We got up this morning to a calm morning – the water was like glass, the wind was calm, and fog was settling in over the Pacific – much different than the cold wind of the night before.
Lover’s Point Inn had a small continental breakfast. The kids were especially mesmerized by the automatic pancake maker – you just put your batter in and in a few seconds, it shoots out pancakes on the side. We ate on small bistro tables on the patio outside the hotel. It felt like a California version of Paris – except for the super-sized seagulls that were looking to eat breakfast as well.
When Luke got up from the table for a drink refill, a seagull turned over his bowl of fruit loops and they scattered all over the sidewalk.
Side note: Why do all hotels have fruit loops as a breakfast option? Are they an American specialty?
After breakfast, we let the boys play football for about an hour in Lover’s Point Park. They needed to run around and get some energy out before we got back on the road. We found out later that Nate left his only sweatshirt at the park – a necessity for the windy, chilly Pacific coast.
As we left Pacific Grove, we drove through the town of Monterey. I was yearning to stop at several of the consignment/thrift shops along the way but there was no time for that.
Eventually, we hit flatter farm land where we saw workers running up and down the aisles picking strawberries. I guess you get paid by how quickly you can pick.
We stopped in Moss Landing at a produce stand where we bought fresh strawberries and cherries.
From there, we got on 1 North to Santa Cruz. While driving, I saw a sign for CHP (California Highway Patrol) and immediately the TV show CHiPS came to mind. Are you old enough to remember that show about the two highway patrolman? I mentioned it to Jimmy and asked him what the name was of dark hair police man.
He said, “Fonz – Fonzi.”
Me – “No, that’s Happy Days.”
It came to me later in the day – Ponch – Poncherello – played by Erik Estrada. I loved that show as a kid.
A question from the backseat startled me out of my walk down memory lane:
“Oooh there’s a pond there – can we fish at it, Dad?”
That question has been a constant refrain the whole trip, mainly from Nate.
At one point in California, he asked the question again as we passed some visible water.
I said, “No, you can’t fish there. It’s a wastewater treatment plant.”
Nate – “Why can’t I fish there?”
“You just can’t. Sorry.”
Our first stop of the day would be Santa Cruz. As we got drove into town, we saw another Costco. Could we possibly eat another foot long hot dog? Thankfully, some of the kids had gradated to the chicken bake – with cheese and chicken inside. Did I mention that this isn’t a diet trip?
We were able to secure a “diva” parking spot (as my aunt calls it) right next to the Santa Cruz pier. We spent the next 45 minutes walking on the pier taking pictures, watching the seals up close, and the letting the boys talk to the local fisherman. I could watch the lazy seals lay around all day – just waiting for a move, scratch, or yelp. What a life!
One seal we saw slithered back into the water and started barking continuously.
Jimmy said, “He’s asking us for fish.”
Whatever he was communicating, he was loud.
On our way back on the pier, we saw a seal with a fish in his mouth. The seagulls and other birds were swarming him trying to get a piece of the action (literally).
We continued heading up the coast and found a beautiful spot where we were able to climb out on a rock to see the view.
The wind was howling – it was very cold. We had to walk across a huge path of spent clam shells as we navigated the tide to get to the top of the rock. Once we got to the top, the wind was overwhelming.
The boys especially love the adventure of climbing. This was a highlight of the day for them.
From there, we headed to Ano Nuevo State Park where we hoped to get more views of the seals. We arrived at 4:15 p.m.
Sadly, the guard gate attendant told us that they stopped giving permits out at 3:30 for the day because it’s a 2 ½ hour roundtrip walk to the seal habitat.
Bummer, I guess it’s onto San Francisco.
One other fun thing (not so fun according to Emma Grace) is that we have a continual gas letter-outer. These emissions smell bad too.
I’m trying to figure out how much to disclose on this subject. It might not be a popular topic of discussion. It’s certainly not popular for our daughter. This is life with three brothers, I guess.
We’ve had way too much conversation on this topic on the road but I guess this is what happens when you’re together in such close quarters for a month.
I have a simple solution – I just quietly put my window down and send the air to the back seat
Lord, thank you for my wonderful family – even if they can be smelly sometimes.