WARNING: THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN MORE WITH PHOTOS IN MIND THAN WORDS!
When I woke up this morning, I thought I saw something weird out of our bedroom window. I pulled back the curtains and sure enough — there was a blue sky! After what feels like two straight weeks of rain, thanks to El Nino, the sun had finally come out.
This morning I had planned to write those Christmas thank you notes I have been putting off, as well as sewing some buttons on a shirt and a pair of shorts. I also had a few ideas for new topics for my blog. But, enjoying a day off in honor of Martin Luther King, we decided to make a spontaneous trip down to the Pacific Ocean!
We threw on our shoes, grabbed some water and snacks, ran out the door and put the top down on our BMW before we drove away! We zipped down 17 South to Santa Cruz listening to Darius Rucker and up Highway 1 to Wilder State Park in about 27 minutes! There is a big parking lot inside the gate that also has plenty of clean bathrooms. We saved $10 by parking out on the highway and walking in.
We wanted to enjoy everything the ocean has to offer today without crowds so we skipped the first part of Wilder Park. We walked north out the gate, past the rosemary fields, and down the hill to the railroad tracks. We turned right and walked 500 meters or so to the second section of Wilder. It was wide open with no one around!
To get to the ocean, we walked through the fields normally full of crops.
There were a few artichoke plants along the right side and onions growing on the left. I wish I had an SUV because there was a stack of beach wood I really wanted! Really gorgeous!
I am not sure why we both wore our new running shoes today! We knew it would be muddy because of all the rain we have had. When walking around the huge puddles, my husband said – “Let’s walk on the grass.” I moved onto the grass and sank into the mud. Past my shoes! Quick sand/mud! Looking down, I noticed half of my calves and both my feet were sinking in mud! It was NOT what I was expecting. It was like sinking in snow – I had to really struggle to get out without falling down. My husband was laughing quietly. I was laughing hard when I took this photo (left). But, I wasn’t turning back, so I just kept walking – mud and all!
After a five-minute walk, through more mud puddles, we were at the ocean bluffs. It was so worth the mud! It was gorgeous! The sun had burned the fog off and it was so warm we stripped off our jackets and long-sleeved t-shirts. The waves were gnarly! There were no surfers out there today.
We moved on and hiked down the hill to one of our favorite spots on the beach. We normally climb up on the rocks while we are down there, but we know better on a day like today. Sneaker waves can kill you when surf is high so we just stayed on the beach.
The sun was so warm and it was just gorgeous! We looked for rocks to skip on the ocean. Nick was throwing and skipping boulders! Crazy. Nick loves to skip rocks!
After a couple of hours we decided to head back home. We felt so blessed this morning! We weren’t expecting the warm temperatures, we just wanted to pay homage to the Pacific Ocean! What a lovely UnPlanned morning at the beach!
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.