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California Dreamin’ On Such a Smokey Day

When I am reading about Stalin and looking out at snow covering trees in Connecticut in the winter time, I find myself thinking of the Mamas and the Papas song “California Dreamin'” (yes, a little self pity creeps in every year when I painfully realize that I have to stop wearing flip flops for the season) and my mind drifts to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is one of the quintessential California surf towns where hippies, college students, stoners, and Silicone Valley millionaires (okay probably billionaires) all coexist (Okay, the hippies end up sleeping on the benches because the property prices are astronomical). Simply put, it is a wonderfully eclectic town and for the past 16 or so years my parents and I have taken a beach trip there before the school year starts.

You Don't Belong Here

Boogie

This year was a bit different than past years because of all of the fires that having been and still are raging in California. There are fires in the Santa Cruz mountains which made the whole area smokey. It felt like everywhere we went was a barbecue – the air was a bit thicker and the sun just wasn’t as bright. You can see the haze in the coming photos as well as the helicopters that are air lifting water.

The Enemy

Fire

There is a long wharf in Santa Cruz which has lots of seafood restaurants and gift shops. The sea lions also call this wharf home:

Hi there

For over a hundred years, Santa Cruz has had a boardwalk with one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the country. Every Friday during the summer there is a concert series and the last two years my parents and I have seen Papa Doo Run Run. At some point in time these guys played with the Beach Boys and they play lots of covers and are just a fun band to see:

Wish they all could be California Girls

Sunset in the haze:

Sunset Cruising

Because of Santa Cruz’s peninsula location, the sun sets over the land, and not the water like it normally should and does on the West coast (my mother is often troubled by this phenomenon):

Shining Through

The smoke from the fires was clearly visible in the mountains above:

Hazy Mountains

Hazy Lighthouse

I wish flowers like this would grow in Connecticut:

These won't grow in Connecticut, right?

The last day in Santa Cruz I got up somewhat early to watch some outrigger races (in the background you can see the Boardwalk and roller coaster):

Quick!

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