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Bodega Bay Beat - February 2017

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Bodega Bay Beat -February 2017

by Joan Poulos

Those of us lucky enough to live with a clear view of the harbor were treated with a real light show this morning. At approximately 6 a.m. the entire harbor was filled with bright lights, clear and colored, of crab boats going out. YEA... Those of us putting together the annual Grange Crab Cioppino had begun to wonder whether or not we would have crabs. We have 600 paid reservations, and no crab fishermen at work in our harbor. We had looked into getting our crab from Washington, and Tony at the Tides (bless his heart) had assured us that there would be crabs available. We have such high standards, demanding only the fresh crab, but it looks like we will, once again,be able to serve our wonderful cioppino and cold crab, immersed in wine and garlic ( a real favorite) from locally caught crabs.

We have the same guests year after year, and the same workers, like Donzi and Chuck Gentry, Ida and Rod Moore, David Lewis, Gail Dailey and Janet Ames. We have repeat customers from as far away as Half Moon Bay and a group always comes from Pleasanton. This year we will, sadly, be short one of our best workers, Joan Scoggins (our neighbor) and our favorite Pleasanton guest, Carol Bush (David Lewis’s sister). Both women just died; both women had been workers in their communities and both women elected to tell their doctors, ”Enough suffering“. Each had enough confidence in their Christian beliefs to trust that there really will be a better land awaiting, and that since they apparently were not to get better in this world they would have the courage to move on to the next one. We will surely miss them both. They were, indeed, women of courage.

We were unlucky enough to have several power outages last week. Most of the failures don’t cause much damage, but my computer is so delicate that it always suffers after a power outage. This time I had no internet for two days; then no service at all. Thank goodness for Jade Paterson.

Another weather issue; I have lived in California nearly 60 years and have never had a real thunder storm. Last week we had one. I was awakened by the strong rumbling of thunder (and the dog barking) and then my whole room lighted up and the thunder crashed. Lightning had struck very close by. It was so intense I thought the power had just come on and all the lights ignite. Wrong. Power was still off, but the entire bedroom was suffused with light. The strike was close but apparently did no physical damage. Having grown up in Kansas, I remember several incidents where cattle had been struck by lightning and killed. Thankfully, no such damage reported here.

The power did come back on, and the rain increased. When we tried to go to Pleasanton Thursday (for the funeral), several roads were impassable. Coming home we had to detour at Two Rock; and only after following the detour signs nearly to the coast, did we recover our senses and just come back and come up Roblar Road to Sebastapol. The traffic was so intense that we thought we were back in the bay area, but we finally got home (it takes a long time when you go 15 miles an hour, with lots of starts and stops.) We are so spoiled.

We are also spoiled to have such excellent hotels out here. More than once I have sent guests to the Inn at the Tides and to what was Branscomb’s Bodega Bay Inn, and they were fairly treated and happy with their accommodations. Kevin, at Bodega Coast Inn, is a supportive member of the community and helps the Fishermen’s Chapel find a meeting place when we are displaced by the Grange Cioppino event.

I realized how honest and pleasant our hoteliers are when I had to find lodging in Pleasanton, where we attended the funeral. I dug out my trusty AAA book (which although it is two years old has always been helpful) I found that the Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel was near both churches and called for a reservation. They were supportive and quoted a fee of aaroundr $100 and up to $219. We just wanted a room with a bed, nothing fancy. When we arrived we found that they had put us into a corner room with a refrigerator, and other amenities. We said we didn’t want to pay for the corner room and all the amenities. They agreed and gave us a simple first floor room with a bed. It was a quiet room, with a king-size bed, but no restaurant was open. The Four Points by Sheraton (same ad; same location) offered transportation within 7 miles. We booked a room. The transportation turned out to be mostly for corporations who were loading the hotel with Silicon Valley want-to-be’s – and the transportation was not available for us. The restaurants did not open until after 5. We simplified our request – just a bed and a relatively quiet room. We walked over to the mall to find something to eat and settled for driving our own care to the funeral and vigil. When we returned in the evening, we ate in the dining room (.paid $60 for a hamburger and shrimp salad).

The next day when we checked out, imagine my shock when I received the bill for $322 for one night. I pointed out the AAA estimate with a top of $219. The clerk, correctly, pointed out that my book was 2 years old. They apparently never have a vacancy mid week and charge these prices with no negotiation. After I reminded them that they had downgraded (at our request) the room to be just a bed, they agreed to deduct $10 from the bill.

Bodega Bay looks better and better. They didn’t even leave a chocolate on my pillow.

It is so nice to see the sun. We were fearful about the weather... although my earliest memories of the Grange Cioppino was standing in the rain in the days before we got so organized and make it so people know when they will have access. The cioppino feed is truly a community event. Members have been working for more than a week, putting up the wooden shelter around the kitchen; locating the equipment and setting up the tables and chairs. We are grateful to the firefighters for their usual help. We couldn’t do it without them. Today the hall was bustling with workmen checking out the heater; with up to twenty women getting dishes out and wrapping the silverware. Our spirits were light because we had feared rain; and we are delighted that the crabfishermen got their price and called off the strike.