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Published: September 27th 2012
Today was a wonderful visit to Santa Cruz with David’s sister Janel, her husband Kelly, and later having dinner with her daughter and son-in-law Rebecca and Brendan.
The day began by sleeping in at the hotel in Hayward and then having their complementary breakfast. We packed an overnight bag and headed off for Santa Cruz (a little over an hour away). Our arrival was planned for noon so Janel could complete a couple of conference calls, and then we all had a terrific afternoon and evening together.
We started with a tour of their house in downtown Santa Cruz. This is a truly neat home will a ton of character and many special attributes. They have a 3-story house in a nice quiet neighborhood. They have two large huskies (the larger – Noel – weighs almost 180 pounds). They also have a fish pond in the back yard where the fish are approximately 2 feet long. It is really a remarkable home.
We then went to the Santa Cruz pier and ate a delicious lunch at the very end of the pier. The seafood was great and very fresh. Afterwards we
walked along and watched the waves, the pelicans and seagulls, and the sea lions under the pier. The temperature was a probably in the upper 60s and with a light breeze. The fog was clearing and we had a good view back of the town from the end of the pier.
Afterwards we drove along the coast, stopping several times along the way for scenic views. We watched some surfboarders but the waves weren’t very high today. We saw the Wednesday Regatta race far out on the horizon and the fin of an Orca just beyond the surfers. Then we stopped at an overlook of the Natural Bridges (only one arch remains where the sea has gradually collapsed the other arches). There were hundreds of birds perched on the bridges, sunning themselves. It was pretty neat.
All along the coast we drove past uncountable houses with widely diverse styles and architectures. They varied from very old styles to modern. It was really fascinating to view each one, understanding that the ocean-view alone would raise the value extremely high. But each one had its own character and probably has a fascinating history behind
We then proceeded inland and went to the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. There are actually four different portions of the park, and we started with an 8-min video about the whole park. We only walked through the tall tree (redwoods) portion of the park today, but that in itself was incredible. Some of the trees are more than 2000 years old. At one place a cross-section of a fallen tree was labeled to indicate what historical even was occurring at various times on the tree’s rings. The ring when Jesus Christ was born is marked with a small plaque. Likewise other events like the founding of the Mayan city Chichen Itza, when the Magna Carta was signed, the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, etc. Janel explained that sometimes these trees get struck by lightening, and in that manner a chunk of the trunk catches fire and burns out a kind of cave in the tree, but the tree continues growing. Anyway, it was an eye-opening tour which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Then it was back to town and registering at a very fancy hotel in Santa Cruz, called the Dream
Kelly, Janel, & Janet
In front of 2000 year old Tree Rings
Inn. We have a great room overlooking the beach and we will hear the surf breaking on the shore at night. This is considerably fancier than our Fairfield hotel in Hayward. After dropping off our bag, we went back to Janel’s house and had some “rest time” while we ate cheese and crackers, and drank some wine. After about an hour it was time to go to dinner at the Crow’s Nest.
Rebecca and Brendan were able to join us, but unfortunately Samantha could not come with her son Sean. But it was good to get to see them again. The food was scrumptious, preceded by appetizers, accompanied by more wine, and completed with dessert. David had Seafood Alfredo and Janet had Filet Mignon. This certainly set the bar very high for the cruise line to serve something nearly as tasty and filling.
After dinner we all said our goodbyes and we have gone back to the hotel. We were given a terrific guided tour of the local community and received many valuable suggestions for tomorrow. THANK YOU VERY MUCH to Janel and Kelly for giving us a wonderful tour, two excellent
meals, and a very fancy and restful hotel this evening. We have had a terrific time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves today. Hopefully someday they will come to St Louis and we can show them some of the St Louis area.
We did take pictures today, but they will have to be edited and added in a couple of days. That’s about all for this evening.
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