As it happened, on Saturday the sun shone.
Even over the Pacific.
The beaches of this part of Northern California used to be a local secret. No longer. Take Highway 1, start at the small town of Princeton-by-the-sea (not making that name up, I promise), drive south. You’ll pass the larger town of Half Moon Bay, then the state beaches of San Gregorio, Pomponio and Pescadero. Pescadero is the most beautiful, wide and sandy, but on the rare hot coastal Saturday you have to arrive early for a parking spot.
We were not early.
So we drove even further south, to Bean Hollow. I’d never been there before. “Bean” refers to the beach’s unusual shiny little round pebbles. The geology is unique in our area.
The behaviors of the occupants, however, aren’t. Little boys yell at waves, water dogs swim out for tennis balls, and middle-aged women clamber about the rocks.
These are not East Coast, or Southern beaches. Maybe Maine is like this, I don’t know, but here you won’t find wall-to-wall towels or radios or even much volleyball. On a sunny day, everyone’s aware the fog might roll in any minute, so they bring tents. They wear shoes. The wind blows.
The people feel temporary.
The Pacific, otherwise.
I put my feet in the water, at your suggestion, but my pants kept getting wet, so I sat down on a local boulder.
Those pebbles are so round and smooth they are comfortable for walking. Because they don’t get your feet dirty, you can just dry off in the sun before you put your shoes on. Say, for example, you forget to bring towels.
Then you might, as we did, drive back north to Princeton-by-the-sea, to eat take-out fish and chips at Barbara’s. Walk out onto the docks and see what the fisherman are selling from their ice chests. We resisted stopping for a beer and a salad at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, but you might not. Neither might we, on a day when the fog comes in.