Last week, we hopped a train down to San Jose to visit my wife’s uncle and visit him and his home city, Santa Cruz. It wasn’t long enough, and sleeping in coach on a train may be better than sleeping on a plane, but still: sleeping in a chair. (The train ride from Seattle to SJC was 24 hours, 20 minutes.)
So, it was not long enough. Few vacations ever are. However, my uncle has a beautiful little house with a pretty little garden (filled with drought-resistant plants, because California) and the beach was only literally a ten-minute walk away.
Pics behind the cut:
Natural Bridges State Park, an amazing little beach near my uncle’s home. Yeah, there are a ton of rocks in the surf. Here’s the view from the cliff:
Here’s a view from the water as the tide went out:
Yeah, I got in the water for that pic. No, I didn’t pack my bathing suit, because I’m an idiot.
There’s a cliff side trail a person can jog, walk, or bike into the downtown, and it includes all kinds of gorgeous views.
In fact, we were right here:
which is video we didn’t shoot (it was shot last July w/ a quadrocopter) but we recognized the location immediately. The waves were much smaller during our stay, but there were still surfers.
There were also these dudes with spear guns heading out into the rocks to have their fun.
Even though we only had a one-shot camera, you can tell when my wife takes a picture, because she has a good eye. I think this looks like a book cover:
One day we went to the beach at Rio del Mar, and at first I thought the rio didn’t del all the way to the mar…
but I was happy to be wrong.
That was a Saturday, so you can see the beach was much more crowded. I’m told these spaces would be thronged with people (and more stuff would be open) once school let out, but we were happy to skip a ride on a log flume to stand in near-empty surf. Sadly, the beaches there are quite steep and there’s usually no reef, so the waves break very close to shore. Still: fun!
At the wharf, you hear sea lions constantly (you see them out in the surf, too) but to get a good picture you have to train your camera to the underside of the big tourist pier:
Next, as my uncle explained it: “Santa Cruz: Berkeley at the Beach”
And, of course, California:
Finally, here’s some writer pron: We got to hang out at the mountain retreat of an academic and writer, and I was completely in awe of her little writer’s room, which is thoroughly insulated and commands a territorial view of an agricultural valley:
I really, really need to sell more books so I can get one of these for myself.
Post-Finally, a homecoming: