Henry Cowell

IMG_8748This was my first time exploring the redwoods just outside of Santa Cruz in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The super fun part of this weekend was that we got to hang out with our “wine and whine” besties. Also, I recently won 50 bottles of very nice wine in a raffle. Trust me, you so want to be my bestie right now.

While we regularly reserve sites about six months in advance, it’s not always so easy for friends to just spontaneously join us. Luckily, our friends are very happy with renting an Airbnb nearby and connecting for meals and/or hikes. We pulled in to the campsite around six and they came over to join us for dinner. A couple bottles of fine Cabernet or Malbec, and that, to me, is the perfect evening.

IMG_8750Saturday, Richard went for a “top 100 rides” biking adventure while Rita, Mo, and I went for a hike in the redwoods. Mo is a super hiker and disappeared ahead of us on the trail almost instantly. Rita and I got to stroll along at a more relaxed pace and we planned to hook up later. When I hike with Richard, most of the conversation centers around whether we are still on the trail. His eyes are usually glued to Galileo Pro and/or a trail map. I think on this hike, I may have over adjusted to a more relaxed state of mind and was paying not too close attention to the navigation. Instead, I just enjoyed the scenery and talking to Rita, who teaches mindfulness classes and is an expert at living in the moment. Eventually, I realized that where I was casually aiming our route was not in the same direction that Mo had bee lined toward. In fact, it was about exactly in the opposite direction. But here’s the awesome thing about hiking with a mindfulness expert: the destination doesn’t matter! …. Except we needed Mo to pick us up because we didn’t want to walk all the way back and we were not in the right place by the time we reached the road. So perhaps the moral is: it’s good to aimlessly hike and enjoy the scenery, but it is also good to have a backup plan in case you totally screw up because you weren’t paying attention.

IMG_8756Once we got our ride, we drove to the town of Felton for lunch where Richard also happened to be ending up. On our way, we spotted a biker wearing a bright yellow jacket. From a distance, we thought it might be him. As we approached, we saw that the rider had a big, bushy, totally white beard, and we joked, “Wow. That must have been a really hard ride to age him like that.” We did actually find him at the next intersection wearing the same yellow jacket, but not so many white hairs. We all had lunch together at a Mexican restaurant and then I got dropped off back at Dory while Richard rode back. Afternoon was nappy time for both of us. Then we decided to be lazy and both couples did dinner on their own. I did a re-created Blue Apron recipe, which worked great, except we still have leftover scallions and cabbage.

IMG_8767Sunday, we got packed up and drove to the Redwood Grove interpretive loop trail in Felton. This is a beautiful, easy walk through a grove of coastal redwood trees. It is located right by the Roaring Camp train station, so you can hear the sounds of steam trains echoing through the woods as you go. We parked Dory in a horse trailer parking lot outside the main parking area and Richard was thrilled to see that the new solar controller was putting in >10 amps from the solar panels. This will be a big bonus, not only for charging the Alto battery, but for charging the coffee battery once we get it wired in. From Felton, we headed to New Brighton to dump tanks because the dump station at Henry Cowell is closed.

The only other fun thing to report from the weekend was that we accidentally followed an Airstream all the way from Santa Cruz to Lafayette, through dense weekend traffic, and around 80 miles. We noticed it and wondered if they noticed it. When they finally pulled off, just one exit before ours, we turned to look as we passed them, and the driver was waving at us. We waved back. I don’t know why, but I find that to be really fun.

Great weekend. And the best part was connecting with our wine and whine friends. I hope to find future trips where we can hook up together.

Total miles: 78.1, 16.1 mpg, 2 hours 33 min. Site 5 was nice and spacious and private. Other nice sites: 7, 11, 15, 18, 35, 33, 28. Sites with potential solar: 40, 42, 43, 44*, 46. Good LTE for ATT and 3g or 4g for Verizon. Dump not open. Bathrooms fine, no hookups, but water spigots plentiful.

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