Cousin Jay had to go to work up in Richmond on Monday, but it was a short day and by 1:30 he was done and ready to play. So Mrs Notthat and I, the grandkids, and Weird Haired Mom drove up to meet him in Corte Madera. From there we headed to redwood tree-infested Muir Woods, which even at 4 PM on a Monday had full parking lots.
Here Mrs Notthat explains how to be a bird. (Note the shorts and her blue shirt. She ends up not wearing either a bit later.)
Muir Woods is filled with awesome trees and scattered wildlife, like the deer we watched calmly chewing on something about ten feet from the path, but for some reason Riley got it in his head to find a fish. There are several bridges across a small creek that goes through the park, and we stopped at all of them to try to see a fish (which we eventually did see - several really small ones).
As we were leaving we noticed a large group of men wearing white with bells strapped to their legs - a group called the Morris Dancers had somehow chosen that time and place to perform a number of traditional English folk dances. This one involved smacking sticks together. Others involved waving hankies at each other.
The dancing was interesting for a bit, but to keep people from wandering away, the leader of the group did a number of odd antics involving chasing kids with his broom, swapping hats with a ranger, and dressing as a woman and putting blush on random bystanders.
We managed to sneak away after four dance routines and head off to Stinson Beach. Cousin Jay is from Missouri (motto: "Tidal Wave Free Since 1973") and was anxious to dip his toes in the warm Pacific Ocean. We drove through a lot of fog and marine layer to get to the beach, but were rewarded with sunshine once we got there. (This is not to be confused with it being warm however; there was a cold breeze and, as all you veteran Northern California coast visitors know, the Pacifica Ocean up here is never even vaguely warm.)
Darci had loudly and often professed how it would not be too cold to go into the water at the beach, but when her bluff was called, this was as close as she would get. This showed a level of maturity that we were surprised to see.
Unfortunately, Cousin Jay left his maturity in Missouri, and between him and some other kids that showed up, Darci managed to get very wet. She swore it wasn't cold (between shivers and alarmingly blue lips). Alert viewers will note several people off to the left out in deeper water. Extremely alert viewers will note that the two guys are wearing wet suits while the woman is wearing a bikini. You can guess which was the more insane.
Riley was content to play in the sand. He is not allowed to throw sand in the sand box at home since we anally want to keep the sand in the sand box, but on the beach it is almost impossible to throw the sand out of the sand box. (He found out later though that it is not wise to throw sand into the wind.)
Here Mrs Notthat is up out of the wind trying to get Darci's clothes to dry a bit. This failed though, and Darci ended up wearing Mrs blue shirt. Also, by this time Mrs shorts had been replaced by much more sensible long pants. She is a veteran of Northern California beaches. WHM is too, but assumed that Darci would somehow keep her clothes dry while prancing in the waves.
Here we all are at the Beach Shack Bar and Grill in Stinson Beach. The food was great (I had fish tacos that weirdly came with french fries - not that I'm complaining) and even better, it was warm.
And that was about it. We said our goodbyes to Cousin Jay since we most likely won't see him again on this trip, and headed home - tired, a bit sandy, but full and warm.
That's it - move along...