Our First Day -OR- Getting Warmed Up

California : Santa Cruz

We were fortunate enough to have a wonderful welcome committee on our first night and day in California. From San Jose, we drove south to Santa Cruz and stayed with three gracious hosts. Cody's friend Jimmy lives in Santa Cruz with his wife Chesa and 3 year old daughter Bella Mina - a delightfully charming family. It was great to meet a friend of Cody's, one in which he hasn't seen in almost 6 years - a reunion of sorts. But meeting the whole family was a treat for him as much as it was for me.

The next morning was a normal weekday for them, so morning happenings went on as usual. Chesa, as well as Bella Mina were off to school, one to college and one to pre-k, so Jimmy was our affable guide for the day. Jimmy already had a must-try breakfast nook in mind for our first breakfast in California. Upon reaching the frequently busy restaurant we were pleasantly surprised to find that, they weren't busy at all! Yeah, I mean, how can we not eat at his most favorite breakfast place in town - I would have waited an hour, really.

Cafe Brasil

Cafe Brasil was a lively bright green, petite structure - much bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside. Let's get straight to the food! Cody, after much persuasion was enticed to get the famous pancakes that Jimmy touted as, "The Best Pancakes he's EVER had!". I, on the other hand, decided to go for the deliciously flavorful Tofu Scramble - it was yummy. Oh yeah, Cody totally agreed with Jimmy about the pancakes. Check out their menu: Here *complete with photos to make you drool

Natural Brdige State Beach

The next stop was Natural Bridges State Park. The naturally formed rock structures were a bit smaller than I thought they would be from pictures I saw previously. Since it was mid-day, and the sun was bright as can be, it really wasn't an ideal situation to take photographs. But you have to make the best of what you are offered. I know, beautiful blue skies aren't usually something people complain about - go figure. A number of other people were enjoying the beach which also made for a challenge. I rather have photos without a group of people I don't know in them, in this instance at least.

Natural Bridges State Beach
(I cropped out the people I don't know, haha)

The beach is in the midst of a residential neighborhood, and you can easily park outside of the gate to walk in for free. Otherwise there is a fee of $6.00. Had we planned to stay longer, paying the fee wouldn't have been a problem. But throughout this voyage, you will find out exactly how cheap I really am! Anyhow, we went during low tide, although I didn't spend a whole lot of time peeking at the tide pools while we were there. It was unbearably windy, alright, maybe that's a little dramatic......but it was windy! My tripod was also introduced to sand for the first time on this excursion, but I gave it a good brushing later that day. We didn't spend a whole lot of time out and about in Santa Cruz since we still needed to head down the coast to find a camping spot for the night. We were lucky to have someone like Jimmy to show us around and break us into the pacific coast.


  1. The natural bridges look impressive to me. Looks like a great place to stay. If I didn't have a stomach bug I would check out that menu.

  2. Oh, I was more impressed with that breakfast menu!!! I remember when I lived in California... I loved those huge breakfasts, but I came back home overweight... One pancake would be more than enough for me, and they serve three!!

  3. You are making me want to visit California again. Great photo's

  4. beautiful photographs!! next time i make it up to san francisco i have to visit... where is big sur exactly? near santa barbara, right?

  5. do you mind if I link/ quote you in one of my posts?

    as you know I'm doing the "the ones I love" project this month, and I absolutely need to include your blog.

    So I was wondering, what is your favorite blog entry? The one you find most creative, or inspiring? Or telling? Do you mind if I link to it from my blog?

    I am doing a section called "I love: artistic bloggers"

    let me know :)

  6. I can't stress enough how badly I want to go to California. You are making me want to go more and more every time I see your photos!

  7. Yeah girl, don't complain about the blue skies - just keep right on sending 'em over to us instead :-D

    Oh and the coast is a windy bugger when she wants... I forgot to tell you that, LOL!

    I want pancakes for dinner. Seriously. Really really. You are evil and I heart you ;-)

  8. I love how positive you are. Rockin'. :)

  9. joeprah: They were still really cool! Stomach bug - No Fun :(

    nuri: haha, it all looked so good eh? I bet you would have to have more than one of THEIR pancakes :o)

    greg: thank you, that's what I hope to do!!

    a little bird: Thank you! Big Sur is between Monterey and San Simeon....taking highway 1 (leisurely) is your best bet. I'll email you about the project :o)

    1218: Wait until you see MORE!!!!

    TD: Pancakes for dinner, we call that B for D.....Breakfast for Dinner :o) hahaha I love that term!
    I know, I hate complaining about blue skies.....

    prin: I AM....awesome....this is afterall....MY HAPPY PLACE :o)

  10. what a natural super photo, so clean.top pic.you got it right.with just the light to make it fresh looking.sand sea coming together again the light was just right.sec pic know the people on the far shore????????????????????

  11. Pod: haha, no I don't, but they were just little specs so they didn't matter much!

  12. Goodness, those menu prices are soooooo cheap!!! I'll swap your vacation for rainy England any day...LOL! Those rock formations look amazing. I find that kinda thing so fascinating. By the way, your camera captures colours perfectly.