This road trip’s Southernmost point was Santa Cruz, California. It’s not a huge city, around 55,000 inhabitants, but is big enough to have everything and still be easily navigable. Houses are clapboard and pretty, and the area is obviously wealthy, though wears its poverty on its sleeve. Apparently, homeless people are a little more welcome here than other places, and the climate means that much of the time being outside isn’t totally bad for them, so they are obvious, as are poor and troubled folks.
The climate varies, and though it can be very hot in the middle of a July day, it cools right off in the evenings. The first day I was here was overcast and cool but, frankly, the variety is a relief after tropical countries.
There are a few state parks close by, running and cycling distance, and the beach boardwalk is scenic and historic. Which doesn’t make it particularly old by European standards, but it is still the place to be.
Just walking the streets is a pleasure. People are friendly if you’re feeling chatty, and plantlife looks to be encouraged by residents. The colours are offset by the colour of the sky, assuming a clear day.