Day twenty-two: San Francisco or somewhere over the Atlantic

This was it, our last day. It dawned just as yesterday had, cool and foggy but today we were dressed for it as we were going back to the UK. The Babbling Brook Inn was probably the quirkiest hotel we’d stayed in, and the most comfortable. It was set out like a little village with 2 storey cottages, a water wheel and a babbling brook. Fortunately we had the ground floor because 3 weeks in our cases were heavy!

Babbling Brook Inn, Santa Cruz
Babbling Brook Inn, Santa Cruz

We had a couple of items on the agenda for the morning as in the afternoon we had to return the car and check in for the flight home.

Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz — con or true? You will have to visit to decide for yourselves. The claim is that there are are forces in play at this spot in the redwood forest that can make you doubt your senses. As a group of about 20 people we were given a talk about level ground, proven with the use of a spirit level, and followed by how if two people stand facing each other, one ‘in’ the Mystery Spot and one ‘out’, and they then swap places, then their heights change. This theme is used repeatedly to demonstrate the power of the Mystery Spot.

Beautiful flowers
Inside the crooked shack

There is also what I can only describe as the Crooked House, a slanted shack where, it is claimed, you can stand at a 17 degree angle without falling over. It certainly messes with your senses, leaving you feeling a bit nauseous. The experience will cost you $8 per person plus $5 for the car, I’m not convinced it was worth the money.

Outside the crooked shack

Big Basin Redwood State Park was a better prospect. $10 to park and go where you will for the day surrounded by redwood trees.

Big Basin Redwood State Park

These aren’t the same as Sequoia. Whilst they are both redwoods, coastal redwoods are skinny and tall whereas the Sequoias are much wider at the base and tall. They are beautiful to walk around but without the majesty of the Sequoias.

Big Basin Redwood State Park

We did spot a banana slug. We’d seen notices about them at the Mystery Spot and and assumed it was a joke, until we saw a real one… bright yellow and huge!

Bright yellow banana slug…

Skyline Drive was the fun alternative to the motorway into San Francisco. It follows the headland between the Pacific and the Bay. Very pretty drive, twisting and turning, right up Graeme’s street. It didn’t give us the views we were hoping for but it was definitely more scenic than the motorway.

Skyline Drive

And that was pretty much that. We had lunch at the airport as the place we had picked out on Skyline Drive was overrun with people, packed out, nowhere to park. Returning the car, the car-checker-lady was pleased with her unexpected gift of a cooler full of full water bottles. We had bought it in San Jose and it had done a grand job of keeping our water cold and our lunches cool a few times. We were sad to see it go, it was a hard plastic one whose lid slid to the side, but there was no way it was going on a plane! Next up was finger crossing our cases weren’t overweight as we’d added some items during our trip, not to mention a couple of boxes of glass rods. Happily the cases came in at/under the permitted weight even with my glassy purchases.

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. We saw some amazing places and met some lovely people. Drive-thru ATMs are a wonderful invention; natural restrooms, though useful and numerous, are an experience you would want to miss, always ask for the smallest meal on the menu and I want to live in Death Valley because it’s so hot!

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