For some reason I thought the drive was going to be 6 hours- it was closer to 9 (with some pit-stops of course). It is safe to say that the four of us who were able to go on this trip got to spend A LOT of quality time together. And by the time we got back to LA we didn’t even hate each other!
The crew: Ariel, Kelli, Jeric, and Rebecca. We left Westwood at just about 11:15am, but not before Kelli had loaded up the car with two large bags of snacks. Unfortunately we hit a bit of traffic leaving LA, but once we got over the Grapevine it was smooth sailing. A few hours later we stopped for a lunch break and then continued the drive up. After passing through parts of the Bay Area we headed into Petaluma on back-roads. It was quite beautiful, with the sun low on the horizon, casting shadows in some places and illuminating others. Cows roamed the hillsides with the occasional barn scattered around. When we finally reached Bodega Bay, I was pleasantly surprised at how large it was. From Kristen’s description I had imagined a barren coastline with nothing but a few houses and one or two restaurants. However, it seemed to me that Bodega was a cute seaside town where many people would like to vacation- we find out later that the 1963 horror film The Birds was shot here (which definitely helped add to the charm…). We stopped at a point down by the water to take some pictures of the sunset and then headed on to find dinner, where our options consisted of fried seafood, fried seafood, and fried seafood.
I-phones in hand, we navigated our way around the bay, further from the town and closer to our destination. As the sun dipped below the horizon and the sky began to darken we finally reached our destination- The Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory! Kelli had been given somewhat vague instructions on how to reach the dorms so we began following them as best we could. The gate code was successful, and we drove down a long driveway and up to a small group of buildings. Following the instructions, we turned at the “first driveway” and began looking for the “dining halls.” After a bit of looking around we concluded that there were no dining halls- everything around looked very much like a lab. But we definitely were in the right place, because the gate code worked, right? Eventually we solve the next piece of the puzzle- we find a “white box” with our “room key” in it. We proceed to try this key on every single lock to no avail. At this point the sky is black and there is what seems like a pack of deer following our every move. We call the housing manager-no answer. We call Kristen – no answer.
Kristen calls back a few minutes later and we explain the situation (you would really think 4 UCLA students should be able to figure this out). She says we should see a basketball hoop- we see a volleyball court. After some more wandering and a second phone call with Kristen we FINALLY figure out that dorms and the lab are not in the same place at all. I guess our definition of “right next to” is a little different from the housing manager’s. We drive the down the driveway of the lab, out the gate, and down the road a short way to a smaller driveway tucked away in the trees. We use the same gate code to get in and pull up in front of what looks to actually be the dining halls! We find a white box, our keys, and unload all of our stuff. Lucky for us, we have a 16 person room all to ourselves (so naturally we choose the 4 beds that are closest together)! 11 hours after leaving LA, we finally had made it to our beds.
Up next, our day at the lab!