Pretty much any time we go anywhere scenic, at least one person will ask me to take their picture. I take very nice pictures of them. Every once in awhile I will ask someone to take our picture. I say, push the button halfway to focus, then all the way to shoot. I only ask people who are carrying their own cameras and I am pretty sure this is how most digital cameras work, right?
Yet almost invariably, we end up with a completely out of focus, crooked, feet-chopped-off photo. So you can imagine how pleased I was when today’s shooter returned my camera to me. Look at that. Nicely composed with our whole bodies in, heads above the horizon [which, you’ll notice, is not at a 45° angle!]. Thanks, lady stranger, you totally made my day!
[Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove, California]
It is freakin’ WINDY today. I continued census training today on the base, which is this big swath of concrete on the end of the island, which allows the wind to sweep right across at maximum velocity and I rode my bike there and home for lunch and back and home again for a total of 8 miles, pretty much all against some serious gusts [there were points when I could’ve strolled faster than I was pedaling, no joke]. It’s kind of a long walk, especially when I have to be there so early, and I like the option of riding home for lunch, but it is supposed to be windy again tomorrow, so I’m debating…
Chad and I went over to the beach at sunset — the other day I noticed that the sun is setting directly behind the San Francisco skyline if you are along Shoreline near Dead Man’s Curve [this is my own little joke — there is this almost-90° curve which is relatively harmless because 1. the speed limit here is 25 mph and 2. even if you flipped, it would be onto the nice flat stretch of sand, and actually that happened a couple years ago, someone took the curve too fast — they were probably going 30! — and rolled over onto the sand. No injuries, minimal damage.] and I wanted a shot of that, and Chad had been asking for headshots. The kite surfers were flying across the waves and the sand was pelting us in the face and my right ear is still ringing but it was worth it.
That little sliver through the setting sun is the Transamerica Pyramid, and if you look hard, you can see parts of both the Oakland-Bay and Golden Gate Bridges.
The headshots came out great [this is my choice for the final — straight outta the camera! How awesome is that? I am never this pleased with any of my photos] and I love-love-love this outtake. It makes me think of Steinbeck, through I’m not sure why.
[and that is what’s going on in my creative space — photos.]
Finally getting around to the travelogue for our drive down to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. I figured I’d better get to it because we went again on Saturday and I don’t want to be two road trips behind.
We started off with a stop at Wescafe here in Alameda. They make a mean americano and serve some extraordinary almond croissants.
We used to always take 880 down through San Jose and over the mountains to Santa Cruz, but got in the habit of the slightly longer but less traffic-y and more scenic route across the San Mateo Bridge [which, I have just read, is the 25th longest bridge in the world!]
over the hills to Half Moon Bay then down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean [world’s largest!]. The view is pretty spectacular and there are gorgeous beaches all along if you want to take a break.
I prefer to have the windows down because of the delicious ocean smell.
We often stop in Pescadero, which is a one-light town halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.
We picked up a to-go cream of artichoke soup from Duarte’s and a hot load of artichoke garlic bread from Arcangeli’s and had a little picnic right there.
Another 40 minutes or so and you arrive at the western end of Santa Cruz — Monterey Bay is a big C shape, with Santa Cruz at the very top — which is where one of my favorite beaches is.
Natural Bridges has one of the two monarch butterfly sanctuaries on Monterey Bay [the other’s in Pacific Grove] and if you’re up early enough in the winter months, you can see the huge bunches of them hanging from the eucalyptus.
We were there too late in the year and never get up that early anyway, so we walked down to the beach…
…where we spent some enjoyable hours lolling about doing nothing in particular.
Then it was time to dust the sand off and head home.
i went to the beach and it was FANTASTIC. the tide was super high, i sat on the little landing strip of beach [seriously, it’s about 5′ wide right now, edged with all the flotsam from last week’s storm] and it was warm enough to remove my jacket.
i sipped my iced coffee, read the weekly, wrote a journal entry for the first time in ages and ages [i have been more diligent about the hardcopy daily 5s]. thought about where i can cajole chad into going tomorrow [forecast temperatures]:
santa cruz 
bodega bay 
gold country 
maybe point lobos or even big sur if we could get up early 
so santa cruz or jamestown.
i forgot my camera so i will share one of my old photos of Crab Cove that is similar to today’s vista:
Is it spring there yet? It finally warmed up a teeny bit Sunday, just in time for the time change. We bundled up, dug out the Beach Blanket, and went to the beach here in Alameda. It’s rained so much this winter that there’s a big grassy area on the sand — that’ll dry out in no time, but it’s very nice for now.
There were quite a few people flying kites.
Chad practiced his Mandarin and I raced through Mary Karr’s new memoir, Lit (her first, The Liar’s Club, is one of my favorites) until it got so cold we couldn’t stand it anymore.
Then we walked down along the shore and back on the public path, admiring all the fresh wildflowers.
Today was even nicer so I took an afternoon break and walked over and lay in the sand reading. Hopefully the weather will hold out til my next self-employed day, which is Wednesday.
We went on our quasi-weekly date yesterday. It was supposed to be very cold [mid-60s!] but ended up warmer, we went to Half Moon Bay, which is across the bay and over the hills of the San Francisco Peninsula.
Half Moon Bay is the local pumpkin capital, this weekend is the annual Pumpkin Festival. I haven’t actually been to that one, it’s enough of a nightmare driving down that one little road that goes over there on a normal weekend without adding in tens of thousands of families who want to see record-breakingly large pumpkins.
It is perfectly fine going over there on a Thursday in early October. There are enough people doing the same that the numerous pumpkin patches and all the corn mazes are open but you are not spending an hour in traffic to go three miles.
Once in Half Moon Bay, we stopped at my favorite bakery for a carrot cake mini-bundt then headed further south to Arata’s Pumpkin Farm where we wandered around the corn fields and admired pumpkins and took photos. I picked out a Cinderella-style flattish green-blueish pumpkin and Chad got some mini-gourds and Indian corn. The owner told us we can put it in a bag when we’re done and stick it in the microwave and it’ll pop.
Next stop was Pescadero for the Arcangeli market’s amazing artichoke garlic bread [note to self for next time: buy a couple of the par-baked loaves to bring home because HOLY CHEESE, THAT IS SOME GOOD BREAD] and a little salami, then we popped over to Harley Farms to gorge ourselves on samples and buy some goat cheese to go with the bread. It was the end of the day for them and we were the only ones there, the owner and another woman were happily chatting in the back the whole time we were snacking then popped out exactly when we were ready to go.
I wanted to go sit in the cemetery but Chad has a thing about that so instead we continued driving down that little road that goes the other way from the highway, thinking we’d find a little place to sit down, but it quickly turned into shoulderless hillside and we drove all the way over to San Gregorio and the beach was right there, so that’s where we ate.
Then we sat admiring the ocean, which was that perfect silvery-blue with the sunlight reflecting a huge swath of gold down the middle, until Chad had to head back for his tennis class.