California Coast- Santa Cruz to Pacifica

After Big Sur and Monterey we continued north to Santa Cruz. The only real reason for our stop there was to see some old friends of mine who John had met once before. Mindy… a long time friend… drove from the Bay Area to her brother’s home in Santa Cruz (Los Gatos actually) to meet up with us. I’ve known her brother, Kevin and his wife Kathy darn near as long as I’ve known Mindy.

Kevin has been working for years on their incredible customized and whimsical home. Lots of creativity and lots of woodwork. I knew John would love it, and he did.  There are so many cool details about this house, indoors and out. Here’s just a bit of the whimsy…

Creative and whimsical home

Their cool front entry

John pulled the drone out to capture some of the detail, such as the image above. Their dogs were quite taken with “Hawkeye”! ?

Four-legged DJI fan

DJI Mavic Pro2

What IS that thing? Can I fetch it???

DJI Mavic Pro2

How high can she jump?

DJI Mavic Pro2

Another furry fan

Kevin took us up the hill to see a “fairy ring”, which I had never actually heard of. Also called “family circles”, they are just that… a family of trees growing in a circle, all sprouted from the basal burls of one parent tree, long harvested or fallen. Redwood trees are unique cone-bearing trees because they can reproduce via burls as well as seeds. Cool little tidbit, huh? So cool that I ran back down the hill to grab my wide angle lens out of the car.

From the center of a Sequoia Fairy Ring

Sequoia Fairy Ring

John and Kevin pondering the Fairy Ring


We also hiked through the woods to a cool old train tunnel, which we explored with headlamps.

A hike with my friends to an old train tunnel

The following morning we reconnected with Mindy and continued up the coast. Although I saw her several times while traveling solo, she’d never ridden in The Beast, so John drove her car, allowing her to ride along with me.

We made a stop at Ano Nuevo Bay for a stroll on the beach, and another stop at Pigeon Point Lighthouse, because… well, who doesn’t like lighthouses!

California, Highway 1, USA

Rock arch at Ano Nuevo Preserve

California, Highway 1, USA

Aeonium canariense

California, Highway 1, USA

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Our next destination was “Devil’s Slide”…  once a treacherous stretch of Highway 1, which I drove northbound AND southbound while on my solo journey. The last time I was there a tunnel they carved though the mountain, in order to get traffic off of that nasty bit of roadway, was almost complete. In the mean time they turned that bit of roadway into a 1.3 mile walking trail.

This old military bunker won’t be around much longer judging by the erosion since my last trip through. I was intrigued by it then, as I am now, because of its location and color. Here’s my original post about that bunker (note the change), as well as my journey up and down the roadway called “Devil’s Slide” before the tunnel…  Where Am I?

California, Highway 1, USA

Old military bunker above the Pacific near Pacifica

California, Highway 1, USA

Old Highway 1, Devil’s slide area


Funny, as we were walking “Devil’s Slide” I overheard a guy say, “I wonder why that rock is so white?” The answer sits atop the rock… by the hundreds… and have wings.

California, Highway 1, USA

Common Murres paint the rock

California, Highway 1, USA

Layers of sandstone and shale surround the roadway along “Devil’s Slide”

Millions of years of the rock being thrust up and folded, and the pressure eventually weakening the rock, combined with the surf pounding on this cliffside, and washing it away are the reason this part of the coast continues to “slide”.  There are, in fact, several areas on this coastal route that continue to be a problem. Big Sur is well known for the slides in their area, and as we were soon to discover… part of Highway 1 in southern Oregon was severely damaged due to storms and erosion right before we were to drive that stretch of highway. (More on that soon! Talk about a grueling drive!)

Ravens, as I  mentioned in a recent post, have never been a favorite of mine. But then, I’m only just starting to understand how incredibly smart they are, and… judging by this picture, they’re much prettier than I knew! The detail and colors in their feathers is pretty cool!

Raven, aglow with color

Mindy headed home from there, and we carried on to our next destination… Petaluma, via the “Streets of San Francisco”!  Yes… I drove The Beast (and tow car) through the busy, narrow streets of San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Nerve-racking doesn’t even cover the intensity.

We spent almost a week camped in Petaluma, and did a whole lot while we were there. So more stories, and lots more images coming up soon!

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