The park was rather anticlimactic. There wasn't much of a trail; I doubt the paths totaled more than a quarter mile when all put together. There was a wooden hut with a few sturdy displays that talked about the Ohlone way of life, and a petroglyph in the middle of the floor. At first I thought it was just a sample reproduction of what we should look for on the trail; I should have paid more attention because that little rock might have been the closest we got to an authentic Native American mark. Though we studied the surface of every boulder we saw, we never saw the petroglyphs the signs claimed were found at the site. I guess that means I'd make a rotten archaeologist in the field; I missed whatever cues were out there.
As we neared the creek, the strong scent of pot wafted in the air and we saw a po' white teenager scurry behind the bushes to hide from us. I grant you, there's not much to do in Gilroy, but what a lame way to spend an otherwise glorious day.
Still, everything there was to see at the site was taken in before an hour passed, so we got back in the car and decided to drive over to Gizdich Ranch. It's not that far if you're already in Gilroy, and they bake the best pies I've ever tasted. Even though it was a weekday, there were a lot of people at the ranch waiting to order pies. Stranger, the sign Gizdich normally hangs advertising the available flavors was missing, so every time someone walked up to the window the conversation started with the employees rattling off a long list of pie fillings.
Seanie and I ordered a berry pie to go. It was still warm in the box; I could feel the heat radiating through the cardboard. It made my mouth water just holding it. If we were fiscally responsible, that would have been all, but after waiting in line for long and seeing plate after plate of tasty-looking things walk by, we couldn't leave without picking up a strawberry tart for me and a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie for him. Everything was so good! After we ate, we poked around in the gift shop. There were some ancient vintage Disney puzzles for The Black Cauldron and Snow White and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I was tempted to buy them for reselling to collectors, but when Seanie looked online he thought the payoff wouldn't be worth the hassle. So we left the puzzles to continue gathering dust, as they've no doubt been doing since the 1980s.
It was barely past lunchtime, so Seanie went over the mountains to Santa Cruz. I had mentioned that I could't remember the last time I'd visited the Boardwalk, so we decided to visit the historic carousel and other old-timey attractions. We got lucky and found free parking quite close to the beach, so it was a quick walk through a couple of side streets to the wooden boards of the Boardwalk. Of course, once we arrived and I saw the ticket prices I balked. The rides started around $3 per person, with nearly all of the adult rides costing $4 or $5. It seemed a waste of money to spend $10 just so Seanie and I could ride in a box suspended from a cable, no matter how nostalgic we might be for Disneyland's defunct Skyway attraction. The haunted house couldn't tempt us at those prices, nor could the classic wooden roller coaster The Big Dipper. Too cheap to shell out, we just walked up and down the Boardwalk, looking at the fading signs and mentally comparing everything to their Disneyland counterpart.
The wisdom of Disneyland's management was proven: I'd much rather pay one lump sum and go on rides without thinking than be dollared to death every time I want to try something.
It was a wise thing that we had filled up at Gizdich. Although there were many tempting snacks - Dippin' Dots ice cream, deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos, fancy-cut crispy potatoes on a stick, and many other delicious gobs of fat - we managed to make it through without buying anything.
Knowing that beach traffic returning north to San Jose would be nasty in early evening, and knowing that we had a board game party to attend back home, we left Santa Cruz around 4:30 and made it home with little time lost.
The board game night was at my parents' house, hosted by my brother and Donna. There was Chinese food to eat (hip hip hooray!) and then we played a card game called Geek Out. Geek Out is fun - basically, you're assigned a topic and you have to list as many examples as the card demands: "Three Science Fiction movies with aliens" or "Five Songs with the word 'friend' in the title". If you think you can do it, the person next to you is given the option to do one more - so can they name Four Science Fiction movies with aliens? Next person? Five movies. On and on it goes until no one is willing to up the ante. The last person must then successfully name as many items as he claimed he could, or he loses points. My brother and I got really competitive and ended up battling each other for the win, eventually tying for equal nerdiness.
Most of the evening was devoted to a very complicated game called Mice and Mystics, in which your stereotypical fantasy castle residents (knight, mage, thief, etc) are transformed into mice and forced to survive battles with cockroaches, rats, and other foul fiends. It's a dice-rolling game, with some narration and a gamemaster. It's pretty darn complicated, actually. It took a long time just to get through the "first chapter" of a who-knows-how-long story. But it's fun!
Sadly, the long day wore Seanie out so after the first chapter was finished we headed home to zonk out and doze on the couch.