Vacation to Santa Cruz

My girlfriend Jamie and I took a vacation to Santa Cruz. We both were looking forward to getting away from work and everything else and just relaxing for a few days. And relax we did. The trip was a blast, and like any good vacation, it went by quick.

We started the trip on Tuesday, August 8th, riding the Amtrak to Santa Cruz. We stayed at the Riverside Inn. It was not a great hotel. They forgot to give us a number of things… But, it was clean enough, and the prices were reasonable, especially for the area, and it was close to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and various beaches. All in all, it wasn’t a bad place, as long as you don’t mind bugging the staff every day or so :)

We spent most of the first evening just getting settled into our hotel. We took a trip to the Boardwalk, which was only a couple blocks away. I had been there once before for the Workstation 5.0 release party, but a lot of it was closed off, so I didn’t realize just how big it was or how many rides were there. Jamie had never been there before, so this was in many ways a first for both of us.

We bought a 60 ticket sheet, which we later discovered may not have been the best investment. We expected to only be there for one day, and didn’t think the rides were as expensive as they were. Ah well. It turns out that on Mondays and Tuesdays after 5PM, the rides were only 1 ticket, so we did get to go on several before turning in for the night.

On the second day, Wednesday, we went to this little restaurant called the “Beach Street Cafe.” While the food was good, the service left much to be desired. It took forever for them to even acknowledge our existence and seat us. After breakfast, we hung out at the boardwalk and used some more of our tickets. We played miniature golf a couple of times and played a round of laser tag. It was a long, exhausting, but fun day. We found out that on Wednesdays and Thursdays after 5PM, unlimited ticket bracelets dropped from something like $28 to around $8, or something like $13 for one that included two free things like mini-golf and laser tag. We each got the $13 ticket bracelets, which we used for one of the mini-golf rounds and laser tag.

Mini-golf was a blast. The whole thing took place in this pirate caverns place. We haven’t played in years, so we were both pretty bad, but not as bad as we expected. Jamie was doing pretty good for a lot of it, once she warmed up. We kept score the first time, but decided it wasn’t worth it the second time, especially since we were trying to take pictures and didn’t want to hold up the people behind us.

The third day, Thursday, we rented a couple of wet suits and boogie boards and went to Seabright, a nice beach right next to Twin Lakes Beach. We were practically inbetween the two I guess. 20 feet away from Twin Lakes. The walk there was long and painful, as we kind of underestimated the distance and started off taking the long way around to there.

There weren’t that many people on the beach, which was nice because we expected to make fools out of ourselves. This was my second time boogie boarding, and I loved doing it, despite some minor injuries that resulted. Basically, I was hit by a wave and the board stuck in the sand, while my gut smacked into the top, knocking the wind out of me. It hurt for a bit, but there were no major injuries.

Jamie had never gone boogie boarding before, but I talked her into it and except for this one wave that took her by surprise, she enjoyed it too. We spent some time relaxing on the beach and making sand castles/pyramids. We were there probably 4 hours or so. Then we begun the long walk back. We then proceeded to go back to the Boardwalk for some more fun.

On the fourth day, Friday, we decided to buy souvenirs and go on a few more rides. I bought a pirate hour glass, a whole bunch of shot glasses, a towel, some Santa Cruz poker chips, and probably some other stuff. There was a store there getting rid of a bunch of their inventory and they said we could name the price on several things, so we bought up a bunch of half broken and useless junk :) Some of it was nice, though, and very fixable.

That was our last real day, as we had to leave Saturday. We spent the evening on the wharf, going to a nice restaurant for dinner, and just walking around. Our legs were very sore by the end of all this, by the way. :)

On Saturday, we went home and attempted to relax, exhausted after our busy but extremely fun trip.

Update: More pics available here.