This morning, after packing up the gear and the dogs, we went to my mother's place for a short visit before leaving town. She loves seeing Cookie and Kai, and it's great to see her every day that we're in the area.
After more goodbyes, we headed to the Ashland Dog Park again. This time Cookie and Kai were yipping and whining with excitement as we pulled into the parking lot. Not quite the hysteria that accompanies trips to the beach, but still... two very happy and excited dogs.
After some play and some romping, we were back on I-5 South. It's about 4.5 or 5 hours to the Bay Area, an easy drive. We're staying at another VRBO cottage, this time in the Elmwood area of Berkeley. The neighbourhood is gorgeous -- huge trees, large old houses with lush front gardens, very walkable. The cottage is large and pretty amazing, separated from the host's house by a beautiful patio garden. The dogs are allowed to be loose in her yard, but it's not secure enough. She Who Cannot Be Contained would be touring Berkeley in no time.
This cottage is probably a prime example of housing that would have once been a great rental, maybe for two students or a couple, but is now a vacation rental, further depleting the housing stock in an area already squeezed for space. I know some people want travelers to boycott Airbnb and VRBO -- a nice idea for people who don't travel. Public pressure on city councils to restrict vacation rentals seems to be the only way, an uphill battle pitting housing activists against the tourism and hospitality industries, not exactly a level playing field. It's a problem that can't be solved on the consumer level. (Cut and paste that sentence for future use. Telling people to voluntarily inconvenience themselves is not a sound strategy for change, in my view.)
After settling in a bit, we (all four of us) walked down to a locally famous burger joint called The Smokehouse. There's a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's in the area, and I love both, but I knew we'd end up overbuying, especially since we'll be out and about almost the whole time we're here. The burgers and dogs were very good!
Tonight we're sacked out in the cottage, drinking craft beer and cider we picked up in Oregon. We have a busy few days ahead, with lots of plans, lots of people, plus books and baseball.
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