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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cruzin'......

(CLICK PICTURES TO ENLARGE)

7:03 am - Sunday - 56º F, humidity 66%, wind 6 mph out of southeast.....heavy cloud cover......chance of rain 60%.

We essentially dedicated Saturday to visiting the coastal town of Santa Cruz located just 31 miles to the west of the San Jose Elks Lodge.  Of course taking drive on a Saturday in the middle of Easter weekend on such a nice weather day probably means you will hit traffic, and heavy traffic we did encounter on SR-17, aka: Santa Cruz Highway.  About 10 miles into our drive the traffic stopped, and then for about 5 miles we were stuck in 'STOP & GO' traffic.....kind of brought back unpleasant memories of my workaday commuter life in SoCal.

Eventually traffic did begin to flow once again as we made our way over Patchen Pass at some 1,808' above sea level, and then began the steep plunge on 7-8% grades to Santa Cruz and the ocean.

Of course, Santa Cruz was jam packed with the Easter weekend crowd, and parking was hard to find......there is no free parking, or lunch in Santa Cruz......everything is metered.  We were slowly working our way to one of the large boardwalk parking lots when TLE's eagle eye spotted someone leaving one of the spots along the little side street we were on at the time.....we quickly slipped into the spot just a few hundred feet from the ocean, and paid for parking.....$1.50 for 60 minutes......we wanted to stay at least 3 hours......we had $2 in quarters.....these meters did not take credit cards, so we had to walk across the street to the arcade and exchange dollars for quarters.....



.......within minutes we were back pushing quarters into the meter, and then it was off to walk out to the end of the Santa Cruz Wharf which must be close to 1/4 mile long.......


.....as it happens the town is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of this wharf.....



.....we finally made it to the end of the wharf and took a few pictures......


 The amusement park was SRO.....

......TLE, being ever mindful of what local brew pub possibilities there might be alerted me that just about a mile from our position on the wharf there was a brew pub called Lúpulo (Spanish for 'hops') in the 'Old Town' area of Santa Cruz.  Seeing as how it was going on 2 pm we decided we should walk over there and check it out.....


.....we arrived about 20 minutes later and within minutes were sipping some brews.....for me Cellermaker's Tim's Brown Ale (6.5% ABV), and for TLE a Bruery Mash and Vanilla (13.8% ABV - Bourbon barrel aged barleywine.....OMG!).  For our apps we chose two.....Boquerones (white anchovy fillets, house ricotta, olive oil, crackers) and Carne (pancetta, saucisson d'arles, jamón serrano,chorizo, soppressata, bread, cornichons, olives, and house mustard).....I cannot pronounce most of those words except for pancetta (bacon), but they were both amazing......the food definitely matches the quality of the brews at Lúpulo's (by the by....Yelp gives them 4.5 stars on 171 reviews.....we agree....great service, brews, food and ambiance) and we are so glad we had time to sample their fare!


By 3:15 it was time to begin the walk back to our car as the meter would be running out......we encountered some more 'building art' along the way......



......and we stopped for a few minutes to browse through the offerings in a local Salvation Army Thrift Store (we found nothing we without which we could not live), and then spent some time walking in the ocean by the arcade with our shoes off before heading back to the VW to begin our drive home....we got back to the car to find we had just 4 minutes left on the meter......cool!

We were merging back on to SR-17 a little after 4 pm hoping the drive home would be less congested than the drove over, and it was.....we hit about 1 mile of stop and go traffic, but were home well before 5 pm.

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