Santa Cruz Island Adventure

Our adventure started at 7 am boarding Island Packers ferry in Ventura on our way to Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest of the 8 Channel Islands. Fortunately we were in good company with the Conrath family.

We arrived at a cool and foggy Santa Cruz Island at 8:15 am. We had a full day planned with tickets for the 4:30 pm ferry home.

Some of the gang ready to go!

First up, a hike up the Cavern Point Loop to Potato Harbor. Walking in the clouds.

I captured this flower along the trail. It was quite dewey!

A look down to where we started. The ferry at Scorpion Harbor.

Moving along….

Unfortunately we weren’t able to see the spectacular views. On the bright side, it was cool weather for hiking.

We had never seen these beautiful blue winged ravens before. Upon closer look, we realized they were tagged. I overheard one of the campers saying that Raven #14 was quite an a-hole in the campground.

The fog is starting to burn off. It was nice that once we got to the top we had the place all to ourselves and only saw a few other people.

The Amy’s.

On our way back down.

The Channel Island Fox was the main reason for the trip. Hayden has recently taken a keen interest in foxes and this fox can only be found on the Channel Islands. This trip was to celebrate H’s 13th birthday in early June.

The foxes and the ravens on the island are known for their cleverness in getting into backpacks and coolers in search of food. There are “Fox Boxes” where we stored our food.

There were two foxes playing (or fighting) and this one ran off and started screaming.

We had some lunch and rest time and got all our stuff back in the Fox Box. Then it was on to kayaking. There are alot of caves along the coast of Santa Cruz and we were told that we had perfect conditions for kayaking. I didn’t get many pictures but here’s Quinn and I going through one of the caves.

Don exiting a cave.

Amy C. got this picture, with Quinn and I on the right. You can see the kelp forrest below the very clear water.

One of the highlights of the day was seeing a Bald Eagle. Our kayaking guide noticed that hundreds of seagulls were flying and squawking very loudly which suggested a Bald Eagle was nearby. Sure enough a Bald Eagle came swooping in and plucked a baby seagull out of a nest. It was a pretty incredible sight.

After kayaking we had to make a quick change back to dry clothes, gathered our stuff, and busted a move for the 4:30 pm ferry. We were all pretty bushed after a long, full day of adventure.

One last sight on our way home. What a day!

It’s Party Time

Now that our family and most of our friends have been vaccinated, we can get together unmasked and have fun! Of course my friend Amy was the first to kick it off with a belated birthday party at her house.

I offered to bring a charcuterie board. Trader Joe’s is the place to go to get everything you need for a charcuterie board — there are even a bunch of websites that will show you how to put it together. I use a huge teak platter that I got from my mother.

These aren’t the best of images because it was dark but it was so good to see and hug our friends. It was a pretty great evening!


Quinn and I spent 5 days in Mendocino last week. It’s about an 8-9 hour drive from our house. Once you get off the main highway and start making your way to the coast you pass through this majestic redwood forest. I have to stop, take a picture, and smell the forest-y smells.

Quinn slept a good 4 hours on the way there.

We were staying in the cute little village of Mendocino. We were meeting Quinn’s friend Elias and his family and booked a place within walking distance of their rental.

I got Quinn settled in the room and went for a walk.

We were within easy walking distance of the Mendocino Headlands which is a path on the cliffs above the ocean.

This guy was pretty loud!

On Tuesday we went to the Botanical Gardens . These two teens don’t love their photos taken.

There were miles of paths within the gardens and it was so very lovely.

There was a beautiful dahlia garden. My father grew lots of dahlias in his garden so I have a special affinity towards dahlias.

The path leads to the ocean. It might have been a little windy, but quite beautiful!

Later that day, Davi and I went down to Big River which is a spot where the river meets the ocean.

Davi getting the shot upriver.

The beach at Big River as the sun was going down.

This is the view from our friends rental house with a rising moon.

We only had one sunset during our trip. The clouds or fog rolled in the other evening. So it was nice to catch this sunset.

On Wednesday we visited Mackerricher Park. There is a boardwalk along the ocean and some really vibrant tide pools.

We saw lots of crabs, hermit crabs, snails, and this starfish.

This guy was having a load of fun!

Steve taking a picture of the boys. What a beautiful spot!

That evening I went to catch the sunset but the clouds had rolled in. Still just breathtaking.

We stayed in the “Barn Room” of an old hotel. It was a great sized room. But this door really bothered Quinn and it kept him awake at night. He wasn’t sure where this door led and who might come through it.

Another view of the room from the bed. The big barn doors in the left are the entrance to the room.

On Thursday, Quinn and I walked along the Fern Canyon Trail and it was so green and lush. It was a nice flat trail that ran along a little river. Southern California is so dry, hot and brown right now so this was so inviting for us. We loved this trail.

Thursday afternoon we met up with Elias and family at Jughandle Beach. These boys are two peas in a pod.

Hanging out with Steve on the beach.

Steve brought a football to throw around with the boys. But of course they couldn’t throw it around in a normal way. They used a bucket and a shovel.

And that’s a wrap! We enjoyed spending the week with our friends in such a low-key place where the temperature was cool and the skies were cloudy. Quinn told me that he really liked Mendocino.

Father’s Day…Through the Years

Fathering sure has changed since the times of matching madras shorts at the Greenlake Wading Pool but Don continues to be the supporting arms that are always there for Quinn and our family.

(If you click on the first image, it will take you through the gallery of images.)

Summer Time

Quinn and his closest friends have all been vaccinated. It’s nice not to mask. This is how they like to hang out.

