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Old 14 Apr 20, 02:03 PM  
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juliab
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The 260 Mile West Coast Wander - August 2019 - Day 14 - Back on the Road - Santa Cruz

INDEX


Saturday 17th August


I just didn’t sleep well at all last night as it was so noisy outside, maybe because it was a Friday night but whatever it took some time for it all to quieten down.

We were all up and ready for 9am. We had our breakfast in the room where I finished off the last of the Weetabix – also had some fruit along with some cookies. The remainder of our hotel stays would all include breakfast so that was going to be a nice change for us.

I packed away our last few bits then we gathered up all our stuff and we were ready to go. Checked out of the room and we set off out of San Francisco.



Last look from our room


By the time we set off it had turned a lot cloudier and we actually saw some fog. I kind of wished we’d have gone to the look out near The golden Gate Bridge as we caught a glimpse of it at a distance and we could see a great deal of fog swirling around.

We set off but I wasn’t sure for a while which road the Sat Nav was taking us as we seemed to be going on lots of little back roads? 30 minutes later we didn’t seemed to have gone very far.

It was really starting to do my head in so we pulled into a shopping mall and I referred to an actual paper map, along with Google maps. There we worked a simple route out to get to Pacific coast road which was close by, I think we’d been routed away from it?

Anyhow we popped into the supermarket whilst we were there to stock up on some drinks and to use the restrooms too so it wasn’t a wasted stop!

Back on the road now, the correct road, the weather started to close in and it felt a lot cooler. The further down the coast road we went the more the weather deteriorated and eventually we had some rain, thankfully it didn’t last for long.





As we passed Half Moon Bay we saw lots of surfers enjoying the waves but it looked so wet and a bit miserable. We had been so spoiled with the lovely weather the past few days. Never mind the coastline still looked wonderful.

We stopped at Shark Fin Cove next for a little walk around to stretch our legs. There wasn’t a car park there as such we saw a couple of cars parked up off the main part of the road so we did the same.



It would’ve have been nice to have had a walk down onto the beach but we knew it would have took us quite a bit of time to get down there and back up!



Set off back down Highway 1 to Santa Cruz which wasn’t too far away. The weather started to perk up the further we drove down and the sky was gradually clearing. When we reached Santa Cruz we felt quite warm which was most welcomed!

We saw that there was parking on the Pier so we headed down that area but it was really busy in fact all of Santa Cruz was crazy busy. Probably due to it being a weekend! I was bursting for the loo so I jumped out when I spotted the portaloo at the bottom of the pier and I queued up for that whilst Scott and the kids found a parking space.

I met back up with them afterwards we were parked right at the end of the pier which was quite a bit of a walk away. We then realised that we wouldn’t get to have a great deal of time here we thought we’d have arrived earlier and naively thought we’d have found a parking spot promptly too.

The Boardwalk was so busy too so we didn’t rate our chances of finding somewhere there to eat lunch that didn’t involve a long wait. We decided to just settle for a walk along the pier instead of the Boardwalk.




I’ll admit to feeling a little bit disappointed as I wanted to ride the big dipper and to look at the other rides and games there. Hayden and Jamie didn’t mind though so it was all good and once we explained about going to the Mystery Spot they were super keen to go there.


We did see these really cute sea lions so our brief time here hadn’t been a total waste.






Once we’d walked back to the end and navigated our way off the busy pier we used Google maps to find a fast food place that was on the route to the Mystery Spot.

Jamie spotted a Jack in the Box on the map so we decided to stop off there for something to eat. It was only a small eatery and it was virtually empty inside which meant we were served promptly and had our late lunch in no time.



Back on the road again we headed over to the Mystery Spot which was very close by. We tuned up onto the road and we had to take it really steady driving up as it was full of massive pot holes! They really need to get that sorted out.

Once at the top we found a parking space and we went to the reception to sort our booking out. We’d arrived just in time for our 3pm slot. I was so glad we’d booked as there were quite a few people waiting and they’d been told it would be a least a hour before they’d get on a tour.



Anyway our guide came and she was very cheerful and chatty and she led up us a short steep hill among the beautiful Redwoods. The tour was full of extremely corny jokes, reminded me a bit of the Jungle Cruise in that respect. It was good fun to watch the demonstrations and we were all puzzled at how we seemed to be defying the laws of gravity.







This place certainly was mysterious and quite unique. It did feel like there was some kind of strange force in place there I felt a little bit dizzy at points but it was a great little place to visit.







After a short drive we were passing through Moss landing where we’d be returning the next morning. We continued driving on and the weather started to deteriorate and by the time we arrived at Monterey Bay it was pretty grey and cold.

Luckily we found our hotel ok, we checked in and went to find our room. Now we had great difficulty finding a room at a reasonable rate here and it was only by chance that I was able to find this 2 bed suite at an affordable price. Most accommodation had been £500 per night which was plain ridiculous but we soon realised the reason for the hiked up prices.





