Sunday, October 16, 2011

Schultzes in Cali - Part Three

After our evening in Chinatown, we headed to Half Moon Bay to fly our kites from Chinatown Kites.  Earlier in the week, I purchased a different spool for my kite so that it would unwind and wind easier than the one that comes with the kite.  This will make flying the kite in less windy locations easier.  Going to the beach was my solution for having a lot of wind for the googly-eyed penguin’s first flight.

The day was bright and sunny, that is, until we got to the beach.  The Bay Area is full of microclimates, and fog banks are created when the cool water meets the warm land.  It was overcast along the coast.  There was not, however, a lot of wind.  We attempted the run with the kite behind you method; it was not as effective as the two-person approach.  The two-person approach is where the flier holds the kite, and the second person walks the kite away from the flier and stops at about 100 feet.  The second person then launches the kite in the air.  Both the googly-eyed penguin and the solar/lunar eclipse kite saw some major air, and we actually felt the satisfaction of flying the kites rather than running with the kites.

Mom flying her penguin kite

Dad taking my solar/lunar eclipse kite for a flight

The last full day of their visit entailed a drive to the redwoods where we would hop a train which took us through the redwood forest to the boardwalk on the beach in Santa Cruz.  Roaring Camp Railroad is located in Felton near the Bigfoot Museum.  The camp offers an hour-long steam-engine train ride around Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park as well as a three-hour diesel-engine train ride through the redwoods in the State Park to the beach and back.  We chose the longer, more diverse beach train. 

Diesel-powered engine

The train offered both covered and open-air cars.  It was cool that day in the redwoods, but we came prepared, so we sat in an open-air car.  

The scenery was gorgeous.  The conductor offered tidbits of information about the route and surrounding flora and fauna.  

We crossed over a steel truss bridge built in 1909; the date was cut out of the steel.  We also passed through a tunnel that was around a mile long.

As the train crossed roads along the route, the conductor performed his Grump Test by encouraging everyone to wave at the people in the cars stopped at the crossing.  People love to wave at other people.  Without much encouragement, people were waving like crazy and continued doing it wherever we went.  It is kind of funny to wave at someone a few feet from you.  At some points, the wavers were so close to the wavees that they could have easily held a conversation.  Yet they each just waved like mad at one another.  It was pretty entertaining.  As we reached Santa Cruz, the conductor told us to be on the lookout for a little girl who comes out to wave at the train each time it passes.  Sure enough, there was a bleary-eyed little girl in her nightgown with her hair askew and a stuffed animal under one arm.  We saw her on the way back too, dressed in a different outfit.  Conery thinks she’s really a ghost.

We made it to the boardwalk in about an hour.  The conductor told us that the train would be leaving in an hour.  We had the choice to come back in an hour or hang out around the boardwalk and hop the 4:30 train back to Roaring Camp.  We opted to do a little exploring and get back on the 12:30 train.  The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is a typical beachside boardwalk with rides and carnival games.  

There was a cheerleading competition going on, so it was packed with roving bands of young girls in matching outfits and waaaay too much make-up on.  If your daughter is 9 and wears more makeup than a drag queen, you might be a stage mom.  LOL!

We got back on the train with a set of the previous riders and some new ones.  The route to and from the beach is the same, but we got to see things we’d missed going in the opposite direction.  There were a good number of mountain bikers, hikers, and campers.  We weren’t sure if the people were camping or living there. 

After Roaring Camp, we stopped for lunch at the Cowboy Diner set on Felton’s main drag and discussed the plans for tomorrow’s return to the airport.  
With great memories and lots of hugs stored up, we said our goodbyes at 4am the next morning.  Even though it will be awhile before we see one another in person again, we definitely got some awesome quality time together.  

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