Sunset SB (8), Seacliff in Memoriam, New Brighton (5)

“When in doubt, get the f*ck out.” – Rita and Mo

The theme of this post is about getting your ass kicked. In my case, it is the intentionally chosen decision to undergo remodeling that has turned me into a hot mess. In the case of poor Seacliff State Beach and (former) Campground, it was Mother Nature who dealt the fatal blow. I will not claim that I am as bad off as the pile of rubble now standing in place of one of the most popular campgrounds in all of California. But I have had to instigate an “Are you wearing shoes?” checkpoint with Richard before I leave the house every morning.

But they are really comfortable.

Funny story about the shoes. My Learning Center partner some months ago amused us by accidentally wearing her house slippers to school and not noticing until she was there. “Hahahaha!” we all laughed heartily. But then I noticed her slippers were really nice looking and asked where she got them. They became the Xmas present I bought myself, from Richard. Now, the remodeling at home has entered the really disruptive stage because they are painting, and installing windows, in the existing bedrooms. That means we can’t really sleep in there. Or, we could if we could get to the bed, but then we would be woken up by workers, or neighbors, staring at us through the very large new window that looks out at the street because the fence is down. Thank goodness we have Dory and that we put the money into the garage reframing so we can open her up inside. We have been sleeping in her for the past week, and I was pretty impressed at how well I was handling it. Then I showed up at school in my slippers.

Just pretend we’re camping. Except then remember to get up and go to work. Also, remember to get dressed and stuff.

On Friday afternoon, when I came home and started getting ready to hitch up, I found there had been a miscommunication about some of the painting and that freaked me out. The painting is probably the part of the remodeling project that I am most invested in, because color matters to me a lot. We seriously considered not going out so that I could talk directly to the painter, who was going to be there all weekend. But the Premium Donna in me took over because we had site 25. Site 25 is the one with the best view in Sunset, and it is very hard to reserve. So I couldn’t let it go. Once we were there, we reminded ourselves, for the hundredth time, it is (almost) always better to go out.

I mean, you can’t not. There’s a rule somewhere that you can’t, under any circumstances, cancel a premium reservation.

The weekend forecast called for rain and road construction on 680. We hit both, but it wasn’t too bad going southbound. It was cold and windy on arrival, but not so much to deter us from doing a CM spin for optimal morning view. It rained all night, and we woke to scattered showers and a breathtaking view. We both wanted to get out for a walk, rain or no, so we decided to engage in some curiosity indulgence in the form of disaster tourism.

I knew Seacliff had gotten battered, but I wasn’t sure from photos just how bad it was. We have reservations in May, and part of me wanted to believe it would be fixed by then. From what we saw, that would be a hard no. I can’t even imagine how they are going to rebuild that place, or even if they are going to choose to put a campground in the same location.

For reference, this is how it looked before the big storms. It is just a parking lot, but wow, what a view!

And here it is now, from roughly the same vantage point. And this is the part that doesn’t look as bad.

It’s funny to me that we were so fond of this campground, as it does not seem our speed, really. It is just a parking lot where you are slotted in next to big rigs and fully on display of all of the walkers, joggers, bikers, beachgoers, all up and down the strip. There is zero privacy, and if you choose to sit outside, you’re going to be chatting with passersby, answering questions about the Alto and whether the roof goes down. But we absolutely loved everything about the place. You can’t be any closer to the gentle surf, and it helps that Marianne’s Ice Cream is walking distance away. It is true camping on the beach, but I guess you are kind of tempting fate there. They say they have plans to rebuild it, but it will have to be completely reconstructed from scratch, starting with putting in a new, and hopefully more robust, sea wall. It was very very sad to see it in this state. But we cheered ourselves up by going to Marianne’s. They’re fine.

A Loop seeming not quite so bad…

Portions of B Loop still remain…

Then it starts to get serious…

And then it’s just gone 🙁

Electric hookups

I don’t think we’re going to be keeping those May reservations…

In addition to the loss of the campground and paved Day Use area, the old concrete ship, the SS Palo Alto, disintegrated a little more. There was a pier that used to go all the way out to it, but half of that washed away. I can’t imagine they will attempt to rebuild that. There are lots of incredibly expensive looking houses on the beach that also took a hit. Many of the homes had notices posted from the county, either saying the property was fully unsafe for use, or partially unsafe. Some homes lost windows, stairs, and decks, but the super fancy ones sitting on raised pillars also took damage. It’s hard to feel too much sadness over those because one imagines, with a property like that, they likely have the resources to survive. But there were more modest dwellings further south that were completely decimated, and that is a shame.

Some of these looked kind of off center…

On Sunday, we packed up, like we do, and headed to New Brighton to dump waste tanks. One thing you should know about us: we are always prepared to stay out longer. Richard always packs extra breakfast and dinner, for at least one more night. We always carry extra medication, for at least another week. And Richard is always hopeful that one day, I will say yes when he asks if we can just not go home. This time, when he playfully asked if he should ask at the kiosk if there were free sites, I did not laugh him off. Instead, I asked him to look at my calendar to see if I had meetings or testing sessions scheduled. I did not. It is almost never that I have a Monday free of obligations. Things are stressful at work right now, with lots of transition planning for students moving on to middle school, and it is very difficult to get paperwork done at school. So Richard got to ask his favorite question at the kiosk and the answer came back as a yes, with premium sites available through the wait list, and there was no one on the wait list. So I did some fast texting to my colleagues, and my answer came back as a yes too.

Premium site just calling my name

Besides just extending the weekend fun, staying out gave me the opportunity to knock out some tedious paperwork for the rest of the afternoon, and the next morning. It also meant our daughter got another day without having to manage being displaced from her bedroom AND sharing space with us. Additionally, Richard had time to go on a bicycle mission while I was working and brought back eclairs from Gayle’s. The cherry on top was that going home on Monday instead of Sunday meant we got to avoid the 680 closure and crazy detours. It was a pretty slam dunk good decision all around. I am super lucky to have such wonderful colleagues, who are willing and able to shift and cover for me so I can take a spontaneous mental health day.

Confirmation of a Good Decision

Another sunset, another romantic walk on the beach. New Brighton did not suffer nearly as much damage as its neighbor to the south. There were clearly slides, and there was a lot of debris on the beach. The cliffy trails going down from the Day Use to the beach looked battered, but were still clinging to the edge. Richard took a look at nearby Capitola, where much of their waterfront promenade had been closed down. Most of the businesses down by the water were boarded up and fenced off. And their beach also had tons of wood debris. The New Brighton campground fared comparatively very well.

Premium view while getting some work accomplished. Not bad at all.

Back at home now, we’re still sleeping in Dory for a couple of weeks. And our daughter is probably a month or so away from a move in date when she can truly have her own space. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we are just in the final push now. It will be awesome when it’s done. And in the meantime, we will get the f*ck out as much as we possibly can.

Total miles to Sunset: 93.5, 18.7 mpg, 2 hours 47 min. Site 25. Full solar, excellent 5g for ATT, LTE for Verizon. View of ocean. No dump. Total miles to New Brighton: 11 miles. Site 76, premium. Ocean view, full solar, excellent 5g for both. Good dump, pay $10 with credit card at dump.



New Brighton

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