Empire Grade Road,
on the Boony Doon Road ride
A couple days in Santa Cruz saw us visit Healdsburg (very much worth it), drive the scenic Westside road past the wineries to our hotel, stop in at Flying Goat Coffee and Bottle Barn, stop by Enkidu‘s tasting room (their wines are fantastic and very well priced), and spend some time at Howarth Park with lunch at Superburgers (insert from Sue: BEST burger and strawberry milkshake I ever had!) . Not bad!
We left Howarth park with a screaming three-year-old who insisted he needed to ride the “digger” but his evil parents declined shelling out $2 for the ride. Quick lesson in “life’s not fair” and “you can’t have it all kiddo.”
So p*ssed was he that at sleep time that night, when Sue asked him what his “best thing” of the day was, he blurted out “No, I’ll tell you what the baddest thing of my day was, and that was not going on da digger.”
Stu and Kristi will be happy to know that we stopped by ChezShea in Half Moon Bay on the drive down to Santa Cruz. It’s a funky eatery with world cuisine – Brazilian, Thai, South African etc. The restaurant and Half Moon Bay is a recommended stop along the coast.
We have been staying in a family neighborhood in Santa Cruz, two blocks from the ocean. At night you can hear the waves crash against the cliffs. Here, we have discovered the neighborhood library and park, local beach and organic grocery store. And Tau has had a lot of fun playing with the kids of our hosts.
Trying out a two-wheeler
I took a ride along the cliffs yesterday afternoon and witnessed a pod of dolphins steal a set of waves from the local surfers in one of the nearby bays. Two to three dolphins a wave, they jumped and spun through the waves into the shore break, where they then turned around and swam back out to sea, right under the surfers. Pretty darn cool.
Today I headed out to climb Donny Boon Road which was part of the 2009 Tour of California route into Santa Cruz. Leaving Santa Cruz, you ride 10 miles north along the coast before turning onto Bonny Doon Road and then head directly inland. After about half a mile the climbing starts with an 11% grade. The climbing continues for another 2-3 miles of varying steepness before “leveling out” on Pine Flat road (nothing flat about this road) then finally turning onto Empire Grade Road and heading back into Santa Cruz. The descent was incredible as the redwood forest finally gave way to open grasslands and ocean vistas. Certainly worth dragging some other cyclists here to do this ride with me again sometime.