Initially, I thought this site was going to be about things to do in Yosemite, but as it has morphed into just a little personal blog – the easiest kind to write – I might as well include my little vacation to Santa Cruz.
My parents came out to CA for a visit. I’m not sure what they thought of the Yosemite part of their trip. We went to Glacier Point and around the Valley, but they seemed mostly to be interested in sitting around our house and helping us with chores. Plus, I made them spend an hour picking up trash for the Yosemite Facelift. “Yeah, there’s Half Dome, ooo, and there’s an aluminum can, grab that.”
They arrived Saturday,and finally on Wednesday we were on our way to Santa Cruz. We drove in and walked the 3 (not 2 as the hotel optimistically claims) blocks to the Boardwalk. It looks a little Disneyland for my taste, but it’s mostly closed and the beach is not at all crowded. The groups playing beach volleyball stir a bit of nostalgia, but my volleyball-playing days are long gone. Not only am I out of practice, but even the thought of diving for the ball makes my back cringe – even if I’m just hitting sand.
We would have had dinner at the Gilbert’s restaurant on the Wharf, but the rude and stupid Maitre-D’ put us all off. Tom was worried that there would be a table minimum, and asked if there would be a problem if only a few of us wanted a full entree. The maitre d’ just looked at us, said, "Yes", then waited in silence for us to turn on our heels and leave. No apology and no explanation. So there’s that. I wish I were Seth Godin (or had all of Seth Godin’s readers), and could let loose on the stupidity of doing that to potential customers.
We went off to spend our money at a more friendly establishment that was serving Live Maine Lobster at a special rate. That turned out to be a good decision anyway, because I don’t know when I’ve seen my parents more gleeful about food, and tonight when we walked by, I took some satisfaction in seeing the snooty maitre-d’ standing in front of many empty tables. I wish them many more empty tables in the future.
Other than that, we’ve been enjoying our time in Santa Cruz. This morning after a jog along the coast from our hotel, we headed inland to poke around the UCSC arboretum and campus. This isn’t really the season for the arboretum, but we enjoyed the the exotic looking African and Australian plants, and the humming birds. My parents wandered off without us, and while looking for them, we spotted a beautiful bobcat. Tom found out later that this is her second season in the arboretum, and was recently seen with kittens. We found my parents later – they’d been enjoying the gift shop – and decided to take off up the coast. The trip around the UCSC campus was a bit of a whim, and we were surprised at how spread out and hilly the campus was. Heaven forbid that you should have alternating classes at either ends of campus… unless you were looking for some exercise.
After that, we headed to the beach, relaxed and enjoyed watching some experienced kite surfers playing in the waves at Rancho del Oso. On the way back, we picked up a half-flat of organic strawberries from a fruit stand that we hope to return to before the end of the week.
During the second part of the week, we went down to Monterey to visit Uncle Daniel and Aunt Joyce, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Aunt Joyce is still recovering from back surgery, but she was her typical energetic and hospitable self, we took several family pictures at her house. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is always a pleasure, and the jellyfish tanks have always been my favorite. Uncle Daniel also suggested a drive south along the coast and a stop at Angel Point (if I remember correctly) where we saw a few wild otters, merrily playing hide and seek with a few kayakers fortunate to be out on the water.
Anthony and Julie joined us for the weekend, and brought their Wii with them. We spent Saturday relaxing with them, and my arms and shoulders were sore for days after playing a bit too much Wii tenis, and boxing. Aunt Grace came down from Rio Vista, and we all relaxed together Saturday. On Sunday, Anthony and Julie left to shop for supplies for won ton making lessons later in the day, but the rest of us returned to Monterey for lunch with Aunt, Uncle, and my cousin David and his family.