Santa Cruz Adventures: Day One

For Thanksgiving, my family drove up from Southern California to spend some time together in Santa Cruz and Napa Valley.

My brother and I were in charge of the itinerary. I’ve been to Santa Cruz once before on a day retreat with the Cognitive Science Student Association, so the first day’s plan included visiting a place that I didn’t get to go to last time, and one that I had fond memories of.


I made reservations ahead of time for a tour of the Mystery Spot. Mystery Spot advertises itself as a “gravitational anomaly”; a place where strange, unexplainable things seem to occur, such as people appearing taller or shorter than they really should. The tour included a number of small presentations such as people leaning at seemingly impossible angles, water flowing “upwards”, and people who seem to change heights in relation to each other. There were also a lot of really lame jokes. My mom got really dizzy when we went inside this crooked “cabin”.

We concluded that the so-called “gravitational anomalies” had very realistic explanations. Climbing up the hill seems to make people out of breath you say? Wow, that’s so weird because people don’t normally get tired after walking up a steep hill! People seem to lean at a mysterious 3 degrees you say? There must be mysterious forces at work! … or maybe that’s just, you know, something people tend to do when standing on extreme inclines. Lean so they don’t fall off the hill. Hmm…

Excuse me for being a skeptic. I will say though, that the tour was amusing and for $6/person, not a bad way to spend the morning.

After that, we went looking for a place to eat lunch, but it being Thanksgiving Day, it seemed as if every single restaurant was closed. We finally found an open Mcdonald’s, but they kicked us out at 2pm since they were closing as well. This is what happens when you spend Thanksgiving away from home.

Your typical abandoned railroad picture.
Your typical abandoned railroad picture.

We spent the Afternoon at Wilder Ranch State Park. We were going to park along the street, where we parked last time I was in Santa Cruz. However, we saw some shattered glass on the ground and realized that another car parked there had its windows smashed. Yikes! We left and parked inside the Park, as we should! Trying to save $10 on the parking fee is not worth getting our car windows smashed! It was Thanksgiving and there was no parking attendant anyways.

The Old Cove Landing Trail at Wilder Ranch is a beautiful, relaxing coastal walk that leads to a wonderful cove where you can go down and play in the sands. It was cold that day so we didn’t, but I went down the last time I came and it was a blast. The water is a beautiful blue, the air is fresh, and a pride of sea lions are bathing nearby. A perfect place for nature lovers to relax.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was pretty sad. We went to Safeway and bought microwavable mashed potatoes, microwavable cheese fondue, bread, and cheesecake, which we supplemented with cup ramen and spam. Yes… not exactly the ginormous feast that is expected of Thankgiving but food is not really what Thanksgiving is about, is it? Thanksgiving is about spending time with your loved ones and being grateful for all that you have. I am thankful that I got spend this day with my family; that I got to see beautiful ocean views and have a full stomach at the end of the day, even if it was full from cup noodles.


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