Road Trip Part IV - Day Two
by, 10-09-2011 at 06:37 AM (2100 Views)
Let me tell you, I am not a morning person. When I don’t have to get up for work, I will sleep in until 11am or noon. I’m just a late-night kind of guy. With a trip like this though, early starts are mandatory. With only so many hours of daylight, and a tight schedule, you have to fit as much in as possible. So we got up at the ungodly hour of 7:00am, had breakfast, and took off.
It’s a fun trip so far, but I don’t know how long I could keep this schedule up.
8:30am – We head across the parking lot to the Black Bear Diner. I enjoyed it. I have never heard of the place before, but I guess it is a roadside chain. It is a safe place to eat if you ever happen by one.
9:30am – Off to our first stop – in Sherwood Park in Salinas, an unusual work of art called Hat in Three Stages of Landing by Claes Oldenberg. It was a shame to see the two low hats surrounded by fences – there was a lot of graffiti on them. It didn’t seem like there was anyone who could resist scratching their names into the brims. A real shame.
9:45am – Next was the Boronda History Center a short jaunt away. This early settlement was founded in the 1840s, and the research I did boasted a recent renovation. When we got there though, reality told the opposite story. One of the chain link gates leading in was open (the other closed), and a large Closed sign was on the gate. The place was abandoned, the new-looking building looked like it was being emptied out, and the place looked like it hadn’t been maintained in a couple months. We snapped a photo of the old school-house, and moved on.
10:00am – Passing through Castroville, we stop at The Giant Artichoke restaurant to see – a giant artichoke. Pretty self explanatory.
10:30am – We arrived in Santa Cruz, and started with an usual statue of a beached (dead?) whale outside a small nature center.
10:45am – Unscheduled, but we were just a couple blocks from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. We couldn’t not stop there. Sheryl had never seen it, and I haven’t been there in about 20 years. It was much the same as I remember it. We walked around, checked out some of the arcades, and played a little Pac-Man Versus. I didn’t even know that game existed. Fun stuff.
12:00pm – Here we started running into time issues. After an unscheduled 45 minute stop, we made our way to The Mystery Spot – a place in the mountains in Santa Cruz that boasts an alleged gravity anomaly. Unexpectedly, the place was packed – and we had to wait 45 minutes to get a spot on the tour, which lasted another 45 minutes. This was one of the first spots we decided to visit, so skipping it was pretty well out of the question.
For those that haven’t heard of it, The Mystery Spot claims to be a 46 meter circle in which the laws of gravity are a bit tweaked. You are taken on a path with some pre-existing cement paths, markers, and a contorted cabin at the center, where the guide will demonstrate the mysterious gravity. It’s obviously a fake (look up gravity hills if you want to learn more), but the tour was entertaining and worth the time.
2:30pm – On our way out of Santa Cruz, we passed through Macdorsa Park in Scotts Valley, to see the bear and mushroom statues from a long defunct Lost World exhibit. A little tame after the Mystery Spot, but we were back on track.
3:00pm – Through San Jose to Santa Clara, to see a 32 foot tall Virgin Mary made of steel. It was right next to a Catholic school in a very well maintained park.
3:15pm – Next we moved on to an Egyptian Museum sponsored by the Rosicrucian Society. It was actually a very good one – we spent a good amount of time here. Another delay, but well worth it.
4:45pm – A quick stop to see Babe, the San Jose Muffler Man, standing outside of “Babe’s & Lightning Muffler Shop.” It was a shame to see the statue in such bad condition – there was a tree branch draped across its face. It can’t be that hard to keep one of those things in half decent shape.
5:00pm – This 930 square foot Monopoly Board in Guadalupe River Park holds the World Record for the largest permanent Monopoly board. No one was out playing when we happened by (there was actually a 5k run going on in the park), but their website says you can get it for $300. Might be a fun picnic day.
5:20pm – A quick stop at Mark’s Hot Dogs on the way out of San Jose – a hot dog stand contained entirely in a giant orange. It was a neat location. I did order a dog and fries: they were ok. Not great – but decent enough.
5:45pm – Traffic! We were racing against the sun at this point, and a few stops behind where I was hoping to be at the end of the second day. Unfortunately an accident stalled traffic for a while, and we rolled into Sunol with about 30 minutes of sunlight left. We had two stops here – but I had a hard time locating the first one. While rerouting, I actually saw the second – so we paused there for a quick shot of the statue of Bosco – the Dog Mayor. Some of you might remember when this small town elected Bosco mayor in the 80s. This election lead a Chinese paper to proclaim it proof that democracy could not work. After we left, I read that the bar across the street (Boscos) features a stuffed Bosco that pees beer when the bartender lifts it’s leg. We should have gone in there.
5:45pm – We finally found the Sunol Water Temple – at the far end of a road that we couldn’t access. I guess they only open the gate during the week. Ugh.
6:30pm – Stopping in Lathrop, we filled up at Tower Mart, a gas station with a UFO crashed in the roof. An entertaining gimmick, well worth the extra 2 cents a gallon for the gas.
6:45pm – The sun was just down when we arrived in Modesto – and we found a motel across the street from our next stop – a monument to the Paper Boy.
After the shot, we found our hotel, and decided to order dinner in, and relax in the hotel for the rest of the evening. I needed the break!
Day two summary –
166 miles driven
11,312 steps walked – or 4.46 miles
Another 7am stop for our final day – straight to a pair of Cheese Factories! Once again, follow me on Twitter @craigreade for updates of the final leg.
Some more photos: