Feb21 Road Trip: more Santa Cruz with PCH vistas



I can tell that it’s been a good vacation when I have trouble keeping track of what day it is. That started for me about Saturday. Yesterday was Wednesday, and even before typing that I had to take a second to really think about it. For a time when we’d planned so little, the days seem very full even though we couldn’t quite say what we did. No day was a better example of that feeling than yesterday.

I got the blog up first thing, as always, and we ventured out about 7am for the traditional walk and coffee run. Although the coffee in the room is decent, they don’t have any travel cups. Plus Ash just likes going out for coffee. Lord knows I don’t mind.

I found a place open on Yelp that was just a few blocks away to the east. It required the use of a cool wooden bridge, which resulted in the above shot.

It was called Pacific Point and was a little convenience store but had a good coffee setup. They also had a wild variety of hot sauces, which seemed awfully random, including several variations of the Pepper Plant brand. It’s one I really like and you typically only see it along the central coast. Ash had never heard of it so we bought the salsa version to take home.

photo of the salsa

Coffees in hand, we went back west along the same path we’d done the night before. It looked much different in the daytime. Above is the wharf against the rising sun.

There are beautiful houses along this strip. What lovely views they must have of Monterey Bay.

LOTS of surfers were already in the water – it was 42 degrees outside – and continued to gather along this path as we walked. It was about 7:30am. This is a staircase off the sidewalk that leads them to the water.

A statue dedicated to all surfers – “past, present and future” – which someone chose to dress up for Mardi Gras, as seen better below.

All those little dots of surfers. All men now that I think about it, we never saw any women.

We got back just in time for breakfast to be served at 8:30am. It would have been left at our room – I think I said in yesterday’s entry the dining room is closed due to the pandemic – but they also gave us an option of sitting on the front porch. So we let them know that’s where we were.

It was served in a cute picnic basket, above. Below the contents: a pot of coffee, a bread pudding/French toast sort of dish, hard boiled egg, fresh fruit, and biscuits. The juice was something we’d brought with us.

Looking out from the porch.

The only plans for the day was to take a drive south towards Big Sur, and then meet my friend, Lori, for dinner. She had moved here from Sac about a year ago just before everything shut down. The day before she’d recommended we visit a popular bakery here in Capitola, so Ash suggested we stop there on the way back to pick up dessert for the evening. No need to twist my arm.

We made a couple of stops along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) just to take in some of the spectacular scenery. Below is a panoramic shot of the same spot as above.

This is the best weather we’ve had the whole trip so we were happy to take advantage of it. Above and below: This was a different spot closer to Big Sur, which is about 50 miles south of Santa Cruz.

We turned around about Noon I think, and decided to stop in Carmel and see about a light lunch. We went to the beach first, seen above and below. I’ve only been here a couple of times, and not since the 90’s, but always thought the water at this beach is very distinctive shades of blue.

street shot of Carmel, including an art gallery

Carmel is very rich if you haven’t heard, and the downtown area is full of restaurants, art galleries, and real estate agents. The most expensive place we saw went for $24million. The cheapest was like $750k and we were like “oh that’s not so bad” – until we saw the Monterey address.

We stopped at Flaherty’s, a seafood place.

We keep trying clam chowder to see if anything compares to Barbara’s Fishtrap, also on PCH but closer to home. So far nothing has.

We split the chowder and an order of crab tacos. The chowder was just OK, but the tacos were pretty tasty. The crab was done in a traditional tuna salad sort of way – chopped finely and creamy.

We made it to Gayle’s in Capitola around 2:45 to encounter a very long line. The plan was to get a whole small cake, but they were out of the 5″ size of any of the flavors we wanted, so opted for 3 individual desserts: a key lime parfait (which was our favorite), a cherry cheesecake, and something called a bridal cake which we didn’t care for very much but Lori enjoyed. (Sorry, completely forgot to take photos!)

We got back to our room around 3:40; left again a little after 5pm to go to Lori’s who lives only about 3 miles from where we’re staying, but traffic was wild and took us about 20 minutes. We walked to Johnny’s Harborside restaurant about 3 blocks from her house. The 3 of us shared a bowl of clam chowder (the quest continues!, and again just OK). I had a warm prawn hoagie with Caesar salad, above. Ash had a salad with prawns below.

And Lori had the salmon burger with Caesar salad.

photo of me and lori

After dessert, Lori reminded us that we needed photos, which I’d planned to take at dinner and completely forgot. I met Lori in 2016 when I hired her as a consultant to help me with a compensation project. We have been friends ever since. She’s currently in a project manager / quality improvement role for Kaiser in San Jose.

selfie of all 3 of us

It was a great day. Compared to others on this trip, it seemed very full even though it wasn’t really. We will leave for Sonoma this morning and are staying there for 2 nights.

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