimes:

  1. Walking along the tracks (that still run right along the edges of the strait), listening to the rails sizzle when the train drew close
  2. Sitting on the ruins of the old ferry dock at sunset
Train a comin'...

Train a comin’…

A night on "the beach."

A night on “the beach.”

We did NOT, however, meet any ghosts in the old hotel (though Roni remains convinced they were there).

See anything looking back atcha? No? Really?

See anything looking back atcha? No? Really?

The best part of the weekend, though, came when we left to go home. Just when I’d normally start fretting that Monday always comes too soon…

While driving through the Contra Costa hills back towards the Bay, Trent and I were dismayed to come upon not one, but two small well-kept stray dogs, running panicked together down the winding road. Other travelers were equally dismayed and slowed down with us to investigate how to follow, stop, and eventually retrieve these little guys, who obviously had no business being in open ranchland.

No country for little dogs.

No country for little dogs.

But only two people were willing to park their car by the side of the road and spend over an hour pursuing the little pups along a barbed wire fence, sending another concerned passer-by all the way into Crockett and back again to retrieve hot dogs for the task:


I’ve never in my life done anything like this, but I knew when I saw those two dogs that I had to do something. Someone clearly drove them out there to the hinterlands and dumped them. They could be someone’s Sammy!

And so, I ended up down on my hands and knees, acting like a dog by the side of the road in an effort to get the most docile of the two to come to me on his own accord.

And it worked.

Eventually, he was in my arms. And one of the kind passers-by took him home to what will hopefully be a new life.

My only regret is that I couldn’t help BOTH dogs (the other ran far away, beyond a barbed wire fence that we couldn’t figure out how to cross), but the amount of kindness I saw in the people who stopped to help Trent and I overrode the dismay and anger I felt toward people who could leave two little animals out there, defenseless, on a coyote buffet.

And two days later, I’m still high off the realization that Trent and I are the kind of people who can actually make the world a better place. I always knew I could be – that I did in my own way – I was raised that way – but I married a man who believes in the things I do every bit as much as I do. That small actions every day – even when they’re inconvenient – can make a difference.

It feels awesome.

Feels like a spring awakening. There’s some good in the world, after all.



See all our pictures of our spring weekend on the Strait here.

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2 thoughts on “Spring Awakening

  1. Carla says:

    Great pictures!! That is one lucky pup. 🙂

  2. Marge Wisniewski says:

    Thank you for doing your part to make the world a better place! I am glad you took some action, however small it seemed to you, it was a big deal to that little dog. Keep putting that good karma out there because the world needs it. And thank you for taking us to interesting places that we would never know about. Any time you can get that close to water it is a good thing. Reading about your adventures makes me happy and sad because I really want to be out there!

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