San Jose is the heart of Silicon Valley, and for Rob it invariably brings back memories of the technology job he left behind almost 4 years ago. Usually we would've skipped right past the South Bay, but...
...we wanted to visit with our friends Mikey and Laurel and meet their little boy Quinn, who was born exactly one day before Rowan! Carley and Laurel talked a lot during their pregnancies, and Rowan has Laurel to thank for his mutilation-free birth day since she was the first one to turn Carley on to the growing movement against circumcision.
With temperatures in the high 90s, a dip in the shaded kiddie pool was a treat.
After a few hours, Laurel and Mikey had to head off to the airport for a wedding in Washington, and we headed on up Highway 17, winding up out of San Jose and over the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains and down to the huge redwood groves.
In Bonny Doon, there is no town. It's an unincorporated community up in the redwoods a few miles northwest of Santa Cruz, and being there is like entering another world.
Here we set up camp for the night...in our friend Jimmy's backyard!
Jimmy's got an awesome place for camping out, with a little meadow and some redwood trees...
...and a hot tub! We didn't actually use the hot tub on this visit.
Also a garden, where Jimmy picked the lettuce to be used for our salad that night!
Our friends Marco and Beatriz came over for a BBQ and got to meet Rowan. It was great to just hang out, cook some food, and catch up with what everybody's up to these days. Big thanks to Jimmy for hosting and grilling!
The next morning we drove out of the redwoods, down the hill into Santa Cruz - about 10 miles, about 2000 feet down in elevation, and a temperature drop of 24 degrees! (from 88 in Bonny Doon to 64 in Santa Cruz) That's what the chilly Pacific will do.
In Santa Cruz we stopped for some breakfast at the renowned Walnut Avenue Cafe.
From there it was on up the scenic Highway 1 another hour.
Just southwest of San Francisco is the oceanside community of Pacifica, a small laid-back city of about 40,000 with miles of beach and several trails up into the mountains just outside of town.
Since we didn't do the helicopter tour, we snatched the aerial view photo without permission from this webpage about erosion.
Big thanks to Lexy (and her sweet pup Tank) for giving up her bed for the night so that we could all stay at her place! Long-time readers will recall that Lexy was one of only 2 of our friends adventurous enough to come visit us in Guatemala - and what a time that was!
After a romp in a great little dog-friendly playground/park near Lexy's house, we headed out to a cute beachside Mexican restaurant that oddly had no beachview, but after one of their maragaritas, it didn't really matter. Rowan wooed a group of ladies out for a bachelorette party, and the bachelorette didn't seem to mind Rowan's fascination with her, ahem, "spongy" boobs.
One of the perks of staying with friends during the trip was grown-up time after Rowan went to sleep. This night we had a great time catching up with Lexy and hanging out with her very cool housemate Dylan.
After another enjoyable visit, it was finally time to get a glimpse of San Francisco...but, only to pass through on our way to Oakland.
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