I’m pretty sure Gilroy, California, claims to be the Garlic Capital of the World, which is interesting since it’s right up the road from Castroville, the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World. Between the two California cities lies Watsonville, the un-proclaimed (but totally should be – since even in Japan and Hawaii they sell Driscoll’s Strawberries from Watsonville) Strawberry Capital of the World. (Probably, one of those other states we just drove through could also be the Corn Capital of the World…) Ever heard of Hollister, California? You know the trendy surf-inspired over-priced uber-popular clothing store with the Hollister logo on half their clothes? It cracks me up that Hollister is a town right near Gilroy, Castroville, and Watsonville, and that it is non-descript and completely lacking of all industry (perhaps they grow some things?) – and yet most of my readers have heard of this town because of the silly store (and, by the way, it’s over an hour from the coast, yet the clothing attempts to be “surf” wear), and have NOT heard of these other towns that contribute immense amounts of produce to the local and international markets.
Anyway, we stayed in Aptos with our friends Steve and Heather Miller, which is on the coast just south of Santa Cruz and Capitola. We also went to church in Castroville, where we attending during the 2 1/2 years that we lived in Monterey 5 years ago. We had to drive through Gilroy and Watsonville getting to Aptos and Castroville, so I thought they deserved a mention 🙂 Saturday morning I ran on the beach by their house, via a set of stairs down the cliff on the road called “Beachgate.” You can see why my run was so awesome when you check out these pictures from along the route. I took them Sunday evening when John and the kids and I walked after dinner along the beach. Then on Monday morning I ran again – 3 1/2 miles this time, and at 10:45 pace, my fastest since maybe April – while my four oldest children played on the beach while my friend Heather watched them.
On Sunday we were excited to see all our friends from Covenant OPC in Castroville and to worship together and share a fellowship meal. Everyone loved meeting Daniel as well. People even recognized us just from John’s coat – as in, that looks like a coat John Armstrong would wear, oh wait! it is John Armstrong! I was wearing my fascinator again, the one I wore the night before to the wedding, and John had on his striped jacket, so we were hard to miss. Possibly the six children and 12 passenger van made us hard to miss as well 🙂 Oddly enough, the identical blue van was in the parking lot already (although not a diesel), belonging to another large family in the church.
Sunday afternoon I napped, and then John and the kids, and Steve and Heather and one of their children, all ate in Aptos at Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant for my inaugural Awesome Mexican Meal. There are sure to be many more of these, since we’ll be traveling the southwest for a few more weeks 🙂
After dinner, during our walk to the beach, Heather set up a small birthday party for Liesl (who turned 6 on Sunday), complete with mango cupcakes, mango juice, mango fruit roll-ups (maybe? I know it was all mango-themed and never actually read the wrapper), and presents. Liesl was thrilled, since we had not really planned to do anything for her birthday. It was so sweet of them to make her day special 🙂
Monday morning, after running and letting the kids play at the beach, we were sad to have to pack up and leave our good friends again. We have such a great time during each stop with people, that it is always hard to leave – but usually we’re looking forward to seeing the next family along our route. This time the trip was just up to Redding, CA, to see John’s family, with a short stop for lunch to see my Great Aunt. More on that in the next post…