After eschewing yet another RV Park(ing lot) – this one just outside San Francisco in Pacifica, costing $51 for a spot next to the highway with a hook-up we couldn’t reach - we decided to flee an overcast sky and head south.
Passing countless state parks, dramatic winding turns and beaches populated by surfers, we didn’t stop…until we saw signs for Jam Tasting. How can anyone skip Jam Tasting?
This one (are there others?) was at a café at the all-organic Swanton Berry Farm that served up strawberry shortcake, berry compotes, whole pies, cauliflower soup and coffee – all customers had to do was take what they wanted and leave payment in a box.
Only in California.
So we took refuge from the ocean wind, jam tasting and enjoying a sweet snack, together with surfers, families and couples.
Our next stop was Santa Cruz, a delightful, offbeat university town down the coast from San Francisco and on the northernmost side of Monterey Bay. I had visited on two previous trips to San Francisco – once to visit my high school friends Justin and Ben, who were students at the University of California Santa Cruz, and once to go to the amusement park with my friend Laura and her friend Aaron. So we took Sophia to the amusement park, which is right on the boardwalk overlooking the Pacific. She rode the ancient merry-go-round twice before venturing onto other kiddy rides in a helicopter and racecar. She screamed with glee, and so did we. Sad to go, we sought solace in the pastel pink-and-blue sunset punctuated by tall palms.
Claire – On maternity leave from career as editor of monthly finance trade magazines, and occasionally a freelance translator. Half-American/half-English, raised in the suburbs of New York, has lived in London for almost nine years.
Daniel – Furniture designer/maker based on London’s Columbia Road flower market, for ten years, also an aspiring painter and DIY supremo. On one-year career break to reconsider options. English by birth, but mother is half-American and spent part of her childhood in Bronxville, New York.
Sophia – 3.5-year old spitfire who loves school, singing, swimming and being a big sister
Lulu – Born May 8 of this year, a model baby who eats, sleeps and gurgles.
Special guests – American, British and international friends and family who drop in along our trip to see whatever part of the country they fancy. They’re welcome to travel in the car with us and sleep in an adjoining tent.