California Stretch

The theme of this summer’s visit to the U.S. is Southward! Starting in Seattle, we’ve slowly been making our way south to San Jose for the past three weeks.

Now, we find ourselves in Redding, California for a visit with family that we haven’t seen in way too long.

Owing to Covid and only being back Stateside one other time since 2018, it was the first time my grandma and Cyrus had seen the boys since Riley was two months old.

Fun on Redding’s Sun Dial Bridge.

Not a ton of pics from our low-key visit, but a very nice three days spent with Grandma Trudy, Cyrus, aunts, uncles, and cousins that we don’t get to see as nearly often as we’d like.

Lots of catching up, stories, play time, and delicious food as always.

We rarely find ourselves in big box stores these days, so when we do it’s a real treat for the boys. We don’t really need two carts (our luggage is already packed to capacity). Just a few last minute odds and ends. But the boys love to have their own “race cart”.

They also love fire engines, especially Riley. Our final stop brings us to Los Gatos for a visit with Uncle Lee and Aunt Jamie, and they just happen to have a fire station a block away from their house.

They also know how to whip up a tasty lunch. The boys love watching.

Jamie’s also a Lego lover with a crazy Star Wars set that’s never been put together. Noe’s jumping at the challenge. Meanwhile, Riley’s enjoying some rare storybook screen time. He loves vacation.

Work was slow and Lee was able to take a couple of days off, so the timing of our visit was perfect. We initially planned on hanging out around Los Gatos, but when Lee suggested heading a little farther out, we jumped at the chance.

Thursday, we headed to the beach! Noe felt right at home in Santa Cruz. The water even felt totally doable with a thin wetsuit, which is more than I can say about the Oregon Coast.

The Sea Lions were out in full force, doing what Sea Lions do. Or at least, the only thing I’ve ever seen Sea Lions do.

Here in late August, things felt eerily quiet on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I have to imagine much of that is due to Covid. Isn’t everything these days?

It felt as if we had all of Santa Cruz to ourselves, save for the Sea Lions, of course.

Can’t get enough goofy time with Uncle Lee.

Thursday’s outing was such a success, Lee suggested we do another. Today, it’s Monterey Bay.

Both my parents grew up here, and I spent a lot of time here as a kid because of it. A lot of good memories and still one of my favorite places in the U.S.

Lori and I paid a visit during our Babymoon in 2016, but hadn’t been back since. I was excited to show the boys a bit of their American heritage.

The old Edgewater Packing House on Cannery Row, or what’s left of it at least. When I was a kid, it was the biggest amusement center in town, complete with a huge 1915 carousel, the focal point of the building. All that’s ancient history now.

McAbee Beach on Cannery Row, where I’ve gone shore diving a half dozen times over the past 20 years, most of those with Lee. No diving on tap today, but the water sure looks enticing.

The famous Little Mermaid Glass Bottom Boat of Monterey Bay. Yet another one of the many reasons to bring the boys back here for a longer stay.

Historic Custom House Plaza, the start or end of many a pub crawl with family and backdrop to many holiday festivals.

Feet back where they belong. In the Mighty Pacific! A mere 2,000 miles north of (and a few degrees cooler than) what they’re used.

Final stop, Troia’s Market, a Monterey institution and Baxter tradition. I took Lori here for the first time in 2016 and now the boys. As always, its salami, provolone, avocado, and sprouts sandwiches (mayo and mustard) with Kettle chips. Heaven.

And just like that, our month in the U.S. comes to an end. Now it’s time to get back to Mexico and our new home in Chacala.

There’s just one little snag, of course.

We arrive at the San Jose airport Saturday morning the 28th of August only to learn that the tropical storm headed up the coast of Mexico has just intensified into a Cat 1 hurricane and is due to arrive in the Puerto Vallarta area just before 5pm today.

Our flight into PV is now due in at 4:20.

Evidently, we’re racing a hurricane to Puerto Vallarta. Looks like it might be an interesting flight back to Mexico.

To be continued…

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