Storm Valley Ranch
November was a busy month back home and December seems to be following right along. Lots of places to go and people to see.
More geocaching. This big rock looks like a bear if you view it from the right angle. The head and snout are in the upper right. Funny we lived here for 15 years and are seeing this for the first time.
|A bit of hiking and caching with Tina.|
I always love going through the old pioneer cemeteries. Another cache was hidden nearby.
Further down the trail was a bigfoot hide. There were even footprints that led part of the way. It was hidden in a fern covered, rocky area. Perfect bigfoot hiding place.
We had lunch in town at a new place called Timmy's Brown Bag. They only make sandwiches. About 15 of them. But these are no ordinary sandwiches! They all have several crazy ingredients that you'd never think would go together, let alone in a sandwich! Above is the one Tina and I had. They are large so we split it as well as an order of Truffle Fries. You can also get Truffle Tater Tots. Amazing sandwich! You can taste all those ingredients.
We later met up with new Full-timers, Ron & Rene. They run their own plastics business. Our kayak is in their care right now getting some repair work done on a couple of stress cracks. You can check out their blog of their travels on the road so far HERE.
Rene & Ron
We had dinner at Dave & Busters. It's a combo beer/game place. The food was great and we all played some games in the back too. Then we did a little night caching. I think we have hooked another couple on geocaching!
A trip one other weekend took us back to San Jose. It was a 3 hour drive one way, but worth it to see my great friends Debbie and Chris that I've know since we were young kids. A dinner at El Burro, one of my favorite Mexican places is where we ended up. Then a few beers at Rock Bottom Brewery.
|Me, Steve, Debbie & Rooty. Chris had to leave before I got a picture of her.|
The pier at Santa Cruz (above) and the Boardwalk below.
The famous wooden roller coaster.
A very interesting water brass water fountain on the pier.
Playful Seals. Excuse my hand in the corner. I had a deathgrip on my phone as I was leaning over the railing and so worried I'd drop it.
I loved the smile on this guys face! No worries, be happy!
Lots of fresh fish, crab and lobster.
We settled for some Ahi Poke which was very good.
The "official" surfing monument was commissioned and dedicated in 1992. Titled "To Honor Surfing". A nearby plaque in the tiny park reads "dedicated to all surfers, past present and future."
These tight growing Aloe plants were very colorful. And thorny.
As we drove along the coast down East Cliff Drive, we stopped in one of the parks where the Monarch Butterflies are. Monarchs are known for the mass migration that brings millions of them to California and Mexico each winter. North American monarchs are the only butterflies that make this massive journey, up to 3,000 miles. They must migrate each fall ahead of cold weather, which can kill them if they take too long. They arrive usually in December and leave in March.
Only monarchs born in late summer or early fall make the migration, and they make only one round trip. By the time next year's winter migration begins, several summer generations will have lived and died and it will be last year's great grandchildren that make the trip. Yet somehow these new generations know the way, and follow the same routes their ancestors took. Sometimes even returning to the same tree.
They love to rest in the Eucalyptus trees. See the darker clumps on the center branches?
In the picture above, you can see their orange color. The grayish-brown underneath are the large clumps of butterflies.
Even though cooler temperatures are coming with winter, there are still some beautiful gardens blooming. Love the many styles of homes here too.
|Sea shells above the windows.|
It always fascinates me to discover something I'd never seen before, even though I've been to Santa Cruz many, many times over the years. Once again, geocaching brought us to the Court of Mysteries built in the mid 1930s. It is the remains of an old yoga temple. With it's granite domes and inlaid mosaics of abalone shells from the local abalone processing plant.
|A triangular statue called The Guardian.|
Our last cache before we headed back home was guarded by this cute little baby salamander.