From A Cabin In The Woods
When last we spoke I mentioned that I quit my job. Instead of summarizingÂ that post you should just click the link and read all about it.Â Then you can come back and read the rest of this post.
This past Friday was my last day in the office. It was rather quaint, surprisingly. Much more so than I thought it would be. My last few days were a flurry of activity and I leftÂ on an incredibly positive note. I was very flattered by the respect I was shown on my way out by both the higher-ups at the company and my peers. Without divulging any details, they made it abundantly clear that they were sorry to see me go, but understood the decision. My last day included donuts, thai food, and beers. Hugs on my way out the door. I like to thinkÂ I’ll crossÂ pathsÂ with everyone again in the near future.
That said, I’m not entirely free yet. I’m “remote” this week, in the sense that I’m on-call should any of my former clients require servicesÂ no one else at the company can perform for them. And since working remotely means I can work from anywhere, I decided to venture up the coast to Northern California for a few days of relaxation, exploration, and…well…inebriation. My base of operations for the next few days is thisÂ cute little cabin in Santa Rosa:
The place is about the size of my apartment, sleeps two, with a little attached bathroom and kitchenette, a space heater for extra warmth and a large skylight overhead toÂ let in natural light. The woman who owns the cabin lives…somewhere else in town I think? I don’t know, really. There were keys to both the gate and the cabin door hiddenÂ outside and IÂ have herÂ phone number if anything goes wrong or something doesn’t work. Other than that, all isÂ quiet, tucked away behind a residential street, in a densely wooded neighborhood.
Yesterday was the LA marathon so early morning — before traffic wrecked havoc on the city — made for a ideal departure time. Having traversedÂ the scenic routes before (ie. the Pacific Coast Highway and US-101 through the Central Coast) I-5 would suffice this time. Maybe the drive home will be more scenic. We’re kind of flying the seat of our pants right on this adventure.
The first and only stop of yesterday’s drive occurred in Berkeley, at The Rare Barrel. As oneÂ of the most consistent,Â high-quality beer programs in the country, I’ve been dying to visit their tasting room for years. I’ve also been a member of their Ambassadors Of Sour club for a few years. This has been a source ofÂ frustration for meÂ me because myÂ living in LA means I’ve never been able to take advantage of any on-site perks afforded to club members.
The tasting room is very welcoming. A big, open space with an invitingÂ atmosphere, it boasts several long communal tables mixed with couches, a bar, and plenty of standing room around (wait for it…) barrels!Â SO MANY BARRELS. There was still an hour’sÂ drive left to reach Santa Rosa, so I was happy to consume More Mango (a golden sour aged in oak with mangoes) and Saphir Effect (a golden sour aged in oak barrels and hopped with saphir) before grabbing a dozen or so bottles, some glassware, and a growler that was all packed up and waiting to be retrieved by me as part of my membership.
The drive fromÂ Berkeley to Santa Rosa took about an hour. Once settled in, unpacked, and relaxed, it was off to Russian River for dinner. From the cabin’s frontÂ door to the front door of brewpub was a shade over a mile. The choice toÂ walk was an obvious one. Even on a Sunday night in the sleepy town of Santa Rosa, the wait for a table was about 45 minutes. I bellied up to the bar and ordered a pint of Pliny the Elder (happy hour all day on Sundays meant $3.75 pints) until a table was ready. Upon being seated, I required a full flight board, which includes one of every beer on the menu. All 21 of them.
The jaws of theÂ couple at the next tableÂ over dropped as this behemoth was placed before me.
“Is that just forÂ you?” The girl asked.
“Of course!” I responded.
The guy she was with snickered and shook hisÂ head. Wings and pizza were ordered to pair with the beers, and before we had a chance to chat further the couple at the next table over abruptly stood up and left.
“I’m really impressed by all this,” the girl said, studying the flight board.
“Have aÂ safe night, man.” The guy said.
I smiled and nodded, like a warrior preparing for battle. As the couple scuttled away I reached for the first glass andÂ the odyssey began.
Less than five minutes later, the girl from the next table over appeared. She slid into one of the vacant seats at the tableÂ and asked, “Do you mind if I sit here?” Confused, I asked what was up. She mentioned that she had beenÂ on an awkward Tinder date, was decidedly not into the guy, but sheÂ wanted to enjoy the barÂ and drink and so…could she? As a naturally inquisitive and personable guy, I was immediately intrigued by this situation. I wanted to hear all the details of the date, what kind ofÂ system she used for bailing, and whether or not this was a common thing for her. So for the next three or four hours while I worked my way through the flight board, pizza and wings, a new friend was made! She even offered to play tour guide later in the week, and providedÂ a list of wineries to visit in Sonoma.
The only downside to making a new friend was that I literally can’t remember 15 of the 21 beers I consumed last night because the conversation was so lively and engaging. I’m pretty sure I was nonplussed by the pales, blondes and table beers. The porter was better than I thought it would beÂ and of course all the sours were top-notch. They have a version of a BiÃ¨re de Garde they call a BiÃ¨re de Sonoma that was nice. Supplication (a brown ale aged in pinot barrels with cherries and the usual souring bugs) is always so, so delicious. Fresh Pliny and Blind Pig are as good as IPAsÂ get. After I finished the flight I ordered one last pint of Pliny before calling it a night. At thatÂ point I think new friend might have been more concerned than impressed byÂ my tolerance, but whatever.
“What’s the best way to walk home?” I asked as we were settlingÂ our tabs.
And that’s how I learned there’s a huge cemetery rightÂ smack dab in the middle of oneÂ potential path between Russian River and the cabin.Â Naturally — after wishing new friend a fond farewell — a dumb, drunken decision was made to take aÂ midnight strollÂ through the cemetery. Pitch black, with only a cell phone and a camera to locate the path, somehow the night ended in the safety of the cabin’sÂ fenced-in yard, huddledÂ by the fire pit, enjoying the starry sky and the soundlessness of the woods.
Six Organs Of Admittance – Things As They Are [MP3]
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