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Natural Bridge

I haven’t been to Santa Cruz for a long time. I briefly considered heading to the boardwalk to shoot some long exposures and think about how awesome the movie Lost Boys was…which was filmed there, and which I saw being filmed. Although, at the time it was filmed I thought it was going to be the worst movie ever. I was with my parents and asked one of the producers or director types, “Hey…what movie is this being filmed…what is it about?”

 

His answer; “Well…..it’s about this gang of motorcycle vampire teens…..and they’re after these kids….and chase them around a lot.”

 

I thought it sounded SO lame….that I never bothered to check into it anymore…then months later I found myself at a movie…and it hit me that THIS was the film I watched being made…and I laughed at what a lame PR guy the person I asked was.

 

Now back to your regularly scheduled story…

 

I was more hungry than excited for night photography…so I found the first place that looked open “The Santa Cruz Diner” parked, and went inside.

 

I really enjoy the times when I have no other people to consider in my dining choices. Normally I’m in a democracy situation with my family…and I lose quite often. When I’m out in the field, I pick the spot and for better or worse, it’s my culinary experience, and mine alone.

 

This spot was not great. I should’ve figured that when a place has neon signs saying things like ‘FISH,’ ‘STEAKS,’ and ‘PHO’ that maybe they’re branching out a bit too far with their menu offerings.

 

While I love Pho….and was really craving it…I opted not to order it. I figured, being this close to the ocean I should stick to the local offerings. I went with the clam chowder and the seafood variety plate.

 

This diner was typical…booths, bar, and some tables. There were numerous ‘witty’ signs hanging everywhere, which I assumed was their ‘Theme’ Somewhere funny…most weren’t. They also had little containers full of Trivial Pursuit cards on each table to help customers pass time while the freakishly short waiting staff dealt with your meal. The employees there were odd. I’m not trying to be mean…but it seemed like they were ALL short. Granted, I’m 6’5” so unless I’m at an NBA game most folks seem short to me…but this was, shorter than normal short….EVERYONE was about 5’ 6” and when 15 employees are all that height…it looks odd watching them work, like a pack of oompa loompas, which is why I stopped watching and played Trivial Pursuit by myself and drank a Bass Ale.

 

I thought I was really smart at the trivia until I realized I was looking at the junior edition cards. “Man, I AM SO SMART….oh wait.”

 

When I pulled out the Genus 6 cards, reality was cold and hit swiftly. I blamed it on the ale. “I’d KNOW this one if I could think clearly.”

 

My food was only average. The chowder was actually decent…I think I’d have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t watched my server pour some half and half into the pot before he made my bowl. I guess it’d been sitting there a bit.

 

The variety platter was only fair. Restaurants need to learn that while lettuce and stuff make for slightly nicer plate presentation, it sucks the crisp off a fish stick faster than Fat Albert…and makes the entire meal progressively more soggy the farther in you get. By the time I was near the end…I wasn’t enjoying the food much.

 

Time to sleep.

 

I briefly considered just sleeping in the parking lot of the diner…being as I was already there…and the bed was set up in back. I scrapped that idea and instead thought it would be way more fun to get lost in Santa Cruz…and drive the ghetto a bit. During one awesome moment I was at a stop sign playing the air drums in my geek mobile and a truck full of girls rolled up….made some inappropriate gestures, and I made out the word “Wiener” ( I couldn’t hear the rest of the comment because of my own rocking out…but their facial expressions didn’t lead me to believe they were referring to MY wiener in any positive ways…)

 

I shot them a thumbs up…because, I was too stunned to think of anything else….and because I hadn’t heard any of their taunting…and couldn’t properly respond. Although I briefly considered the always popular,

 

“OH YEAH….WELL YOU’RE DUMB!”

 

But the light changed and they were out of my life as quickly and rudely as they appeared. Oh well, I’m sure they were just jealous I was about to sleep in a Prius that gets outstanding gas mileage and they weren’t. Who’s a wiener NOW hoochies?

 

With a little more driving I found a road right next to Natural Bridges State Beach, parked, and got ready to sleep.

 

I’ll say this. I fit. I slept. I wish I hadn’t sliced my sleeping pad climbing down from Grizzly Falls…because my attempt at a fix didn’t work, and I was waking every hour to inflate it some more so I wasn’t being poked by parts of the car.

 

I do believe that if I had a better sleeping pad or more beer I would’ve slept beautifully.

 

When I woke in the morning there were some surfers climbing out of their van…they seemed perplexed when I jumped out of the Prius to get ready. ‘Kind of like watching clowns getting out of a car’ was what I felt like they were thinking. Only it was just one big awesome clown who gets 50mpg and had some dirty waders on.

 

Conditions weren’t awesome…but I knew that ahead of time…and planned on shooting the arch in monochrome anyway…which I think does a nice job…It was fun to play dodge the pelican poo while I shot. I didn’t shoot much longer before I took off en-route to the workshop…and in search of coffee.

 

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Taken on August 22, 2009