Red = Todd
Purple = Raechelle
Red = Todd
Purple = Raechelle
Being the efficient and organized travelers we are, we were up bright and early and waiting for the SUV from the towncar company when it arrived (and already one latte (latte latte latte!) and/or giant iced tea ahead of the game). We got through security without a hitch, grabbed some food from the airport Starbucks (latte #2 for Raechelle (LATTE LATTE LATTE!), giant iced tea #2 for Todd). The kids amused themselves with their Nintendo DS thingies while the adults sat around giggling, hopped up on caffeine (heart=exploding).
Then the Alaska Airlines lady got on the PA and said they were offering $50 upgrades to first class. It took us about 30 seconds to decide to go for it. All four of us. Kids together at the bulkhead, adults together in the last row. Best $200 spent. EVER. How can we ever go back to coach?
I will not hesitate to fly first class whenever possible. As my good friend Ferris Bueller says, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Two beers and two glasses of wine later (feelin' groovy, baby.), we landed safely in San Jose, got our luggage and took the transport bus to the rental car place. They were out of our booked mid-size car, so we were upgraded to the GMC version of the Saturn Vue for free. Comfy, leather seats, smooth ride, and an auxiliary jack for Raechelle's iPod. Sweet.
We got to Chris & Beth's place in the afternoon and got settled. Then we all headed over to Andrea's 40th b-day party, where we saw a few old high school friends including Jed, Abi, Becky, Paul & Marte. Raechelle wowed them all. Of course I did. I even wore a pirate bandana to fit in with the cool kids. Did you know I was dating a pirate? Arr.
Went over to the Hyatt for brunch with Sam's parents, which was a bit tense for Raechelle and me, but she managed quite well, and I did gauge their general approval (which is neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things, but was nice nonetheless).
Yes, a bit tense, but really not a bad thing. Really.
Then Randy met us back at Chez Creth, and we piled into the rent-a-rig for our trip over the hill to Santa Cruz. And I read a book on the drive. Didn't even throw up. We met up with Dave Beach and his kids downtown at Pacific Garden Mall, grabbed something to eat and chilled for a bit at Atlantis Fantasyworld, the comic shop at which I spent much of my early adolescence. Joe has been running the place for decades. He's a Santa Cruz celebrity, a singer/songwriter, advocate for prostate cancer awareness, and all around cool "uncle". He even remembered me. With Dave and Randy there, it was a mini reunion.
As an aside, for those who know the film The Lost Boys, Atlantis was the comic shop featured in the movie as the hangout of the Frog Brothers. In fact, Joe is in the background (with his bushy black beard, which is now white). In the interest of accuracy, it was the original store and not the current location that was actually used in the film. But still. And Joe gave me a copy of his folk CD, and I gave him a copy of OA.
The Lost Boys is one of my absolute favorite movies, by the way. When Todd asked if I wanted to go to Santa Cruz, my first questions was "Isn't that where Lost Boys was filmed?!" My only request for this trip was to see the Boardwalk. And to see a vampire. That's all. Really.
We drove around Aptos for awhile and then headed down to meet my uncle Russell and his wife Gah neh na, (herein known as "Sally", cause it's easier for me) his son Aaron and his wife, his other son Noah and his girlfriend for dinner at a nice little Mexican place in Seascape (very close to where I used to live). Then we all drove out to Russell's place in the Santa Cruz hills.
It's a gorgeous property with 360-degree privacy, beautiful bird-friendly gardens, a waterfall, a hot tub, outdoor shower, flagstone walkways... an island of serenity with views of Monterey Bay from the back deck.
Holy crap, talk about a retreat. We saw a mama deer with her two babies on the drive up, oodles of birds, and Russell said they've even had a mountain lion wander across their deck. While they were sitting in the hot tub. It's like Wild Kingdom, I tell ya.
Speaking of Russell, the man has got some stories. And you'd swear he's making them up, until you see the pictures. One of him touching a rhino's horn. One of a charging lion (that he almost peed on). One of of him hugging a tiger. My new favorite joke is, when Todd mentions Russell, I say "So, this one time I was on a Mayan temple......" And he was. He has pictures.
We awoke to fog and hummingbirds outside the window, and spent a leisurely morning with Russell et al, eating fresh pastries from Gayle's, drinking tea and watching the birds at the feeders. It was well after Noon when we got ourselves organized and down to the Boardwalk. There were no vampires. Crap. We ate some corn dogs and fries, and the kids and Randy rode some rides. I took Raechelle on The Cave Train, which is possibly the lamest, cheesiest ride in amusement park history, but it's one of those things that's so bad it must be experienced. Only for my man.....
We packed up and headed back over the hill to Chez Creth, and Tyler bowed out of dinner. Raechelle, Kayleigh and I joined Randy for dinner at Frankie, Johnny & Luigi's. Then Randy went home to Rocklin.
We took a well-deserved rest, sleeping late. I slept until 9am! Just like old times! We were on the road to Half Moon Bay by about 2PM. Raechelle got to see some beautiful views to and from, and we had the pleasure of sitting in a traffic jam (from a wild fire being seen to). Once in Half Moon Bay, we (hit a wall of fog. Sunny behind us. Fog in front of us. Bathing suit....and a sweater.) found a pretty empty section of beach, and toodled there awhile among the throngs of pelicans (I don't know what a flock of pelicans actually is, but man were there throngs of them). BIRDS EVERYWHERE. Actually, these weren't so scary. I've never seen a pelican before. Other than on Finding Nemo. Tyler even took his shirt off and body surfed awhile. It was only on the way back to the car that we saw this sign.
Back in Santa Clara, we met up with my buddy Hans (freakin' hysterical) and he and Raechelle and I went to Indian food, followed by a few drinks at the Boardwalk sports bar in Mountain View.
Another late morning (I love vacation!). Kids didn't even stir until noon. Raechelle and I found some beach towels on sale at Ross, then stopped at Chili's for lunch and a margarita, and some quality mushy adult time. Then Beth, Julia, Tyler, Kayleigh, Raechelle and I walked to the pool. Only Tyler had borrowed and then left my swim trunks at the beach in Half Moon Bay, so I couldn't go in. It was the capper on a crappy day (a bunch of technical and mundane stuff I won't go into). But I got in the pool! In my new bathing suit! Of which there are no pics. Wait. I think Todd actually got a pic of it at the beach. D'oh!
But it was redeemed by our evening jaunt up to Menlo Park to visit Steven Fox and his girlfriend Angela. He took us out to dinner at Jeffrey's (a sort of retro burger joint). There were milkshakes. And they were good. Now we're back at Chez Creth and winding down. Have a full couple of days left to go.