Weekend in Santa Cruz

Steve and I had a wonderful weekend in Santa Cruz. Microsoft‘s company picnic for Bay Area employees was held Sunday at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and included an unlimited ride pass! Since Santa Cruz is a good 2 hour drive from home, we decided to splurge on a hotel room for Saturday night so we wouldn’t have to drive there and back in one day (and could spend more time at the Boardwalk). We even (shock! gasp!) took off from our Sunday shift at WildCare in order to go.

We took the long way down on Saturday afternoon, cutting west from 280 up at the 9, a much windier stretch of highway, but less crowded than the alternative and very pretty, driving through redwood forests and state parks.

It took most of the afternoon to get to our hotel in Watsonville around 5. We didn’t stay in Santa Cruz itself since it is the busy season and very expensive. After checking in, we drove to Capitola to walk along the Esplanade and have a leisurely dinner by the ocean. We waited an extra long time to get a table on the outside patio overlooking the beach, only to find that, by the time we got seated, the sun had gone down and it had cooled off considerably. Fortunately, they had heaters. Unfortunately, only one of them in our area was working.

At any rate, after a good night’s sleep, we were off to the Boardwalk Sunday morning.

We were really surprised at how short the lines for the rides were. We hit the Giant Dipper a few times before heading over to the picnic area.

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Steve was a little reluctant to go on some of the rides that he felt would be too “hurl-a-rrific”, but I hopped onto the Fireball with little urging.

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It was great fun! Growing up, I always wanted to go higher on the swing and would get up to the point where you lift from the seat a bit before crashing back on the downward swing. This was just like the biggest, highest swing ever! It starts by having the seating area whirl around a few times before that motion stops and it starts to swing like a pendulum, higher and higher. Finally, as it reaches its zenith, the seat area starts to rotate again. Super sweet! There was only one moment when I blinked and I was in a completely different orientation after I opened my eyes than before I closed them.

It’s a little hard to tell, but I’m the third from the left giving the thumbs up!

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Getting off, I told Steve that it wasn’t that bad and, if he didn’t go on, he was a ginormous p . . . wussy. He did go on later and agreed it was fun. But, he didn’t go on it with me the third time.

Later in the day, we hit the ferris wheel. For those unfamiliar with the Boardwalk, this picture is a great view!

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We left the park around 4:45 or so for the drive back and made it home by 7:00. The traffic was a bit like the lines for the rides: surprisingly light. We really needed a weekend away and Santa Cruz was a perfect mini-break.