Hello Friends and Family,

1978, Northern California Coast

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

After my trip to Florida, I guess my family figured it was time for them to come visit me in California. No problem — I always enjoyed being the tour guide. These photos were taken over multiple days to various of my favorite places in Northern California, starting with Santa Cruz.

You may remember all these family members from previous weeks, but to make sure, left to right are Mom, (baby sister) Lisa, Dad, and me. We are in the parking lot for Natural Bridges State Park. In the left background, you can easily see one of the natural bridges formed by waves pounding on the coastal rock formations. Note that some years later, that very bridge collapsed and is no more.

I love this spot not just for the natural bridges but also for the lovely beach, tide pools, and the grove of eucalyptus trees (out of view to the right) where Monarch Butterflies winter.

A short drive along Cliff Drive brought us to an overlook where Lisa could easily check out the surfing (and the surfers). In the distance is the Santa Cruz Wharf — of which I have shared photos previously as well as descriptions of souvenir shops, restaurants, and fish markets.

Next, we drove down to the Monterey area, specifically Carmel, where we discovered a tree in which Lisa's name had been carved into the bark. Even though we were not responsible for that carving, I knew that this picture would definitely be a keeper.

As you may recall, I contend that Carmel has one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in all of California. Mom was always a beach person, but even she was impressed with the sugar-like sand here — quite different than the broken-shell beaches of Fort Lauderdale. Dad didn't much care but if it made Mom happy, he was all in.

Of course, she had to sample the waves washing up onshore. She was shocked to discover how cold the water is along this part of the coast. I had warned her but she was skeptical and had to feel it for herself — we were certainly not in Florida anymore.

Monterey is just a stone's throw from Carmel. Here Lisa was checking out all the boats in the yacht harbor. It is hard to imagine where so many folks find the money for this expensive pastime. You may have heard the expression that a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money. It's true.

Here we see Mom and Dad taking in the sights where Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf begins. If I recall correctly, this is the place where Mom ate her first Dungeness crab. I may have mentioned this story before — if it's a repeat for you, feel free to skip to the next photo.

I grew up in Maryland, where we often dined on Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs. After moving to California, I told Mom about the West Coast's Dungeness crabs which are anatomically very similar to the Blue Crabs that she was familiar with — but which are so much bigger! On her first visit, we went to a restaurant serving Dungeness crabs so she could try one. Looking at the menu, she said she was very hungry and suggested that maybe she should order two for herself. I laughed and told her that one would likely be enough but if she finished it and was still hungry, she could order a second one later.

Of course, she could not even finish one — we got doggy bags to take home the other halves that several of us could not finish at the restaurant. Live and learn.

More than likely, on this trip we ate again at the same restaurant, Abalonetti's, my favorite here — where you can get Dungeness crab but also my favorite on the menu, Squid Abalonetti — it is wonderful.

On another day, we drove north over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Highlands where one can get this marvelous view of the famous bridge. Did anyone else notice the moon in the center of the sky?

Another funny Mom story — she always suffered from Acrophobia, i.e., fear of heights. Dad and I had to coax her out of the car — and with him on one side and me on the other, we escorted her to the bench that she is sitting on in this photo. You can tell she was definitely not comfortable. But at least she did look at and minimally enjoy the view. And, of course, we did escort her safely back to the car.

Still in Marin County, Lisa posed like a high-paid model for this shot. Oh to be so young and fashionable. At least we have photographic evidence of those qualities.

I believe this is in Sausalito, also in Marin County. If you recall, Sausalito is home to lots of houseboats (none visible here). A great place to visit.

One final photo, which may have actually been taken on a different day but which found its way into the same box of slides with the other shots that I have shared today. In case you don't recognize the place, it's the Japanese Tea Garden at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Even if it is not chronologically correct, the shot of Lisa is too cute to exclude.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com