"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Friend Time and Beach Time at Santa Cruz, CA

Placerville, CA
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.
While we were still in San Jose we wanted to go to the coast and spend the day geocaching in Santa Cruz.  It's only a half hour drive over the mountains to get there.  The day was a little cloudy but warm.  We walked on the pier, snacked and had a really fun day.  Once in a while I do like a beach day.

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.

If you come on a warm day in March you will see them flying around by the thousands!

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. 
The entry arch became the Gate of Prophecy with the addition of a triangular plaque with a celestial chart in abalone mosaics. It creates a celestial alignment between the plaque and temple's chimney, signaling an apocalypse before the "Age of Peace."

A triangular statue called The Guardian.

Our last cache before we headed back home was guarded by this cute little baby salamander.



  1. Great pictures of the coast. We were in California last April but didn't make it that far up the coast. We will have to do that trip sometime in the future.

    We have visited the Monarchs in Mexico on 3 different occasions and it really is an amazing sight to see. It's incredible how these butterflies know exactly where to go even though they have never been there before.


    1. It turned out to be a really nice day at the beach and seeing the monarchs again was pretty neat. How nice to see them down in Mexico too!

    2. When we saw the monarchs in Pacific Grove a few weeks ago the docent said the ones in Mexico come from east of the Rockies and the ones in California come from west of the Rockies.

    3. That's neat info! Pretty amazing!

    4. We had read about the butterflies in California and the ones in Mexico and Rene, is totally right. So hard to understand how the butterflies know all this information. We have to read about it on the internet or be told by the experts but these butterflies are so much smarter. ;-)

  2. Thanks for not publishing your video of my attempt at Dance Dance :-) We had a great time that evening! Big Red is looking fabulous! We are official geocachers now but I think we need some training as we haven't found one yet... How fun to visit new areas and learn about different cultures and local places.

    1. You were a Dance Champ! Looking forward to seeing you again today and picking up Red! Maybe we'll have time for a couple quick caches?


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