Costa Coffee

Getting lost is not generally considered a good thing. Last weekend, however, there is no doubt that we benefited from not knowing where we were going. The two friends with whom I had hiked twice in recent weeks had planned to go to the Steep Ravine at Stinson Beach. Two of us had done that walk before; the third friend dropped out of the plans on Friday. We postponed this walk, to a time when he would be able to attend. The other friend picked a closer and shorter hike and sent me an email link.

My friend, Holly, was driving towards the area when she asked me to look up directions on my phone. I followed the email link to an article that said the trail started on Carquinez Scenic Drive. I entered this partial address into Google Maps. It dropped a pin on the road and it showed a trail leading up from close by the pin. On this basis, I started giving directions. Holly was uncertain, as they did not seem to mesh with her memory of a previous trip. However, we trusted Google and continued to follow the instructions.

A slightly confusing road junction led to a detour to the edge of a town, but we returned to our route and found the indicated trail. It led up a hill ad revealed great views down across the Carquinez Straits and Benicia. At the top of the hill was a picnic table, an ideal location for lunch or an evening meal to watch the sunset. We also had views of the town we had found. Thanks to my phone, we found the name of the place, Port Costa, and that it had at least one place to eat.

It soon became clear that was not the correct trail, it was far shorter than the intended target. This gave us a reason, beyond curiosity, to visit Port Costa. We could ask for directions to the correct trail. The view and easy nature of the walk made this a useful discovery as we both know people who we would like to bring back to the location.

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We drove back down to the town. On the outskirts there was a sign that informed us that the business district was quarter of mile down the road. We proceeded down a street of attractive, well kept houses until we reached the waterfront and the aforementioned business district. The sign was guilty of a touch of hyperbole. We found a bar, a cafe, a post office, and a hotel; insufficient businesses to represent an entire district. It was still too early for the former pair to be open. The hotel had an open coffee shop, so we walked into the second piece of good fortune associated with getting lost.

The coffee shop had equipment, none of which looked as though it had been designed in the years since I was born. There was no cappuccino machine. The coffee was made by placing ceramic cones a wooden stand, with glasses underneath. The beans were ground and the coffee made by drip to order. The result was a deep, rich, flavored coffee. The method is ill suited to serving commuters rushing in to grab a coffee on their way to work: it is ideal for those who wish to sit, talk, and take their time to enjoy the drink.

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We asked the owner if he knew where we could find the correct trail. He produced some maps, that allowed us to see where we had gone wrong. Carquinez Scenic Drive is a long road and we should have been at the Martinez end. The owner then went on to explain that he had purchased the building as a site to refine his honey, which was his main business and had decided to open a coffee shop. We tasted his excellent honey and a jam. It was a delightful way to while away an hour on a Saturday morning.

We drove to the correct trail and walked a shortened version of the planned walk, as we had already walked some way on the wrong, but more attractive route.

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Published in: on 2 May, 2012 at 5:36  Comments (1)  

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  1. Sounds like a lovely day, filled with good fortune.

    My first post-school job was in Oakland, and after work I frequently explored Berkeley. I often lost my direction, and discovered tiny shopping districts, interesting cafes, and pretty vistas along the way. I soon left off describing these trips as ‘becoming lost’ and renamed them ‘adventures’. Which they invariably were.


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