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Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Santa Cruz, CA

I am returning to Lovers Point Park at Pacific Grove, where I will stealth camp tonight. It is very windy and cold. I check my power station level and found it to be low. If I need my electric blanket tonight, I better ensure I have a full charge. At this point, the library is about to close.

On a quick call with Jennie to update her that I would stay one more night traveling before I got to her, she came up with a great idea to try and see if any of the hotels would let me charge my devices. I find myself in the old town's historic district. I enter the garage of the first hotel I see and go to try my luck. At the front desk, Karen happily lets me sit for a while and charge my devices. She is even ok with me using the bathroom to prepare for the night after I return from dinner.

Finding other vans parking on the street was a comfort as I joined in. Finally, by midnight the sounds of traffic disappear, and I am left with the soothing sounds of the waves just a few feet from me. Just before the day breaks, the seagulls wishing me a good morning, wake me up to witness the birth of another new day.

A quick look on Google Maps shows me there is only one place open that early for breakfast, and it is just a few miles away. I take my time organizing my car before the cafe opens up. A homeless person greets me with "Good morning" and starts a light conversation. We wish each other a good day and move on with our lives.

When I enter the cafe, Charles (Flash) is already enjoying the breakfast that the cafe provides him every morning. We nod and smile at each other. I can sense he is looking for a human connection, so as he gets up to leave the cafe, I ask him a question about the pillow around his neck. He is delighted to answer my question. I invite him to join me at my table. We sit for over an hour chatting about life and how amazing it is that he spent two years back in the late 60th in Israel, in Haifa, where I was born, and learned Hebrew at the town where I grew up. Since I could not finish the huge omelet I ordered, I offered Charles to make him a sandwich for lunch. His big smile was a gift to me. We hug goodbye and wish each other happy life. What a wonderful way to start my day! Happiness is a choice no matter what our condition; Charles taught me that.

Tonight I will arrive in Palo Alto to visit my friend Jennie and to regroup. I need to work on my next destinations and have a lot of administrative work to do. After all, life doesn't stop because I am on the road.

Going to the aquarium of the bay is a must when visiting the Big Sur area. I have a fear of the deep sea, so to have the opportunity to experience it at my comfort level is wonderful. There is something so relaxing, watching the many fish and other sea creatures ranging in size and shapes swim through the water with their vibrant colors. No wonder the theme "Under the Sea" is my favorite when I paint murals. I am most fascinated by the sea gooseberry jellyfish. I stand for a while, mesmerized by this little phenomenon that feels like a moving art.

I make one more stop and head to Santa Cruz for a quick exploration. I decided to check out the West Cliff, where I enjoy watching many surfers ride the waves. Unfortunately, I can't drive along West Cliff Drive because of the road closure. However, I have learned to appreciate detours; they show me places and neighborhoods I would otherwise miss. I love the simple ranch-style house as I drive by on my way to Natural Bridges State Beach. Santa Cruz is a cool place. I want to return and spend more time if I ever find myself back in her backyard.

I am so looking forward to spending time with Jennie. One fun thing we plan to do together is Line Dancing. I can't wait; it has been on my bucket list for too long. It might be for a while until I post again since after Palo Alto, I will spend my time with my son Adi in San Francisco.

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May 12, 2023

Enjoy your travels. I enjoyed your photos and reflections.

looking forward to meeting in September.


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