Coastal Driving

Published: June 5th 2013
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Coastal Driving

Today we drove up the California coast, and by we I really mean me. The problem with driving up the coast is the driving. When driving you are not able to look at the surroundings as much as you would like due to having to actually watch the road. And when you are driving you are unable to take photos as much as you would like, creating even more frustration. My co-pilot (Stephen) did assist with a few pics, but it just wasn't the same.

An early morning for all of us, Donald was off to his conference and the kids and I walked to a local bakery for breakfast. The city was quiet and calm this morning, a vast difference from last night. We then headed down the highway making our way to Santa Cruz. After a wrong turn and the correct address punched in to the GPS, we were back on track. We arrived at the Boardwalk around 10am but the rides did not open until 11am. The Boardwalk is an attraction composed of an amusement park, wharf, arcade, volleyball nets, beaches and sea lions. I decided to give the kids a break from my type of vacation and give them some fun things to do. I do not enjoy amusement parks, in fact I find nothing amusing about them. But I took one for the team.

Since we were early we walked to the wharf and down the dock. We watched the fishermen and sea lions for a bit, walked in a few gift shops and Stephen read all the menus of the local restaurants getting ready for lunch. We walked back to the amusement area and found it packed with people. In an hours time, the area went from 10 people to about 1000 people. It was apparently senior day for the local high schools and students were dropped off by the bus load. We played a round of putt-putt and walked to the roller coaster. That was the only ride that Stephen wanted to go on. After seeing the long line, he changed his mind. We walked around a little more, went in the arcade and decided to leave for the coast. I guess it wasn't the best day to go there.

We toured downtown Santa Cruz more than we would have liked. We had a difficult time finding CA1 and my co-pilot was a little directionally challenged. After a few more wrong turns, we ended up in the right direction. Driving up the coast is challenging and rewarding. I pulled off at several areas to view the coast line and safely be out of traffic's way. Many were high above the actual beach, which just added to the dramatic landscape. We stopped in Davenport for lunch and had some awesome burgers (pesto and blue cheese burger) and drove a bit farther up the coastal highway.

From what I recall, the portion of CA1 that we drove last summer (northern CA), was much curvier than the section we were on today, for which I am thankful. I was really dreading the drive today, but it was not too bad. We stopped high along a cliff and spotted rocks and rugged cliffs at the water's edge and thought that it would be a good place to search for marine life. A tough hike down (and even tougher back up), we climbed, walked, and searched, but mostly found sea anemones and mussels. We were hoping for more starfish like we had found before, but did not see any today. After making it back up, the kids were ready to go back to the hotel, I think mostly because they were disappointed in the lack of creatures in the tide pools. We continued on to Half Moon Bay before leaving the coastal highway and getting back on the interstate.

The weather was a bit odd today. It was sunny and clear when we left San Jose and when we returned, but cloudy and cold when we got to Santa Cruz. And there was this blanket of clouds that hung onto the coast line all day, creating a haze and limited visibility. Two days ago it was 97 degrees in the mountains of Yosemite, but today on the coast it was 55 degrees. Weird.

Traffic was bad getting back into San Jose as most metro cities are during rush hour. We made it safely with only one wrong turn and a detour through what might have been the projects, but we arrived just in time for dinner. The kids wanted Italian so we walked to The Old Spaghetti Factory. It was tasty and I guess all the walking in the city makes you feel a little less guilty about all the good food being eaten. We then walked back to the hotel and was later joined by Donald. Everyone is back in the lobby for some internet usage and then off to end yet another day. Tomorrow's agenda: The Tech Museum, maybe an art museum and who knows what else we will find to do in the city.

Additional photos below
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5th June 2013

These are beautiful pictures, and I think you'll have found something to do while Donald is working!!! Have a good time an be safe!! Love you all!!!

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