29 March 2009

Our First Visitor | Chris iii.b

Saturday 21 March

Santa Cruz
We stopped once more on the way to Santa Cruz. The sun had started win over the clouds, and we noticed we were on high cliffs. Jesse was down some imaginary path before I even got out of the car. Chris followed reluctantly and I opted to stay behind. I don't like to go through brush with exposed ankles. That's how you get Lyme Disease and that's not cool. I did take pictures though. It was pretty.

The rain had returned by the time we got to Santa Cruz. It added to the frustration of searching for the boardwalk. I mean I thought the boardwalk was the only thing going for Santa Cruz and we drove through the whole town (twice) without seeing any signs for it. We drove though Main Street at Jesse's suggestion and eventually found the boardwalk on the other side. Nice planning Santa Cruz.

It's been a long time since I was on a boardwalk. And I admit I forgot what it was like. There was the obligatory arcade and the food stands serving all things fried. There were Dippin' Dots, cotton candy stands ($3.75 these days for sugar and air), and lame games run by apathetic teens. There were the younger kids running from ride to ride calculating how many tickets they needed for each ride. There were the older kids flirting with the guy frying twinkies. And there were the adults trying to relive the good times. I enjoyed the boardwalk, and I do plan to go back on a sunnier day.

And then our planned trip was over. We had driven along the coast. We had walked the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. But we still had daylight. And decided that was all we needed to keep driving.

Monterey
We kept heading south along the coast until we got to Monterey. We parked at San Carlos beach and walked along Cannery Row. Along the way there were signs explaining the economic history of the original businesses along the row and the impact both John Steinbeck and Hollywood had. Now it's mostly for tourists and is full of shops and hotels. Still, it's along the coast and has a lot of scenic spots. We did not go to the aquarium, which I've heard is lovely. So we'll be going back to Monterey.

We saw people diving and fishing along Fisherman's Wharf. Apparently there's a canyon in Monterey Bay. It's as deep as the Grand Canyon and is part of the reason the aquarium is where it is. There's all kinds of underwater exploring happening underneath those tranquil sunsets. Who knew?

The best part of Monterey Bay's Fisherman's Wharf were the birds. Not the seagulls, but the other ones who are so far nameless. I mean the seagulls are nice to look at, and they seem to have a lot of personality, but the black birds with the blue highlights and white whiskers held our attention. First off, they're black - which struck me as odd for a beach bird. And then we saw one get some kelp, fly to a rock, and start a ritual. At first we thought (s)he was going to puke, you know - to feed some chicks we couldn't see. But that didn't entirely make sense, since the bird hadn't actually eaten the kelp. So we watched for at least five minutes. I recorded it to give you a taste.

video

So we saw Santa Cruz. And we saw Monterey. But we still had some daylight. And the map said Pebble Beach was just around the corner.