January 31, 2012

My Unexpectedly Short Trip Through Nicasio Valley

My steering wheel was shaking. That's what you can expect from a 14 year old car with no power steering, right? Its been doing this for a while but last Tuesday it started to concern me and I got a tire blow out later that day. It seems like it has gotten worse. I continue down highway 101 north anyway and exit at Lucas Valley Road. My car roughly rounds the tight curves, winding its way up into the hills. Each shake of the steering wheel creates a loud thud, which is worse when I pull the wheel to the left. I take it slow.

The road makes its way out of the large waves of grass covered hills into a magnificent stretch of tall redwoods. It is dark and quiet and mysterious, where we might discover the secrets that our soul may not reveal, even to ourselves. Here, these things can find their way out.

The road exits the redwoods to sprawling, rolling hills and a layer of fog. I turn down Nicasio Valley Road and stop in the tiny village of Nicasio. Fields meet village, coming right up to the edge of town.

There are less than ten buildings here, in the middle of nowhere, and one of them happens to be a church I like. I ask myself why I have always been enamored by this church. It is quaint and charming and dropped into the middle of poetic landscape.

The rest of the town is also intriguing, a hint of an older time, perhaps, and a contrast to the way of life just ten miles away. There are men exiting from a restaurant and getting into their trucks and I wonder what they do here, what is their day like?

There is an oak tree and a field that intrigues me, so I creep along the edge of the fence and try to make some images. This is why I came out here, to discover what might be waiting.

Back on the road, it takes me around Nicasio Reservoir and eventually to the town of Point Reyes Station, where I stop for a quick snack at the bakery. I linger and wonder if I could live here. It is beautiful and rural and quiet and not too far from the city. We are looking for a quieter place where we feel at home.

Continuing towards the coast with increasing fog and decreasing chance at any vista at all, I finally stop at a gravel lot, worried about my car, and call my Dad. Yup, I still call my Dad about car trouble as he is an excellent source of information. His diagnosis: its either a ball joint or a wheel bearing and I should probably turn around.

I am disappointed and worried as I slowly make my way back. I am, however, lured to stop a couple more times in Nicasio Valley to capture a few more images for the day. It often happens that I see something when I am driving and I let it pass. I regret this, as I am not sure where I am in such a hurry to get to, and isn't this what I out here today to do?

I make it safely back to the city, relieved. The next day the mechanic informs me that the wheel bearing needs to be replaced and the tire is beginning to separate. Different and unrelated issues, since the tire was probably damaged after hitting a bad pot hole and explains the blow out of the other other tire on the same side. Thanks Dad for your wisdom.

All in all, it wasn't the day I had hoped for, but it was a day and it had its upsides and here it is.


  1. All these photos created a longing in me for California. The beauty is so very different than Oregon, which has its own beauty, but vastly different. You captured what never failed to inspire me when my friend and I would take a day trip and see all the wondrous landscapes.....Thank you, Barbara

  2. I love the photos as well. Next time I visit I want to go here.