On Box-in day, we woke up in the Opal Cliff neighborhood of Santa Cruz, after riding here from San Jose yesterday. Our hosts have already left. We slept in a little later than we would usually. What do we do for breakfast? M tossed around the idea of going downtown to eat at Saturn Cafe, a vegetarian diner. I searched around for a vegetarian restaurant closer-by that also serves breakfast, and came across Dharmas Restaurant. It was approximately a mile from where we stayed. Most of the shops were closed for the day still. It was foggy and chilly, but not too frigid.
Dharmas is a trippy place (read about its history and tussle with McD's here), with paintings of different religious figures and a 80's type of decor. It's not a purely vegan restaurant, but most of the items can be requested to be made vegan. I ordered a vegan breakfast burrito, which has country-style potatoes, curry-stir-fried tofu, guacamole, salsa, and refried beans. M. ordered a pesto scrambled Tofu. Both dishes were exceptional, and the portion was good for hungry cyclists.
After breakfast we grabbed some reading and walked out to look for a nice spot on the beach. We walked east on Cliff Drive first all the way to the top of a small hill. From there we could see the Capitola Wharf. But there was no where to really sit. We walked westward toward the city and found a bench on a bluff at the end of a street not too far from where we stayed. M. took a short nap while I read some and watched the ocean for most. Occasionally she would open her eyes and one of those times she spotted some dolphins playing in the water not too far from shore. Below us on the beach lots of folks were out on this beautiful day, running, walking, playing with their dogs. By mid-afternoon we felt thoroughly chilled and soft. M said, "let's go see the sea lions".
In February we walked on the wharf and chanced upon a pack of sea lions lying on a deck. We grabbed out bikes and rode along the water toward the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. It was near sunset now and the view of the water was stunning. We made it to the wharf with plenty of sun light still, but not as many sea lions were on the deck. The ambiance near the wharf is wonderful and the sunset is gorgeous again (the sunset on Christmas Day was superb!).
Hard to believe that it's dinner time again, and since we had such a good breakfast we decided to go back to Dharmas again. This time we got the main meal as well as a vegan chocolate cake. We excused the indulgence by telling ourselves that we would be going on a 52-mile ride back to San Jose tomorrow hauling our stuff with us.
It was only 9PM when we got back and soon we felt asleep. It was a good day. (Below is the slideshow for all three days; part 3 of 3 will be the next post)