Santa Cruz, CA to Capitola, CA

12.7 mi / 8.7 mph / 620 ft. climbing
Home: New Brighton State Beach hiker/biker campsite

An almost zero-mile day gave us plenty of time to stay in our motel until checkout. Rett used the time to make a series of phone calls, attempting to straighten out a Target order she’d had sent to a US Post Office via General Delivery, but had been shipped by non-USPS companies, leaving her stuff in limbo.

One reason we were doing an almost zero-mile day was because I had an order (for my lost pannier rain cover) waiting at the Moss Landing Post Office, 20 miles down the road, but not available until Monday (two days later), when the office re-opened. I had originally settled on sending it to Davenport, whose post office I was standing right in front of when we stopped for snacks yesterday (Friday), which, with hindsight, would have worked perfectly. But instead, at the last moment, I had decided to send it further down the road, to reduce the risk of us arriving before the package. Instead, the package arrived before us, but then our timing had us arriving at the post office on the wrong day. Argh.

In short, while we thought this General Delivery thing would be a good way to get hard-to-find items, the stress and difficulty of guessing the time, place, and shipping method, of both the package, and of us, has made it way more difficult in practice than it seemed in theory.

I know this is super-boring stuff for anyone else to read about, but I just want to keep a record that shows that not everything in this new life of ours is grand vistas and epic rides. There is still a fair amount of normal-world drudgery and logistics that fills our hours. At least Rett eventually got everything straightened with her order (sent back and refunded), and for the second time, talked to a customer service person at a shipping company who was unusually interested and chatty about our life.

Replicating a photo replicating Michael Jackson.

When we were up north in the Humboldt County redwoods, we loved our visit to “Confusion Hill”, but noted many reviews complained it was a ripoff of “The Mystery Spot” in Santa Cruz. So of course we had to check out The Mystery Spot to compare!

Confusion Hill definitely is a ripoff of the Mystery Spot, though Confusion Hill’s 1940s creator was very up-front about that fact and makes no attempt to hide it. The angles seemed slightly steeper at the Mystery Spot, and some of the features (like the table you could stand on) were better there, but overall we preferred Confusion Hill, mainly for the human reasons: for our $5 at CH, we essentially had the place to explore all to ourselves, whereas at TMS, our $8 Internet purchase gave us a timeslot for a guided tour, with a crowd of other (not very excited) people. Blah. It was still worth the visit though, and gave us the same woozy perception-bending feelings that we’d experienced for the first time at Confusion Hill.


On our way back down the hill into Santa Cruz, we had a lengthy roadside chat with a guy who worked for Specialized (maker of my bike), and had previously worked for Keen (maker of Rett’s main pair of footwear, and formerly mine too), who seemed genuinely interested in our feedback about those products. We also might have gotten him interested in being a WarmShowers host.

Lunch was at Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, where we got some really pricey (but excellent) sandwiches to go with our equally excellent selection of saisons and sours, of which the peanut-scented, buckwheat malted saison was my favorite.

Then after groceries, and a too-quick pass through the cute-as-a-tourist’s-button harborside hamlet of Capitola, we reached our campground for the night, surprisingly late for a place six miles from our motel.

My bike, the sunset, and a surprisingly useful tree-stump table.

The next surprise was that they only allowed one-night stays at their hiker/biker site (wait, check that, their “biker” site. They have literally erased the “hiker” part from their signs, and created the strictest set of rules we’ve seen at a “hiker/biker” campground). We’d hoped to stay for two nights, to go slow enough to get my package, and to enjoy the park/beach.

First time we’ve ever gotten a rules list along with our hiker/biker registration. I didn’t even notice the 9am checkout time until 8:30am the next morning, with zero chance of being gone by 9am. But what are they going to do, make us pay for another night we aren’t allowed to stay for anyway?

While frustrating, I at least understood the reason: as a park that’s essentially inside an urban area, particularly an urban area with a large homeless population, they must be inundated with non-travelers abusing the system (whose intention is to make camping possible for non-motorized long-distance travelers, who can’t just move on to the next place if the campground is full). So they just outlawed “hikers” completely, and then, once a local “hiker” realized all he needed to do is bring a junker bike with him, they needed to add additional rules, continuing in an escalating war.

It would have been a nice place to stay for a couple nights too, with a near-ocean view from our tent, and an excellent clear-sky sunset.

Stock Photo Family unknowingly posing for me.
Red to black.
Sun sat.



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One response to “Santa Cruz, CA to Capitola, CA”

  1. Swati Saxena Avatar
    Swati Saxena

    Beautiful sunset pictures – without clouds blocking the view. Gorgeous!

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