Monday, March 24, 2014

Mission San Juan Bautista

I have this "thing" about California Spanish Missions. I love the history, the architecture, the adobe, the landscaping. It's all just so cool. We visited two missions on our trip.
This one is the Mission San Juan Bautista, or The Mission of John the Baptist, built in 1812. It is an inland mission, where Indians were taught to farm and their souls were saved. It was built next to the San Andreas Fault. Like, the wall of the mission is on the fault. How is it still standing? We walked on a trail that goes right on top of the fault. How are we still standing?

Like all missions, it has a bell marking the Camino Real.
 It has arches too. I love arches.
The mission was closed when we got there, so we couldn't walk in the gardens. Through this locked gate there was an historic cemetery. Picture me pressing my camera lens through the cracks in the gate to get that cemetery shot.
 Favorite shots:
 Great bell tower! Love that history!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Fruit Stand

When I say "the fruit stand," what I really mean is The Fruit Stand. As in, Produce Heaven.
 Like, everything there might have been grown within a mile of The Fruit Stand, it was that fresh.
And BIG. Bigger than produce has a right to be. And CHEAP! Because there was so much of it. They were practically giving it away.
And PERFECT. What is my local store trying to do, poison me?? I need perfect fruit and vegetables!
Sure, we didn't recognize everything we saw.

We might have gone into a Fruit Stand Frenzy. We might have embarrassed ourselves in our enthusiasm. But really, it was not a moment for control.
Next thing we knew, we were wheeling baskets-full out to the truck. There was a squished avocado on the ground and we all felt bad. That night we had tacos with giant green onions, garlic from Gilroy, fresh guacamole, (avocados 7 for $1.00!), and sliced blood oranges.
Kumquat, anyone?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sand Dollar Beach

One place we had to go was Sunset Beach. That's where sand dollars wash up onto the beach. We probably gathered at least 40 or more perfect sand dollars here.  This picture is for Lindsey:
 The California poppies were blooming while we were there. Such happy flowers!
 If you know my family, you won't be surprised by activities like this:
 Or these:
 An insiders tip- don't leave your shoes unattended, or they might be decorated with shells, kelp and dead crabs.
 But it was worth it to feel the tide pull the sand from under my feet.
 There's always a lot to see at the beach.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hot Dogs On The Beach

We stayed in a condo on the beach just north of Santa Cruz. This was the view off our deck:
For dinner, we cooked hot dogs and s.mores on the beach. The sun had just gone down:
I need to improve my beach cooking skills. Everything was a little gritty!

Monday, March 17, 2014

An Irish Birthday Treat

Happy St. Patrick's Day birthday to my hubby! We celebrated last night when everyone could be here. Among other things, he got tickets to the upcoming Noah movie. He's been so excited to see that.
For birthday treats I made these Irish Dirt Cups. They were a hit!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Great Train Ride

After we boarded our open-air boxcar, we were off! Over the trestle and up the mountainside, steaming all the way!
 We passed McSkunk Junction, Deer Valley and lots of railroad crossings for the hiking trails.
 There was an old trestle, destroyed by vandals in the 1970's.
 And there were the trees. Tall, beautiful trees.
 At the top of Bear Mountain we had a chance to get out and walk around.
 And take pictures of people taking pictures.
 Brian licked his finger, held it up and determined the "that way" was north.
 This really was such a fun thing to do.