Things are getting back to normal. Maskless class inside on this 100 degree hot day.

This was so welcoming during the heatwave.

Quinn wanted to see who was faster. Quinn won.

Mae enjoyed the afternoon with us.

Drying off in the sun. Best buddies.

Last Day of 7th Grade

An epic 7th grade school year is in the books. Quinn was 100% virtual with 2 classes per day from 9 am – 11:30 am. I don’t know how they covered a years worth of curriculum but they made the most of it.

And Quinn had a great academic year with mostly A’s and a couple of B’s. And that’s with 3 honors classes: english, social studies, and math. Next year he will add honors science to his schedule.

Here’s what the first day of school looked like. We got Quinn a ChromeBook that he used for school only and that worked out really well.

Did I ever post this picture of him learning virtually?

Last day of PE doing push ups. He was so D.O.N.E.

Obligatory last day of school pics. Jumping for joy.

His luscious glory, as Don likes to call his hair.

Class of 2026! Um, it almost fits him in the 7th grade. Should be interesting in the 12th grade.

Just a reminder of years past.

The kid doesn’t really ask for much but we usually get him something at the end of the school year. This year we got him a Gamer’s Laptop. He was so surprised and happy and his gaming friends were so excited for him.

And that’s a wrap on the 7th Grade!

Cousin Susan’s Wedding

I took a solo trip to Northern California to attend my cousin Susan’s Wedding. It’s about a 7 hour drive and I got to Chico Thursday evening, just in time to have dinner with Susan and Vaughn and a bunch of her friends. When I returned to the hotel that evening around 10 pm the temperature was 95 degrees. Wow!

Friday I enjoyed the afternoon floating in her pool in her backyard oasis. They recently did a major facelift on the backyard and pool area and have nicknamed their casa Rancho Relaxo. Ross and Tamara arrived Friday afternoon. That evening Sue hosted a Taco and Margarita party. Pam flew in to Sacramento that evening so I had to cut the night short and pick up Pam.

Saturday was wedding day! It was a flip flop casual wedding in their backyard.

Pam, Ross, and Amy. Our first time together in a couple of years.

Susan was escorted by her two granddaughters, Gracie and Carlee.

Sue and Vaughn. I’ve never seen Sue so smitten and happy. Vaughn is such a great guy and they have so much in common, yet they are quite opposite. I expect them to have many happy years together.

A view of the party from the fancy air conditioned port-o-potties. The van is a Sprinter van that Vaughn has converted into a mini RV. They live on about 4 acres so a handful of their guests arrived and stayed in their RV’s.

Amy, Susan, Pam, Ross.

Sue has two first cousins named Amy, one from her father’s side and one from her mother’s side (me). She just recently connected with the other cousin Amy after not knowing her for most of her life. The other Amy was super interesting and we had an instant friendship. As I type this a week after the wedding, the other Amy is still at Sue’s house helping her jar the produce from her garden.

It was so lovely as the sun was setting. It was also really warm and some feet in the pool were necessary.

Holly, Amy, Holly, Amy. We couldn’t resist. Susan’s friends were having the time of their lives. So much fun.

They literally took the plunge!

The party ended up in the pool! What a fun weekend and so happy I got to spend it with Sue, Pam, Ross, and Tamara.

Long Weekend

Quinn had a 4 day weekend which was very welcome. Only 9 more school days left. The countdown begins.

I got a new camera lens and was testing it on our happy boy.

On Saturday we had a pool party with Barbara. We heat the pool to 90 degrees so you can float for hours without getting cold.

I always feel like it’s summer when the Red Kirby Skimmers return and I saw him for the first time this weekend. He likes to sit on the tip of one of the palm trees so he’s easy to photograph.

Quinn had a friend over on Sunday and they were in the pool for 3 – 4 hours. It was nice to have a friend over and get screen free time.

Quinn spent a bit of the weekend in his swing.

He also rediscovered his Virtual Reality headset and spent quite a bit of time playing on the VR. Don helping him unscrew a lightbulb.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we got an indoor cycle for exercise without leaving the house. We use the Peloton app on our ipads for at home classes. I really enjoyed riding this past year and proved to myself that I ride enough to justify the real-deal Peloton.

So here’s the new bike. We were able to sell the old one pretty quickly. And I added some artwork from Mixtiles. I picked some of our favorite pictures from St. John and Mo’orea.

I love the way it turned out. Some of my favorite places and memories.

Science Award

Quinn earned a special award in Science for his outstanding performance. His science teacher this year is pretty amazing. She communicates so well with the kids and parents and Quinn loves her class. They are currently learning about genetics.

The school created a slideshow with all the award recipients.

The school had a drive through with the Principal to pick up the certificate but I wasn’t able to get a picture. Instead I will give you a picture of Quinn annoyed with me for taking his picture during class. So embarrassing.

May Around Here

We had a Turkey Vulture visit our neighbor’s fence. I took the first picture with my cell phone and you can get a sense of its size. Then I pulled out my zoom lens for the 2nd picture. What a face!

We repainted Quinn’s bathroom and I thought it was time to pull down the “Playroom Rules” sign. I saw these on-line and thought they would be bright and whimsical in the bathroom. They are postcards that I put in Target frames.

My friend Amy and I were ready to get our families out of the house so we planned a hike at our local Sapwi park. It also houses a disc (Frisbee) golf course. Don and Quinn putted around while we waited for our friends.

We only went about 1.5 miles but based on the complaining you would have thought it was 10 miles. They were so borrrrrrrred.

We had dinner at a local brewery so the kids could chat and spend time together. Ha! Regardless a nice afternoon/evening out with friends.