The Palo Alto
The once party Ship
As I promised, here's a little more about the Palo Alto, the cement tanker commissioned during WWI during the steel shortage, which was completed too late to enter the war. Seeing as how it lacked a purpose in peacetime, it was sold to an entertainment company, which beached it along the California coast and turned it into a resort. During its glory days, the Palo Alto featured a boardwalk, a fine restaurant, and a dance hall. Unfortunately, the gaiety was short-lived; the Great Depression squished any chance the resort had at profitability. It was sold to the state and turned into an extension of the wooden fishing pier. Now it is too dangerous to go out on and has become a habitat for wildlife.
We woke to the sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline. Our morning walk led us past the visitor center on time to watch them feed the animals in their aquariums; The baby swell shark "Bella", a prickleback named "Carol" who would steal food from the anemones, some surprisingly fast sea stars and a hand full of turban snails.
After Seacliff we headed north east to a town called Los Gatos (Spanish for "the
Restore the Carousel
This man is a volunteer working on a 100+ year old carousel horse
cats"), where we stopped at Vasona County Park. Walking around the park we saw loads of picnickers, grazing canada geese, a small train and a man restoring a hundred year old carousel horse. After the walk we were away again, this time to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. The 160 room house was built by Sarah Winchester to placate the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle, spirits she believed were responsible for the death of her child and husband. Construction began on the house in 1884 and continued, unceasing, until her death in 1922. The house is a beautifully twisted example of Victorian architecture, and a real delight to visit, with winding stairs, shining stained glass, and doors in surprising places.
We then drove on to Oakland, where we stayed the night with our cousin Ginger and her husband Lewis. The RV barely fit into their tiny driveway, but we made it in the end. Seeing their cat, Mr. B, made us really miss our own tabby, Pilvi, at home. (Our parents report that the feeling is not mutual. He's just ecstatic that we took Rascal away with us.) Lewis left shortly after we arrived
The Mystery House
The Famous estate of Mrs. Winchester
for a late recording session, while Ginger showed us around their home, the guest house they are renovating, her glass blowing studio, and the neighborhood. Passing a house next to a public park, about 7 german shepherds barked and growled at us from behind a chain link fence, nearly causing permanent damage to our eardrums. Back at Ginger's place, we stayed up 'til 12:30 a.m. chatting and drinking tea.
We woke to the sound of construction work on the BART system beside their home and took Rascal for a walk around the block. Bidding Ginger a fond farewell, and leaving some of our southern California avocados with her, we drove on in search of groceries. The grocery our cousin recommended, Berkley Bowl, proved to be crowded with patrons in search of good deals, so we made our stay quick.
A quick drive north to West Sacramento brought us to another cousin's place. We parked on the street outside their development, and drove to Sizzler with our cousin Ricky, his wife Michelle, and their son Noah, who was utterly taken with Rascal. After some good food and conversation we returned to their house, though not before a detour to
The Winchester House
Sadly we were not able to take pictures inside
get Noah a strawberry slushie, a treat he had been promised during dinner. We said hello to Michelle's mom, Rose, and Ricky showed us the computer he had built, and I was filled with envy; it was a seriously nice rig. Their dog had recently passed, and they graciously insisted that we take the kibble and treats left behind, for which Rascal was duly grateful. Taking our leave in the morning after some housekeeping, we waved goodbye to these generous hosts.
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