Monday, July 4, 2011

The Epic Return Part 2.

Day 4: Carmel - Santa Cruz - Redding.

As nice and comfy as Carmel was, the open road called and we needed to continue on to our final destination so after a two day stay in our three bedroom bungalow we headed off for Redding.

Along our route lay Santa Cruz. A must stop for any surfer and when we pulled in and I checked ouut 38th Ave I could see why. Endless waves rolled in. They were all in the 2-4 foot range and were aching for a longboard. I happily obliged catching multiple waves in the hour and a half I was on the water.

The crowd was super friendly off the 38th Ave staircase. Congratulations on nice rides were given out and encouragements to go for waves when someone paddled hard for one. After a number of short rides and some waits between sets I decided to paddle for the 35th Ave staircase where the rides looked longer and more consistent.

I had to cross an expanse of unpopulated water to get to the next group of surfers and the distance looked to be a few hundred yards. I have to admit it made me nervous. This was the red triangle after all. An area which accounts for 38% of the world's great white attacks. Being a lone sheep was not the ideal so I paddled hard and even harder when I would feel the bump of kelp against my board or the subtle tug of the same against my leash.

I made it with no problem to the next group and lined up. The crowd here was a little more aggro than the other friendly group at 38th. Everyone was competing for the waves and the short and longboarders alike gave out shit when someone cut them off and had no problem snaking you to get a nice ride.

Even with the crowd and the aggro I managed a couple of nice rides. One wave I lucked out in catching late shot me down the line nice and fast and I ended up in the kelp. The good wave came at the price of being entangled in kelp and have both me and my board washed past the catch point and bonking together as successive waves rolled in. I can see why kelp is dangerous. I climbed on my board and paddle back out as far as I could till the kelp held me back and reefed on it till it broke. I took a couple of waves in the face but finally was free, cleared the weeds off my leash and paddled out.

After sit in the water and catching some great waves I knew it was time to head back in. Lisa and the girls were gracious enough to give me the time in the water while they were down the strip on Santa Cruz beach having lunch and sitting in the sand. I paddled in, packed up and called to tell them I was on my way.

After collecting Lisa and the kids I hit a great Taqueria for a quick and extremely delicious bite before hitting the long hard way to Redding some four hours away. When you hit a Taqueria and there are only Mexicans there, you know it's good. It might be a little dangerous and you may pay for it later but it will taste like heaven going down. I dove into a burrito as I waited for Lisa to pick up some road snacks at Whole Foods.

The Santa Cruz Whole Foods allowed me to see something I never thought I would. In front of the doors was a homeless dude asking for change. Not too out of the ordinary really unless you looked at his backpack and blankets against the brick building. There atop his filthy rags and sweaters was his iPhone plugged in and charging. I don't even have an iPhone.

As Lisa came back with Miete and we were about to load up and take off the homeless guy walked by our car and peed in the large rhododendron behind us. 
Stay classy, Santa Cruz.

We hit the road and frankly, the kids traveled well. We made good time as there was little traffic and we made it into Redding at about 7:30pm. I checked us into the Holiday Inn where there was a nice little pool and we all took a dip to wash off the road filth and then retired. I sat in the bathroom writing the first draft of this while sipping Californian Cab Sauv, maybe a low point maybe a high point.

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