In my pursuit of Getting to Know California, I've seen a lot of valleys, sunshine, and some bizarrely cold/foggy beaches with sand that isn't really sand, but tiny rocks that manage find their way into my shoes. But like Diane Arbus always said, "my favorite thing is to go where I've never been," so I jumped at the opportunity to spend a weekend in Santa Cruz, because I'd never been there before—and you know, in the 80's Kiefer Sutherland made it seem spooky-cool in The Lost Boys.
One trend I've noticed in the past year and a half has been that people from California love being from California—and they frequently show their devotion with those California Republic shirts with bears on them, Sac Republic scarves to show some soccer love, and an abundance of Santa Cruz hoodies (to technically show love for a skateboarding company, let's not get into it). I'm not complaining: it's refreshing to see a sea of bear logos instead of a sea of Alabama or Auburn garb.
Anyway, I went to Santa Cruz. It was foggy, and a bit chilly, but I was thrilled to visit Verve Coffee, drink a few iced mochas, and head over to the Boardwalk to ride a gnarly rollercoaster, a cheesy haunted castle (I may have kept my eyes closed for most of that one, whatever, I scare real easy, y'all), and smash into children with bumper cars. Since it was California-coastal-raining, a lot of the rides were closed. This made all the rides that were open all that much more unsettling and creepy.
I'd like to take a moment to suggest that if you get a chance to ride the 1911 Looff Carousel, do it, but it will haunt your dreams forever (especially if it's California-coastal-raining, foggy, and not crowded at all). This ride is charming because not only do you get to sit on a hand-carved old-ass wooden horse, but you also get to grab brass rings from a dispenser as you go 'round, and then you attempt to toss them into a clown's mouth.
At the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, you can ride a beautiful wooden horse and attempt to throw brass rings into an aged wall-clown's gaping maw. If you are successful in your attempt, you're rewarded with flashing lights and bells. I was not successful, because I apparently suffer poor motor skills, but I saw a couple of people win in their attempts.
Santa Cruz is a little janky, which I wasn't anticipating. But I liked it. Stay janky, Santa Cruz. But I'm not buying a hoodie (at $55 each!), and next time I'd really like to run into some Lost Boys.