A Weekend at Santa Cruz and Baker Beach

May 3rd, 2010. Categories / San Francisco

While last weekend’s weather was excellent, this weekend’s weather made it look like a festering ulcer on Zeus’s inner thigh. In celebration, my ragtag gang decided to follow through on a variety of purposes. J-Dawg, the fiance, needed to go outside of Santa Cruz to serve a Bacchanalian feast in a field. Klumperdink needed to escape the weekday clutches of his benevolent search engine employer. And I, the author, craved sunburns and driving fatigue.

At 10AM we left for Santa Cruz in our boxy, dinged-up Scion. Our route was based on Matrix characters, so we took “The One” Highway all the way. We passed by lighthouses and coastal artichoke farms, coffee huts, and horseback riding stables. The glimmering ocean was always to our right.

We arrived in Santa Cruz two hours later, with barely enough time to eat lunch before dropping J off. Based on a friend’s recommendation, we stopped at Brazil Cafe on Mission St. and ordered our food to go. But the wait was long. Each time the big bosomed, exotic hostess stepped outside we got our hopes up. But it was only to call in the next group to the table. Eventually, J put the smack down and we got our meal.

Food in hand, we raced against time to make it to the farm. South, left, left, left: each turn bringing smaller and more rural roads. We dropped her off in the middle of nowhere, a patch of dirt between strawberry fields. In a few hour’s time, the space would be transformed and ready for the first event of Outstanding in the Field.

Klumperdink and I headed to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the oldest beachside amusement park on the west coast. Everything is in extremes: high calorie foods, lots of oiled up bodies, garishly painted rides, and a cacophony of music, sound effects, and chatter. If you’ve ever read David Foster Wallace’s essay “Ticket to the Fair”, almost all of his descriptions and insights apply. The boardwalk is an interesting study on humanity.

Fire department.

Personal airplane at the airstrip near Half Moon Bay.


Checking the propellers.

Pony rides.

Field and ocean.

Looks like a car commercial.

Freshly planted field.

Sandy cliff.

The blue Pacific.

In the countryside outside Santa Cruz where we dropped J off.

Old motel in Santa Cruz.

Romantic view.

Santa Cruz pier and boardwalk.

Bates motel?

Lasers shoot woodland creatures.


Colorful, yet tacky.

The vomit maker.


Man eating a hotdog on a stick.

Coaster riders.

Tsunami sign.

Dude about to get inside the human centrifuge.

The centrifuge.

Log ride from below.

Folksy surfer mural.

The controls.

Lone man on small ferris wheel.

A ledge of purple flowers.


The masses.

Afterward, we went on a drive to UC Santa Cruz. The campus was weird, more a collection of individual colleges isolated in the woods than quads and community. It seemed like a lonely and dark place, like a campground or forest of lost souls.

The woods of UC Santa Cruz.

The fields of UC Santa Cruz.

The barns of UC Santa Cruz.

The wood of UC Santa Cruz.

The wagon of UC Santa Cruz.

The “natural bridge” of Natural Bridges Beach.

We got back to the farm to pick J up around 8. But the dinner still hadn’t ended. Whoops and hollers from the inebriated table of two-hundred diners filled the quiet country air. There was no sense in getting impatient. I pulled out my iPad, and Klumperdink and I took turns killing zombies with plants. J finished around 10.

On the drive back, I did my best to see the road. My eyes were sleepy and the stretch between Santa Cruz to San Jose was narrow, winding, and unlit. Around midnight, we made it home.

Nestled all snug in my bed, visions of thong bikinis and funnel cakes danced in my head.

On Sunday, J and I ate lunch and relaxed at Baker Beach. Warm sun met cool breezes. Like I remembered, dogs kept to one side and nudes to the other. The weather wasn’t hot enough for much nudity, and the show was mostly dongs.

On the way home, we hiked up to the Golden Gate Bridge via the newly made Batteries to Bluffs Trail and caught the 29 bus.

Flowers poking out from wall.

Street hockey.


The purple flowers of non-native Ice Plants near Baker Beach.

Another view.

Face on bunker.

Bird launched from canon.

Fisherman on Baker Beach.

The step staircase that I call “The Gauntlet”. It’s a lung-buster.

J on The Gauntlet.

The top of the stairs.

Kite flying high.

Sparrow singing.


Baker Beach from above.

The Russian Orthdox Church on Geary watches over the neighborhood.

The tower of the Golden Gate Bridge peak over the bluffs.

Another view of the bridge.

The trail, looking back.


Old gun mounts, now cracked.

More battlements.

Traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday, I went to bed satisfied by the weekend. I wasn’t ready for it to end, but with only one more week of freelance left, I could at least pin my hopes on new and longer weekends before full-time work starts.

End transmission.

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