When our dear friends Jamie and Evan told us they were moving to Santa Cruz from Portland, not only were we super sad, we didn’t quite get it. How could anyone leave Portland, an amazing city with so many fantastic people, forward-thinking projects, great food, not to mention bike jousting or guys riding unicycles wearing kilts and playing bagpipes…random Portlandia scenes, ya know.
Now, we get it. Santa Cruz is a perfect blend of city, ocean, forest, and fun, all smashed into a sunny pocket of Central California that just served up a seriously awesome holiday break for us. Here’s the story of three excellent weeks in a few sentences and lots of pictures!
-Riding the Ohlone Bluff trail on with Chelsea and her family. It’s a rutted dirt road framed on the west by cliffs that slip down into the water of the Pacific, brussel sprout farms to the east, and red tailed hawks soaring in the wind above us. Chelsea’s parents, who will forever be tougher than us, rode 18 miles on town comfort bikes with no suspension (or padded shorts) on the rough, bouncy road. I don’t know how they do it!
-Hours of Settlers of Catan with the family eating food, trading laughs and commodities, and trying not to team up on Chelsea’s brother Jesse too much.
-Mountain biking. I adore Santa Cruz trails! Right out our door, I could ride a mile to single track trails that led up through grasslands into scrub oak and then into redwood trails twisting around gnarled limbs and stumps. Unreal fun – I can’t get enough of it! Eleven rides in three weeks.
-Watching Monarch butterflies start their winter migration. They start at Natural Bridges State Park clumped in frozen masses waiting for the morning sun to hit their wings. Then they power up like little batteries, their wings acting as solar panels. Soon they are flittering about in the light, heading northeast eventually as the weather warms up.
-Walking West Cliff Drive, a long ocean-side path looking south across Monterey Bay. We watched seals, dolphins, sea lions, pelicans, and cormorants mingle and play on the water. Along with what seemed like hundreds of surfers out on Steamers Lane by the lighthouse, bobbing up and down.
-Days and evenings spent hanging with Jamie and Evan. Laughing our heads off at random things and helping them move into their new home after packing them up in Portland. Hanging on their deck watching deer in the field below or listening to owls hooting in the trees. Great friends are hard to find and we are lucky to have these guys in our lives and can’t wait to see them again.
And with that, Santa Cruz is behind us. Adios for now good friends and great times. We shall certainly return!
We are currently exploring the wonders of Big Sur and absolutely loving it. What a place. I’ll leave you with a teaser picture…high up on Highway 1 from our van this morning. Room with a view!