Monday, May 4, 2009

"The best laid plans of mice and men ..."

... sometimes get rained on or changed at the last moment. So far, my trip to California seems to have been one changed plan after another that gets rained on but that doesn't mean it's been bad - just not what I thought.

I don't know how many times I heard on the news this morning that normally California only gets three total rainy days for the entire month but so far, it has rained every single day of May and apparently there is more in store for the next couple of days. Oh yay, oh yay - do I have good timing or what??

In addition to the rain which has kind of messed things up, Cyndi and I had to change plans for our trip to Santa Cruz when her husband came down with a nasty case of the flu (his doctor doesn't think it's swine flu or the H1N1 virus but it's the flu nonetheless) and Cyndi needed to stay home to take care of him. It's kind of hard to do anything for yourself when your bones feel like melted jello so I fully understood why she needed to bail out on me. Still, it was a disappointment for her to miss out on the trip but the hotel room had been booked and paid for, Katherine was waiting, and I've driven to New York City by myself so Santa Cruz had to be a piece of cake in spite of the crappy weather and traffic, right? Hence I made the trip across the Santa Cruz mountains on my own and checked into the Inn at Pasatiempo which is a charming little place nestled at the bottom of the mountains.

I'm no expert when it comes to flowers - that would have been Cyndi's department - but there are quite a few fragrant blossoms outside of my door that are lovely to look at and really add to the beauty of this place. I'm sorry Cyndi had to miss it - she would have really liked it.

After dropping my bags in my room, I climbed back into the car and made my way down to Santa Cruz proper to meet up with Katherine, authoress of Wading Through My Stream of Consciousness. I originally met Katherine during last year's visit when we got together for dinner at Cancun in Stockton along with Sandee and Zane and Katherine's guy, The Teamster and she is a great person who takes great pictures and lives in a great town.

Thankfully it had stopped raining and even though it was still overcast as well as foggy and misty, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour that Katherine gave me of what is apparently Surf Central here in the United States! Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever seen so many surfers in one place just out bobbing around in the ocean waiting for a wave to come along that they can catch a ride on. I never knew surfers' had to be so patient but apparently they are and they also have their own rules of etiquette and proper surfer behavior. From what Katherine was telling me, it's probably not a good idea to tick a surfer off when it comes to taking your turn out of order with a wave, the consequences could be more than you bargained for!

After dinner at Katherine's favorite Mexican place (as delicious as any Mexican food I remember!), we drove around some more and Katherine showed me a rather unusual site -

This is the Palo Alto, a World War I supply ship that was made from cement and rebar when steel was in short supply. Formerly docked at the Seacliff Beach Pier as a casino and dance hall until its owners went bust during the Great Depression., it's currently home to an awful lot of birds! Katherine also tells me that it's like a manmade tidal pool in that there are all sorts of marine life living below it's submerged decks.

Following our short walk on the short pier, we drove back towards Santa Cruz itself to another popular surfing locale, Steamer Lane, which was really covered in mist and fog but where many more surfers were out waiting to catch the next curl. Also located here is the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum which is housed in the Mark Abbot Memorial Lighthouse.

Being the curious sort, I did a little bit of research and found out the following about this little lighthouse -
On February 28, 1965, Mark Abbott, age 18, drowned while bodysurfing in the waters near Pleasure Point, three miles east of Point Santa Cruz. Mark’s parents, Chuck and Esther Abbott, had purchased a life insurance policy for their son’s 18th birthday, and shortly after the accident they received a $20,000 payment. Remembering that Mark had enjoyed the lighthouses seen during their family vacation along the Oregon coast, the Abbotts decided to use the insurance money to donate a lighthouse to the city in honor of their son. Five years earlier, the city had purchased all of the lighthouse property except for the area immediately around the still active wooden Coast Guard tower. In 1967, the brick Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse was built adjacent to the wooden tower that it would replace. The lantern room from the decommissioned Oakland Harbor Lighthouse was used atop the new lighthouse, and Mark’s ashes were buried at the base of the tower. (Badly corroded, the lantern room was replaced in 1996.)
Katherine tells me the surfing museum is suffering from the same financial difficulties that is affecting so many other places in this country and is currently closed pending the ability of the Santa Cruz Surfing Club Preservation Society to keep it open. In the meantime, though, it still looks pretty cool in the mist and fog!

With any luck, that mist and fog won't make a reappearance today and I'll be able to actually see the ocean when Katherine and I continue our tour of the area. I believe that the Santa Cruz mission and another lighthouse are on the agenda along with the boardwalk and maybe even a train trestle before we make our way back towards Stockton and dinner with Sandee and Zane at my very favorite Mexican restaurant. Let's see how these plans go, shall we?!?


  1. Sorry things aren't going according to plans, but at least you got some great photos!

    I hope that her hubby's flu is short-lived at that he's feeling much better very soon!

    Give Sandee a Big Hug for me!

  2. I'm sure your gonna have a good time weather the weather cooperates or not.

  3. What a shame Cinndi is missing out on the trip.

    The pics are great, as usual, and you pack so much interesting information into you post. :)

  4. no place in the world like the california coast line.

  5. "...often go arwy"

    The weather does put a bit of a damp-er on least it isn't

    The Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce should think about hiring you.

    Well done on the local history...I did not know the details about how the lighthouse came to be.

    looking forward to more and to dinner with Sandee and Zane!

  6. Anonymous10:04 AM EDT

    Sorry the weather was cruddy. I'll bet it was fun to meet up with bloggers. So, what's Sandee really like? Bwhahaahahaha!

    Hope Cyn's hubby feels better soon. NO fun being puny.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  7. have fun honey and give sandee a big hug from me please?

    smiles, bee

  8. Zane and I have enjoyed Santa Cruz many, many times. Have fun and we'll see you tonight at seven. Looking forward to it.

    Big hug to you both and a big hug to Empress Bee too. :)

  9. Hope the sun will come out for you soon. Love the mystical pic of the coast/Palo Alto :o)

  10. I love the photo of the tree. a piece of nature hanging off a cliff.

  11. Hugs abound... I am sooooo jealous that you get to hug Sandee. Share some from Mark & I, k?

    Love the lighthouse pic, just like I said on Flickr, absolutely the best!!!

  12. Santa Cruz was always a favored spot in my childhood summers and that drive over 17 was a way to let go of problems when I was an adult. You are in a beautiful place. The Palo Alto is a favored diving spot because of the fish that live there. Will you get to Monterey?

  13. Plans went awry for me as well, when the person I was due to visit was sick.

  14. That sunken ship is pretty cool.

    I hope the surfing society gets a run of good luck soon. It would be a shame to lose all that history.

  15. Would you believe I was a surfer girl? Yeah, hard to believe, especially since I have dark hair!
    Actually, it was back in the '60's and we had those l-o-n-g boards.
    We used to hang out in Huntington Beach (about 15-20 min. from my house)close to the pier. Truthfully, I spent more time waxing my board than actually surfing!
    Re the weather - you could've come a couple of weeks earlier when the heat wave broke all types of records up in Katherineville! It was hot, hot, hot!!!
    As usual, loving the photos and narrative. Please give Sandee a big hug and smooch from me - but I'm afraid you won't see this until after dinner!


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