Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point Lighthouse is located south on Route One from Half Moon Bay. At 115 feet, it is tied for tallest of west cost lighthouses. It was built in 1871 and its construction is typical of New England lighthouses. When I visited the lighthouse on Tuesday afternoon, volunteers were ripping of pickle-weed, also known as ice plant, which is an invasive species that is all over California‘s central coast. In its place they were planting wildflowers, like the Californian Poppies, pictured below. The black and white feathered birds, with the red webbed feet are Pigeon Guillemonts.

Late on Tuesday afternoon I stopped at Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay. I had had a fun day driving up the coast, looking at elephant seals, redwoods and lighthouses, but now it was two and I had not had any lunch and I was hungry. I had eaten at Sam’s for the first time, earlier this year, on another trip out to California. On Tuesday, I had just a cup (really more of a bowl) of their clam chowder (New England of course). This hit the spot and carried me to dinner just fine.

I returned to Sam’s Chowder House on Thursday evening. After our meeting and before we all scattered to the wind, a bunch of the guys and I drove out to Half Moon Bay. We had dinner at Sam’s, but before we ate their, we drove up the coast a few miles to the Moss Beach Distillery. I think that it is a Distillery in name only and is really just a restaurant and bar, but it has a great view of the coast and it has a past. During Prohibition, it was a speakeasy and a favorite landing spot for rumrunners. It also picked up a ghost along the way, the “blue lady”. Killed by a jealous lover, this woman’s ghost has been seen on the establishment over the years. Moss Beach Distillery has an excellent view and capitalizes upon it with patio seating. Because it almost always cold there, blankets and fire pits are provided.

We don’t have cable TV at home. Neither Anne nor I want to make that lifestyle choice, but when I am on travel, cable TV makes for a nice diversion. I watched HBO’s Temple Grandin. A biopic staring Claire Danes in the title role. It is unfortunate that HBO produced this movie, because since it premiered on TV and not in theaters, Claire Danes will be denied the Oscar nomination that she certainly deserves and likely would have won. She will have to settle for an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Born with autism, Temple Grandin overcame this hurdle. She earned a PhD and revolutionized and also humanized the treatment of livestock in America. A strong supporting cast of Catherine O’Hara as Temple’s Aunt Ann, Julia Ormond as her mother and David Strathaim as an influential teacher make this movie an all around winner.

One of the more moving scenes takes place at Grandin’s graduation. As part of her speech Danes sings (badly) “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel. It is emotional punches like the one delivered by this scene and others that holds you back on your heels throughout the movie.

Friday was a travel day. I retraced by steps back to Saint Louis. My flight from San Francisco to LA was delayed, but not enough to make me miss my connection to Saint Louis. I arrived back in Sweat Louis on Friday evening. Anne picked me up. It felt good to be home again.

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