After my jaunt in San Francisco, I made my way south to the Monterey Bay/Santa Cruz area where my friend June lives. She's working on her Master's degree in marine science - it's a nice change to hang out with a scientist who is also on my level creatively. Someday we're going to collaborate on something amazing. But for now, it's always really fun to hike and drive around with her. I'm truly grateful for my friends who accommodate my sketching addiction.
We decided to spend a day hiking in the redwoods just a 10 minute drive away from where June lives: The Forest of Nisene Marks. The land was bought from a lumber company by the Marks family in hopes of finding oil. Turns out there was no oil to be found, so they donated it to the state in the name of their nature loving matriarch, Nisene. Good job guys! We walked for 5 hours in there & were constantly confused about where we were on the map & had to turn back before we reached the waterfall, but it was really nice anyway.
After the long hike I was craving a beer, so we went out to one of the local breweries. As soon as I started sketching, a bartender notified us it was last call, so I gave up on doing a "good" drawing and just had fun drawing people in the large party across from us. Couldn't figure out what they were celebrating though. Overheard one guy, apparently working in real estate, talking about one property's interesting amenity...
My final full day in California had a rainy forecast, so we took it easy and spent our time in the small town where June's marine lab is located: Moss Landing, pop. ~750. It's a strange little oceanside town surrounded by produce fields - you’ve definitely eaten food grown here in the fertile Salinas Valley. Formerly a fishing village, now more and more a tourist destination, visited for attractions like good waves, kayaking, and whale watching, though it's pretty sleepy in the wintertime. This is a view from between the town and the sea, looking over windswept bushes.
This bright blue façade closer to the center of town caught my eye. Once a post office, then an antiques shop, now just a boarded up building. Some things here still haven't really recovered from the massive 6.9 Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, not sure if that's the reason it's closed or if it's just someone waiting for a buyer (I'll take the cute little attached house please).
On my last morning, I killed a couple hours in Santa Cruz, waiting for the San Jose airport-bound bus. The Mission-style architecture in the downtown area is really charming. It was pouring rain but I was really happy with the views from this cafe, Verve Coffee Roasters — the sketch at the top of this post is also from here. The red tile roofs remind me to be excited about going to Europe in a few months.