"Back on the Road..."
Day Six, Saturday – Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, & Home:

(note: Formatting works best at 1024x768)

The Route of Day Six Our last trip morning and we awakened fairly early so that we could get out and on the road early.

Events tried to conspire against us, however. While Dee Dee was finishing up the last little bits of packing the car, I go to check us out. What I find, though, is the person at the desk arguing - heatedly - with someone who was also checking out.

Now, details are faded as I write this, but the gist is the motel promised this person one thing - in writing - but was refusing to deliver it. At the same time they refused to give her back the said "writing" and - indeed - had shredded it.

The patron was...upset by this.

After about twenty minutes of arguing, the desk clerk called the police (I suspect because she knew she was losing the argument). They came and tried to calm things down - and more or less succeeded. Still, the woman who was staying at the motel left promising to sue - and I strongly hope she wins. Conflict ended (until the court date) I managed to check out.

Needless to say, we're not going back to the Comfort Inn on Ocean Street (Plymouth St., actually) in Santa Cruz again - they're overpriced IMHO anyway...

Finally getting on the road we turned our attention towards breakfast (well, "brunch" at this point). Disappointment over the lack of a Pontiac Grill had led us to do a little research that morning and we'd pegged a place called Jeffrey's as a good potential spot.

So we're driving east on Soquel Avenue...and driving east...and driving east...and just as we're wondering how far east Santa Cruz actually reaches, we come to the restaurant - "Jeffrey's: Home of the deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich..."

Yeah...that's what we thought.

But a deep-fried ham, chicken and cheese sandwich with a blob of jam on top (and a dash of powdered sugar) turns out to be actually good. The place itself is in classic "Family Restaurant" style with - from what we could tell - lots of "regulars." It's now on our list of "Places to Eat" (at least, for breakfast) in Santa Cruz.

Well fed, we were on the road again, following the 1 south along the curve of Monterey Bay. The day was cold (cool, by David standards) and gray. Patches of fog dotted the route and the weather was in general, well, just gray.

Monterey Bay at Moss Landing The after leaving Santa Cruz, the 1 curves through a mixture of farms, small towns, and sand dunes. Half way along from Santa Cruz to Monterey, you see a big power plant built right on the shore. That power plant marks a couple of things besides the "half-way point." Next to it is the small community of Moss Landing, an accompanying beach, and the mouth of Elkhorn Slough, one of the biggest remaining saltwater wetlands in California.

Moss Landing Unfortunately at the time, we didn't know any of this. We just pulled off because it looked like an interesting stop along the coast and we needed to stretch our legs. Moss Landing was cold, gray, and windy. We basically drove out to the end of the road, right where the little harbor there exits to the sea.

Sea Lions and Otters (and bears), Oh My! We weren't going to stay too long - looking out to sea was rather uninteresting what with the gray on gray haze motif - but then we walked over to look at the harbor.

And several otters and sea lions were at play.

The pictures again show little but the fact that I need a real zoom lens, but in any event we spent about an hour watching them as they lazed about the harbor. The otters tended to spend most of their time diving for food (especially the mother and cub), but the sea lions seemed to think it was great fun to follow all the boats in and out of the harbor. It's a surprisingly busy little place, somewhat schizophrenically split between fishing boats, tour boats, and the Monterey Aquarium's research boats.

What my camera considers a "close up" Like I said, if we had known more about Moss Landing/Elkhorn Slough before we got there, we would have spent a great deal more time there (if nothing else, the kayak trips up the slough sound real interesting).

Afternoon found us booming south on the 101, after a bit of confusing finding the onramps in Salinas. As we headed inland and south, the day went from cold and gray to warm...eventually hot...and blue.

The trip through the Salinas Valley was pretty, but by now we were both tired and more than a little eager to get home. We stopped briefly at a rest stop to make a quick lunch, but apart from that it was drive, drive, drive...

About Santa Barbara, though, we'd driven enough that "lunch" was a faded memory and "dinner" was something we were actively looking forward to. So we got off and looked for a restaurant - fast-food, in this case. We didn't find one. We did the same another couple of miles down the road, nothing. We kept looking for a "food next exit" type sign as we drove, again, nothing.

It's like it's illegal to own a restaurant in Santa Barbara within eyesight of the 101 freeway. Oh, I'm sure there are some there - but you either have to be a local, or be willing to spend a lot of time and miles searching to find one, 'cause we sure couldn't.

So we continued down until we hit Ventura - I could find a place to eat there.

Nine o'clock that evening found us pulling into Pasadena and heading for home. Roadtrip 2004 - perhaps the least planned roadtrip yet - was now over.

To Fifth Day of Trip     To 2002's Trip

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