Though not the fanciest of places it would suit us for the next 2 nights. We put a few layers on and drove down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area to get some food. The roads were really busy and we had to drive around for a bit until we found a parking spot on the road.

One thing we did notice was the amount of flash cars that were driving around too – very expensive cars! There were also quite a lot of well dressed people walking around and I remembering thinking to myself I didn’t realise it would be so posh here!

It was a short walk to Old Fishermans Wharf and as we got closer it became apparent why all those expensive cars were flying around. A big car auction was underway which was happening over the weekend and the cars with a lot of classic car being auctioned off. We heard 1 car being sold for $450,000 as we walked by - no wonder we had trouble finding a normal priced hotel room for our 2 night stay!



We walked around the wharf which was really lovely and not too busy either to stay there was a big event on. There were some cute Sea lions in the sea and we think we spotted a sea otter a swimming a little bit further out.




There were lots of restaurants trying to tempt you into their restaurants with free samples of their Clam Chowder. We tried a couple them opted for a little café with an outside seating area as even though it felt a little bit chillier it was still a lovely evening. We really enjoyed our fish and chips and Clam Chowder.





Once we’d finished though we did start to feel quite cold so we decided to go back to the car and our hotel. Surprisingly we didn’t get lost on our way home!

I sorted our clothes out for the morning I knew we would need something quite warm to wear so I wanted it all to be out ready.
We took advantage of there being a little laundry room in the hotel and we did a wash of all our underwear.

After we’d all showered and changed we watched some TV, I was very tired and started dropping off as we watched the weather channel.

It was about 10pm when we turned the lights out to sleep we all felt a bit tired I think it was all that sea air as we had hardly done any walking today!

I was excited for the morning too as we had our whale watching tour – fingers crossed for calm sea and good weather.

Steps – 12,823

Thanks for reading

Edited at 07:05 PM.
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Old 15 Apr 20, 09:56 AM  
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mrsdjh
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Some nice looking classic cars there - no wonder they were so expensive! The fish and chips look delicious.

Looking forward to reading about your whale watching trip.
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Old 15 Apr 20, 04:55 PM  
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Jakes Mom
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Another Great Day and a good read - looking forward to your whale watching tour as looking to do the same thing - any good recommendations who to book with?
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Old 15 Apr 20, 06:06 PM  
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Jessika
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Another fantastic day. I love the fair ground picture and look forward to visiting ( if my trip goes ahead!) thank you for sharing
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Old 16 Apr 20, 08:24 PM  
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I was intrigued as to why it was so expensive when you said that! Are any of you into cars - would have been a nice coincidence if so.

Sounds like you had more than deserved that early night!

Loving reading your report in these difficult times xx
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Old 19 Apr 20, 02:20 PM  
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Frustrating start to the day with the sat nav putting you on the wrong road. Once on the right road, you had some nice stops along the way. The Mystery Spot looks like a fun little place - is it a bit like Ripley's Believe it or Not? but a bit more rustic?

Have you seen "Big Little Lies"? It's set in Monterey and there are some amazing houses in it. It looks like a lovely place. Nice evening around Fishermen's Wharf and your fish & chips tea looks good. It sounds like you were all in need of an early night before your whale watching trip in the morning. I hope the weather is a little warmer for that.
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Old 19 Apr 20, 04:03 PM  
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Originally Posted by mrsdjh View Post
Some nice looking classic cars there - no wonder they were so expensive! The fish and chips look delicious.

Looking forward to reading about your whale watching trip.
Couldn't believe some of the bids we heard, crazy money!

They tasted so good and even better because we were sat next to the sea!

Thank you reading along.
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Old 19 Apr 20, 04:06 PM  
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Originally Posted by Jakes Mom View Post
Another Great Day and a good read - looking forward to your whale watching tour as looking to do the same thing - any good recommendations who to book with?
Thank you.

We booked with Sanctuary Cruises who we thought were brilliant. Had seen a few recommendations here on the Dibb and then read a lot of good reviews on Trip Advisor. Will add the day soon
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Old 19 Apr 20, 04:08 PM  
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Originally Posted by Jessika View Post
Another fantastic day. I love the fair ground picture and look forward to visiting ( if my trip goes ahead!) thank you for sharing
Thanks for reading along. I hope you manage to go on your trip
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Old 19 Apr 20, 04:13 PM  
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juliab
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Originally Posted by sheluk View Post
I was intrigued as to why it was so expensive when you said that! Are any of you into cars - would have been a nice coincidence if so.

Sounds like you had more than deserved that early night!

Loving reading your report in these difficult times xx
We did stop and look at some of the cars for a while as there were quite a lot of unusual and classic cars on show.

So nice to know that people are still enjoying the reports as i wasn't sure whether to carry on. I know we all have so many other things on our minds at the moment.

Thank you Michelle xx
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