We made plans today (Tuesday) to meet with an old Army buddy of mine that lives in the Santa Cruz area. So we left the San Jose Elks Lodge in time to meet on the Santa Cruz Wharf (←link) by 11 AM for a lunchtime get-together.
We drove through the toll gate and took a ticket to park on the pier.
We found my old Army buddy Adam Breed near the end of the pier with his fiancé Shivan and daughter Teagan.
We had a great lunch at Woodies Cafe on the Wharf while we caught up on old times.
After a fine lunch and lots of conversation, we did a little seal watching together from the end of the wharf:
Then we checked out all the seals that were hanging out below the pier:
The Santa Cruz Wharf has some convenient open areas in the middle for seal watching:
And of course, we had to check out some of the stores on the pier as well:
It was really great spending time with Adam and catching up on recent events. It’s been over 10 years since we were stationed together in Katterbach, Germany where we deployed for a year-long tour in Iraq together.
Here’s a few pics I found of Adam, both before and during our Iraq tour together:
Adam is a first-class welder/fabricator. Here he is making a protective .50 cal machine gun turret for the back of a 5 ton truck out of scrap parts.
And he fabricated these troop seats (below) to be mounted in the middle of a 5 ton truck bed, in order for the troops to be able to face out while being transported instead of towards each other with their backs exposed.
Adam in Tikrit, Iraq (2004).
He was my driver in the truck below during our convoy from Kuwait thru Baghdad to Tikrit in northern Iraq.
Here’s Adam catching some Zzzz’s on top of the truck during a rest halt.
Now this was going to be a project:
Adam and other members of the Service & Recovery (S&R) / Welding Section of the 601st Direct Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division putting another battle-damaged HMMWV together.
Too bad we don’t have an ‘after’ pic, eh Adam?
We said our goodbyes and ‘see-ya-laters’… Adam had to get back home and start his night shift at work by 7 PM. Take care Adam… stay in touch and we hope to see you guys again soon!
After we left Adam and Shivan, we drove around the corner to the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse and Surfing Museum:
The Lighthouse / Museum was closed so we just walked around the cliff edge and checked out the scenery and wildlife:
Then we were mesmerized by the crazy surfer antics in the Monterey Bay below us:
It was hard to believe these guys didn’t run over each other while catching some of those waves:
After watching the crazy, (or were they just skilled?), surfers for a while, we decided this wasn’t a sport we’d like to take up… so we headed north from Santa Cruz on Hwy-1 towards San Francisco.
It wasn’t long before we came upon the Pigeon Point Lighthouse:
We pulled into the parking area off Pigeon Point Rd and walked out to the lighthouse.
The website says this about the Pigeon Point Lighthouse: “Perched on a cliff on the central California coast, 50 miles south of San Francisco, the 115-foot Pigeon Point Lighthouse, one of the tallest lighthouses in America, has been guiding mariners since 1872. Its five-wick lard oil lamp, and first-order Fresnel lens, comprised of 1,008 prisms, was first lit at sunset, November 15, 1872. The lens stands 16 feet tall, 6 feet in diameter, and weighs 2,000 pounds. Now on display in the Fog Signal building, it sat in a lantern room constructed at the Lighthouse Service’s general depot in New York before being shipped around the Horn. Although the original Fresnel lens is no longer in use, the lighthouse is still an active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation using a Vega Marine Rotating Beacon.”
Land-side view of the lighthouse.
The lighthouse was closed for repairs so all we could do was walk around the grounds.
Per the CA State website: “In December 2001, a section of the iron belt course on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off. The lighthouse will remain closed until the structure can be restored. The lighthouse may still be viewed from the grounds. For more information go to Lighthouse Restoration”
Sea-side view of the lighthouse and adjoining buildings.
Notice the huge fog horns protruding from the outbuilding (below).
Informational placards at Pigeon Point Lighthouse:
We walked down to the beach.
After we finished checking out the lighthouse and beach, we kept going north on Hwy-1 towards Half Moon Bay.
As soon as we pulled into the Half Moon Bay parking area, my cousin Phil texted us about dinner at my Aunt Donna’s house. It was already past 4 PM and we were expected for dinner by 6… we had to hurry back!
Traffic was good heading back into San Jose until we got about 18 miles from the Elks Lodge…
then it was stop-n-go traffic the rest of the way… I think our max speed at times was only 20 mph 🙁
I sure don’t miss commuting… what a mess! We made it back to the lodge by 6 PM or so. My cousin Phil met us there to transport us to Aunt Donna’s so we wouldn’t get lost. Thanks again Phil! We took our little dog ‘Coach’ who was happy to see us again after being alone in the Coach again for 8 to 9 hours 🙁 and jumped in Phil’s truck for a ride to Aunt Donna’s house.
We had a great chinese dinner waiting for us when we finally arrived. The whole San Jose gang was in attendance!
After dinner, some of the gang played a card game while others looked at old family photos, talked, and reminisced.
Little Coach even got to play with Phil & Tina’s little dog Boone(sp?). They really got along good together.
And then it was time for dessert! Yumm… and we even got to take some home with us 🙂 Thanks Aunt Donna!
It was another great day and an even better evening with all the relatives… stay tuned to see what we get into next 🙂