September 17 – 22, 2009
Updated Oct. 20, 2009
About 85 photos mainly taken during the trip by
Betty Nolan are posted at www.ritzpix.com
in five separate albums under member name of Lewis “Buzz” Nolan’s email
address. Email email@example.com
for instructions on how to access. The 17 photos taken by Betty Nolan in and
By LEWIS NOLAN
Heavy fog hid most of the Santa Cruz Municipal wharf from our nearby hotel room view early Monday morning. But by 7 a.m., we could hear the sea lions barking.
The dreary morning reminded me of my wonderful times there with friend Pete Siller in the early 1960s; we learned it was rare to see sunshine until lunchtime or later. That didn’t stop us from body surfing even though we sometimes couldn’t see the approaching waves until they were almost on us.
With the high prices charged on this 2009 trip by the hotel restaurant for food that was less than outstanding, I made breakfast out of a few honey-roasted almonds and some trail mix from the in-room bar, plus a glass of water.
I checked my email
on Betty’s nifty, netbook computer, which we hooked up
to a free Internet service connection in our Dream Inn room. I was pleased to
find an email from Marc Rush, who kindly provided us driving directions to his
home in nearby
We drove about an
hour on U.S. Highway 1, through the main source of strawberries we buy in
We quickly realized that
the town of
Marc Rush and wife Susan purchased a small, wooden home in Pacific Grove nearly three years ago. It had been very intelligently remodeled to provide a sleeping loft they use an office, loads of cleverly designed storage and living spaces and a tiny back yard that is home to their Australian Shepherd dogs. They keep, breed and sell and the lovable, intelligent dogs.
The couple has been married for 29 years and are fabulously happy with their new digs. With the dogs’ natural attraction to dog-lover Betty, the two Rush pets quickly made friends with us.
We drove around the town with Marc and Susan. They showed us a home gaily decorated in bright colors and painted butterflies done by a loving husband so his partially blind wife could enjoy seeing his work. We also drove by a locally celebrated yard statue of a moose painted to look like a butterfly. Local residents plant scads of beautiful flowers in their yards that are set off by the twisted shapes of Monterey Pine Trees growing wild in the area.
We joined Marc and Susan for a lunch at one of their favorite restaurants, First Awakenings, near the Aquarium. We were served huge salads we couldn’t finish.
Thanks to their membership in the Aquarium and guest passes they lent us for the outing, Betty and I got into the seaside museum at no charge. We saw its outstanding display of California aquatic life including sea otters, big sharks, assorted fish and other marine animal and plant life of all sizes. There was a special exhibit of Sea Horses from around the world, including a few as big as carrots.
Pacific waves crashed on the black rocks of the shoreline adjacent to the Aquarium, tossing white spray up in the air. It was a splendid view and treat for us to enjoy the museum in the company of the truly nice Rush couple. We all walked to a nearby beach and saw several sunning harbor seals along with dozen or more cormorant birds and seagulls larger than those we normally see when at our vacation home at Gulf Shores, Ala.
At mid-afternoon and
facing a good drive back to
After a long but hugely enjoyable day, we retired earlier than normal, about 9:30 p.m. after leaving word for a wake-up call at 4:30 a.m. the next morning. We wanted plenty of time to make the three-or-four-hour drive from Santa Cruz to the Sacramento Airport to catch the 1 p.m. Delta Flight to Salt Lake City, with a connection there to Memphis.