Carpinteria Sunset, stunning!
FROM CHRIS - Hey guys.Loving being on the Californian coast.We managed to grab our first beach day at a beach called Mesa Rea which was just near our campground, about 15 mins south of Santa Cruz.It was 2 ft and glassy, flocks of pelicans swooping by, seals playing in the water and dolphins doing laps of the beach -idyllicOnly 1 problem -arctic temperature water!!!We had all grabbed 4-3 wetsuits, but it was pretty painful on the feet.The kids lasted about 15 mins, me 30 mins and Mike an hour or two. It's pretty cool being in the water with so much wildlife around!
Next stop Monterey and Carmel.This area's famous for its aquarium (top 10 in the world) and Pebble Beach Golf Course.The aquarium was definitely awesome - huge huge million gallon tanks
A Beautiful Killer
with schools of sardines and anchovies, hammer head sharks, giant tuna!The infamous 17 mile drive was next which takes you through the Pebble Beach gated community - $10 toll!I decided I would have a go at driving the beast - so Mike could have a chance to take in some scenery.It started off well with wide open roads and few cars and stunning views of the coastline, it then changed to narrow winding roads where trees were literally growing inwards towards the road and every turn was taken at slow speed and squealing (mainly Mike, haha).There was no where to pull over for ages, so the only option was to keep going.Needless to say Mike didn't have a very relaxing ride in the passengers seat and my drive didn't last long.
Big Sur Spectacular
We finally popped out in Carmel a Parnell type affair with quaint shops selling cashmere and art etc.No where to park the monster RV so we kept going - heading out of town to hit the Big Sur coastal drive. What stunning scenery which was then matched with what we found at Santa Barbara. The place was settled in 1546 and the architecture was spanish style and really lovely. Hanging out there for acouple of days was a lot of fun and well worth the visit.
FROM MIKE - When in Santa Cruz I had a dilemma, to buy or hire a surf board. If I buy then I can surf wherever I want on our trip BUT then I'd have to try
Not bad for $120, taken at Rincon
and sell it once we got to LA or hire along the way and miss out on opportunities. Solution - Buy a beaten up ex rental which looks like it'd surf OK, so that's what I did. Once I'd done up some dings which TK would have been proud of, I managed to surf good sized 2-3 foot and super clean Mesa Rea as Chris has mentioned. We then followed this up with 2 very small days at Carpinteria and then on the way down to Ventura we hit Rincon, OMG what an epic spot!! It has the most amazing set up with a right hand point break which breaks about the length of Indicators, Whale Bay and Manu Bay all combined!! I managed to score the first decent swell of the season and saw some incredible waves get ridden. Being well out of my "hassling for a wave" practice I scratched out 5 smaller waves and one set wave to get a feel for the break. If you were to look at the make up of the boards, 90% longboard you'd think it was a slow Manu Bay type wave, but it's not. It's a screamer and so much fun. I was also blown away by how much dropping in was happening, just wrong. One of the locals assured me it was only because it was the first decent swell (3-4 foot) of the season and everyone was overly eager, all 50 of them.
After this surf we headed down to Bob Grooms favourite summer spot at Hobson Park, Ventura. On the way down I let Bob know we were heading to his "local", haha as he lives in Arizona. Bob immediately conference called me in with his good mate Russ who lives local so we could hook up for a wave. He turned up about 15 minutes after we pulled into the Hobson camp ground, located right at an awesome right and left reef break. We threw our wetsuits on and were out there! I surfed for another 90 minutes with the light fading from the day in great 2-3 foot surf with about 6 others in the water all hooting each other on for surfing well. After our surf, Russ brought out his ice cold home brew for us to sample and yum! My favourite was his darker ale, pumpkin and cinnamon flavoured jobby, what a ripper! After a few beers and meeting some of the characters of Hobson camp ground Russ was off and I crashed for the day having had two epic surfs in great breaks with much warmer water.
Hobson Fire Time
The next day we explored Ventura and then headed back toward Hobson to catch another surf before the end of the day, BUT on the way there the kids decided they loved the look of a break Russ had mentioned might be good for them and they spent an hour and a half filling their boots on my board with lots of great right hand face waves. It's rating second behind Universal Studios as the highlight of the trip so far! At the end of that day and with the sun sinking quickly I provided the locals of Hobson Camp Ground with a great laugh when we pulled into our camping spot and I jumped out of the drivers seat of our RV completely wet and in my wetsuit grabbing my board and running over the rocks to try and eek out what was to be my last surf of my new acquired board.After this surf and pretty much at dark I ran around the camp ground to try and find a buyer for my board as we were heading inland the next day and not likely to see surf for another two weeks. Luckily a lady named Carrie who is the Membership Manager for the Ventura Surf Club agreed to buy it for $60, so I might have lost a small amount of money on it but I'd had a blast on that board and it was well worth the money. The next morning it was off to Universal Studios where I'll let Sophia take up the story.
FROM SOPHIA - When I walked into to Universal Studios I was so excited. There was theme music playing and a
The Terrible Twosome
red carpet down to the ticket booth. Then we waled into where half of the rides were (FYI) it was awesome!!! There were characters walking around like Shrek, Scooby Doo and frankenstein and more. The lady told us to go to the studio tour and at first I thought this was going to be a boring tram ride but it was actually awesome. First we went down on the elevator and into where you'd line up (but there was no line). We went onto the tram and Dad and I got to sit in the front seats. There were two screens showing movie clips and a conductor speaking to us. First we went on the movie set of back to the future (heart that movie) and then we went on sets of other TV shows e.g. revenge and loads of other grown up shows. Then we drove up into a cave like place where we were in the dark for about a minute then we stopped . I was a little but anxious that something would come up and scare us. The guy said to put our 3D glasses on and suddenly we were in a giant forest with dinosaurs and vines around us. Suddenly I see King Kong roar right in front of us and I feel a drip of water on me like his saliva and then a dino came out about the same size as King Kong and they started to fight around us. Lots of people were screaming and the tram was shaking when the dinosaur or King Kong pulled or hit it. It was really exciting.
Soph and Leah at Universal
Next we went on the Simpsons ride that was such a long wait in the queue about 30 minutes and then they let us in. We came into a room with Simpsons characters talking to us in screens and then we went into the ride which was another 3D virtual roller coaster ride which went up and down and side to side. It was lots of fun but Mum felt really sick at the end of it. We rode lots of rides that day and saw two cool shows one about animal actors and the other named Water World which was a stunt show. Universal studios was awesome!!!!!
We even got a cool caricature painting done of us.