Santa Cruz, California

Benicia to Santa Cruz

After our last night at Dave’s place in Benicia, we got up and headed of towards San Jose to meet my friend, Kael, there.   He’s getting into a business where he’s going to need to build three greenhouses for growing herbs and he wants to get together for a visit and to talk about the theory of greenhouse building.

We decided that even though it might be more direct to head straight for San Jose, we’d rather go the longer way around and cross the Golden Gate Bridge once more.  So, we’re off on exactly the same routing we took yesterday with Dave except this time we won’t stop at the Marin Headlands but will, rather, go on over the bridge to the San Francisco side.

It all goes to plan and soon we’re to Highway 101, turned south end then over the bridge and into San Francisco.   We see a lot of the streets and place we walked just a day or two ago when we came in on the BART System.   And, we’re getting a better sense of the layout of the city, itself.   As we drive, I’m keenly watching the signs that indicate that we’re still on Highway 101 South.   These, finally, begin to talk about San Jose and then I’m into following them instead.

As we go, I’m adjusting our plans via instant messaging with Kael as to when we’ll arrive, approximately, and he with letting us know where he wants to meet us.

Kael has us come directly into the new heart of San Jose.  A beautiful new downtown section of three blocks or so built as a walking street.   It’s all pretty high class stuff the likes of which we haven’t seen since Rodeo Drive in early November.

It’s also a bugger to park in and to locate the specific restaurant.   But, eventually, it’s all done and we’re all gathered on a nice sidewalk table in a good Mexican Food Restaurant.   I have Civeche de Pescado and it is excellent!

We talk over a number of subjects including greenhouses and his new business among others.  I give him the notes I’ve written on basic greenhouse construction.   He and his friends, who’ve bought a 5 acre place in the Santa Cruz Mountains, are going to grow Chinese herbs to obliviate the need to import them from China.   They think they’ve got a ‘sure’ market and it sounds like a good plan to me.

After lunch (thanks, Kael!) we buy him a coffee just down the way and talk some more and then he’s off for business meeting in S.F. and we’re off on the road for Santa Cruz where we’ve decided we’re going to stay this evening.

Getting to Santa Cruz is a nice drive.   I enjoy going through the mountains and thinking about Kael’s new venture there.

Once down into Santa Cruz, we find the downtown area and park the car and go walking.  

When we were here before, we saw the downtown busy and full of people, briefly, as we pulled into town and then we checked into a motel and did not return that evening.   In the morning, when it was quiet, we went back and walked around and had a coffee and a look around.

Oddly, as we walk around today in the warm evening and late afternoon light, I find I can remember almost nothing of the first visit and what we saw on the original morning’s walk.   Too many intervening memories and cities?   In truth, I’m wondering if we’ve actually walked through all of this until Colette leads me to the place where we had coffee last time and, suddenly, I recall it.  

Memory’s a scary thing sometimes.   So full of all the stuff you remember and yet you have no idea of how much you might have forgotten.

Just a bit after dark, we depart the downtown area with a vague idea to locate where we stayed before and then find something else (just for a change) in that area.  

I should know by now, after all of our two month’s of adventures, not to go off with a vague plan in the dark in a town I don’t know.   But no … off I go clueless that I am clueless once again.

Later, when we finally get to the original motel and check in out of sheer exhaustion and a good measure of frustration (we abandon the idea of finding a new place), we’ve spent an hour to an hour and a half trying to orient ourselves as we drive around trying to make sense of the maps and the street names.   When we finally can see where we’ve been, I realize we started off from downtown; not three blocks from the motel we ended up in.   Jeez.

Colette and I have never had a fight or even a mild disagreement in our relationship.   But, by the time this adventure’s over, we are both frazzled and stressed out though, thankfully, not taking it out on each other.

I have a lot of trouble sleeping this night and, in the end, she’s awake as well so neither of us can claim a good night’s rest.

I suppose any trip of this length will have a few days that are stressful.   This adventure on the dark and confusing streets of Santa Cruz is probably our best of this category.   Even entering Portland and Bandon Beach in the dark and the rain don’t really hold a candle to it.

Ah well, it is what it is.


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