After 3 months of casts and physical therapy for a broken wrist I was more than ready for another RV trip. I figured that I would be physically ready when I could climb on the roof of the motorhome and also hookup our CRV for towing. Not really a high bar, but both require two hands.
So, the weekend before Halloween, we found an open site at the Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday, near Santa Cruz. This would be a great way to gauge our readiness for a much longer one planned between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If anything happened we would be within an hour or two from home.
However, the weather forecast showed the Bay Area was expected to experience an “atmospheric river” (their words) the day we were supposed to travel. We didn’t want to swim an atmospheric river to RV park, but luckily KOA found us a site the day before, on Saturday, so we could beat the storm.
The drive was dry and pleasant, with no issues from the weather, RV, or the wrist!
We were surprised to see so many people at the KOA in October. At check-in, the manager asked if we had any kids and seemed surprised that we didn’t. We’ll, it turned out they were celebrating Halloween that evening, a week early. Literally hundreds of little monsters were roaming the park asking for candy…and we didn’t have any with us! Well, it turned out fine and it was fun to watch the early Halloween. We learned it’s an annual event here and entire family trees camp together in order to experience Halloween in the park.
While the park was packed that first night, with no vacancy, on Sunday the park cleared out before the rain came. By noon, there may have been only 4 or 5 others in the entire park designed for hundreds of RVs. It was kind of nice having the park to ourselves for the rest of the trip. It was good being able to enjoy the rain instead of having to drive in it. The rain always sounds good from inside the RV, where it’s warm and dry.
We used the KOA as a base camp in order to visit Capitola/Aptos, Santa Cruz, and Felton.
Capitola and Aptos
Our first trip was Seacliff State Beach, a beautiful beach along the bottom of a bluff. As you can see, the ship at the end of the pier, once used as a restaurant and dance floor, isn’t doing so well.
After walking down the stairs, we walked along the beach to the end of the camping ground. The tide was extra high, as there is usually a couple hundred feet of beach here!
At the end of the camping area, is a brass statue you can high five before returning. Those high fives keep the brass all shiny.
After the walk we drove into Capitola for a latte at Mr Toots. They have a nice balcony overlooking the river and beach.
The next day we drove to the Santa Cruz Harbor for lunch at Crow’s Nest on their patio overlooking the jetty.
Lunch was great and the walk on the beach after lunch was even better. After the walk we rested on the opposite side of the jetty watching the waves crash on the Walton Lighthouse.
Our last excursion was to Henry Cowell Redwoods and their redwood trail. In my opinion, this is better than Muir Woods, (a very popular redwoods park near San Francisco) and much less crowded!
Dogs are not allowed on the redwood trail, but you can take them on the fire road nearby, and they are also welcome in The Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad right next door. By all means, bring the dog. 🙂
Big trees has steam train excursions that run year-round. as you can see, they are looking to hire right now.
We had a great time, and it was clear we were ready for a longer trip further form home. Yes!
We also purchased some new bikes from Trek. While my other one survived the crash that broke my wrist, this will make riding more comfortable and safer.
I have to say the new bike is a lot of fun to ride. It feels like when I was a kid and got my first stingray.
I’ve been on it almost every day since!
Al & Deb
Next time, don’t miss going to the bamboo nursery in Aptos! And the mystery house between Felton and Santa Cruz. Did you go to the surfer museum near the lighthouse?
I have yet to visit those areas and will put them on our list! Thanks for the ideas!