Hasta Luego to Aptos

Well, our time here in Aptos has come to a close. We had a great couple of weeks hanging out with two of the most amazing people I know: Jason and Cynthia. They are fun, kindhearted, generous, and just great to hang out with. We have known them for a long time now and have done a lot travel adventures together. As I pointed out in the “about us,” we are on a quest to simplify our lives. This trip has been great for connecting with some people we haven’t seen in a while and spending time here in Aptos really highlights that it isn’t about stuff, it is about hanging out with people that make you a better person.

We have a lot of fun together. We cook great food. We enjoy nature and beauty. We give each other unending amounts of shit. We support each other. Occasionally we overindulge, but hey, there are worse things, no?

We were a bit worried about how Bodie (J&C’s dog) and Sadie would work out. The biggest issue was that Bodie is an old man and has lost a lot of his senses including his sight. Poor guy. He is unquestionably the nicest dog that I have ever met. Plus, Sadie is a bit of a bitchy bitch at times. We were very diligent and everything went swimmingly well. In fact, on the last night Sadie stealthily went down to where Bodie was and got on the couch. It was super cute.

Sadie and Bodie

Let’s do a quick recap of the fun we have had:

Watching the big waves and surfers in Steamers Lane in Santa Cruz. I love to think that I have a hope of catching those waves, but in my heart I know that it is more fun to watch these dudes on them than get out there and get crushed. I think the knees are just not up for surfing anymore and I was never good enough to do that kind of surfing. But holy cow it is fun to watch!

That’s me out there…..in my mind
50 feet of massive power

Flying in One Seven Delta Mike over Big Sur and Monterey. Wowzaa! See previous post. It is awesome to have Jason fly us around in his plane. It is equally awesome to see how much he loves it. Yeah for everyone involved!

A man on a mission

Hiking in Byrne-Milliron Forest. One day we went up to a unique little redwood grove outside of Corralitos. As one website puts it:

“402-acre property tucked away on the outskirts of bucolic Corralitos lie not just miles of hiking trails but numerous hidden works of art. Jeff Helmer, who been stewarding the Byrne-Milliron Forest Preserve since the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County purchased it in 1984, has festooned this place with large wooden sculptures, small mementos and other tchotchkes, including guest books.”

I love hiking through the redwoods. It always amazes me how dark and mysterious they are. The ferns, sour grass, moss all make it seem from another world. There is nothing like it and it reminds me so much of my childhood running around through the forests of Humboldt County exploring the dark and wonderful secrets within. It wasn’t a hard hike, but it was gorgeous and not crowded. A lovely day.

One of the fanciful pieces of art in the forest

Riding up through Nisene-Marks State Park: There is a state park near Jason and Cynthia’s house that has some beautiful redwoods and a nice ride up to an overlook that gives you a view of the Pacific. It was a lovely ride, hard but not too hard and definitely just fun. I did this ride 3 times because I thought it was so pleasant.

Paddle boarding in New Brighton: Jason, Cynthia, and I went out to New Brighton State Beach to get some time on the water. They took their prone boards and I took our inflatable SUP. The ocean was pretty calm, but the inflatable got pretty gooey in the cold water so I mostly just had to kneel. We paddled out to Capitola and back and it was lovely.

Sea otter! (sadly I didn’t take this pic)

We even saw a sea otter along the way; that was pretty spiffy. A bunch of life guards were doing rescue training on the beach in skidoos when we got back. As I was getting out of the water, one asked me if I needed help getting my board up the stairs. Doh! Thanks, but now I feel really old!

Seeing Tom Knight: One of my old high school friends, Tom Knight, lives in Watsonville so we got together for dinner….well kind of. I hadn’t seen Tom in 30 years, so it was fun to catch up. We scheduled dinner at Ella’s at the Airport and Susanne and I met up with Tom and Blanca. Tom has taught 4th grade for over 30 years now and it was really inspiring to hear how passionate he still is to teach these youngsters. He met his wife Blanca while he was spending time in Mexico teaching and we had a super fun conversation reconnecting. The only bummer was that we never actually got to eat dinner because after 2 hours of waiting for food to show up, we gave up and left. It was a super weird experience for sure. Oh well, there you have it.

Hiking Around Point Lobos: The day after we flew down to Big Sur and over Point Lobos, we decided to drive down there and hike around the trails in the park. The marine layer was hanging just on the edge of the coast, so it alternated between foggy and sunny. There were a lot of people, but it still didn’t detract from the amazing beauty of the place. We saw some sea lions, seals, sea otters, pelicans, herons, and lots of other birds. If you are ever in Monterey, this is a definite must see place to visit.

Cooking and Eating Great Food: Wow did we eat some good food. It is almost hard to remember it all. Let’s see:

  • Cynthia’s Mexican shrimp with red chili sauce
  • Grilled pork loin with elderberry sauce (from Wenatchee!)
  • Cheese cake with elderberry sauce
  • Grilled Opah (a fish from Fiji)
  • Pulled pork
  • Flourless chocolate torte with elderberry sauce
  • Coq au Vin
  • Fish Kebabs
  • Chicken Mexican bowl with guacamole, black beans, rice …

It was all amazing and we all cooked together which was fun. You always learn new things when you cook with other good cooks.

Beach Walks: The beach near their house is awesome. It stretches for nine miles and is easy to walk and best of all bests it that dog can run around off leash. When J&C were off working, Susanne and I would look at each as say, “we should go explore something new.” Inevitably, we would decide to just go walk on the beach again. Sadie was more than happy with that! I really do miss the beach.

Lovely sunset
Happy dog
Just another day at the beach

So now we are off on to the next leg of our trip. The current plan is to head toward Flagstaff through the Mojave, pick up our winter clothes, and then drive out to Placitas, NM to visit our friend Bill and drop off the trailer for the winter there.

Both Susanne and I are so grateful for the wonderful friendship we have with Jason and Cynthia and miss them already.

The Team

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