Several of us needed to attend meetings in Fort Bragg. Turned out sharing a house (offseason) cost less than a hotel. We stayed just over Hare Creek, killer ocean view and expansive kitchen. I’d lugged the longboard down, thinking maybe I’d get a surf in at Caspar, but my brief windows of opportunity failed to line up with the proper tide. I had an hour in the morning, though, when the swell had dropped, so I trundled down the beach in front of the house — stakes are low when you can walk to the water — and paddled out in the chest-high surf. Was it great? No. Technically, it was lousy. Did I have fun? Hell, yeah. In desperate times, I’m easily made happy. I let the ocean embrace me, admired the pelicans’ nonchalant skimming across the water’s surface, let everything else slip from my mind.

(Travel -related aside: I am now at The Sterling House hotel in Sacramento, which may be haunted and where the wireless doesn’t work in the rooms, but the jacuzzi tubs do. To access the wireless, I’m sitting in the drawing room, shoes off — my feet are blistered from pounding the hallways of the Capitol Building today — and the nice-looking young clerk has offered to make me tea. I could get used to this.)

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