West Point Inncredible

Panzanella, vino rosso, insalata.

Had so much fun up at the not-so-secret Wombat Hideout this past week–a five day stay in a no-electricity hotel where you have to WALK or CYCLE to get a bed.

Sally Burr came up, loaded with at least thirty pounds of organic provender and clothing for all weathers. It was about 90 degrees F and she’d ridden from Belvedere (i.e. sea level …to 2000 feet). I had three days and two nights to learn more about this artistic, shy, statuesque wombat-woman whom I’ve known for years and looked forward to riding with (don’t ask me how I wore her out the next day).

I was a storm in the kitchen.

Prepping, chopping…and sometimes even burning-to-a-crisp (A.D.D. cuisine!)

Nothing is more relaxing than chopping vegetables, assuming you don’t slice yr left forefinger into the cilantro yes I do that a bit too often. There goes the ‘vegetarian’ designation. As for the burning…well, that Wolf range is restaurant-caliber and you have to stare at the food to PREVENT it from burning …turn your back (or god forbid go out to the chaise lounge because after turning your back you FORGET the damn food in the huge iron skillet is happily cooking itself into…what looks like another black frying pan.
OK, no problem. Since I always prep around five, I’m way early for the dinner rush.

Just begin again (put the wine glass down and focus on the food and the flame).

Got loads of ingredients (back door supplier in summertime overflow mode).

The most fun element is the people tromping up the steps. Most visitors are NOT spending the night. The Old Railroad Grade (and old Stage Road, and El Drudge Grade) deliver at least a hundred people on a fine summer day. Most are looking for a view, a workout, or that True High that comes from ascending a Genuine Mountain. Some even leave their Self-Owns switched off (it’s against the rules to even USE the damn things on the Inn property, thank goddess).

Many are looking for lemonade or a snack bar…some are looking for a similar soul who hikes or bikes…and one or two are dealing with demons, and you get to help them by uh…letting them tell you all about it.

Thursday’s smorgasbord of hiking and cycling humanity included ‘Uncle Tony’– a ruddy faced Irish Australian who came to Marin in the mid-sixties and never left.

Hauling himeself up the last step to the deck he says: “Don’t get up!”

Another grandiose comic like me, telling people to remain seated!!
Hmm. This merry, grizzled gent regaled me about Forbes Island, and how it used to be…and I promised myself a visit Pier 39 somehow, somewhere, just to make sure that this memorable gent who out-rode his 25 year old niece up the mountain, wasn’t just a hallucination with an Irish/Ozzie accent.
I get hallucinations now and then.
Then they prove real…and I have to ask yet again: is life but a dream?
Is the Row Row Row Your Boat song telling an imponderable never-ending cyclical truth?

And: is this row-boat floating gently on the Niagara river Kay Ryan describes?

(Ed: are you using too many words? Kay does so much more in a few lines…)

The heat was hard to take until I remembered to dampen a cotton longsleeve shirt to serve the dinner looking disheveled and demure. Drew a cool bath and sent lobster-red hikers up to chill for a few minutes in it before they headed down the mountain. A guaranteed non-conforming Use Of The Inn.

There will be a few racers from the Single Speed World Championship coming up there next tuesday: Artist Damo-the Bamboo Bridge Maker and his girlfriend, and Andy Laing for sure…assuming they can find the place.

~ by jacquiephelan on August 19, 2008.

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