Today started off with the always-longer-than-I-remember drive to Santa Cruz.
We had planned to be on the beach at noon. We got there at 2:00. Blah blah it's hot blah blah we made stops for sandwiches and gas blah blah traffic blah blah.
I love Santa Cruz. The rides. The beach. The boardwalk. The cooler breeze. The corn on the cob and funnel cakes. Truly, once you're there, wants not to love about Santa Cruz?
We planned to meet my uncle and his family and well as my friend Michelle and her fiance Marc there on the beach. Do you know how hard it is to coordinate a group of 17? I don't particularly recommend it. But once we found a couple of tables and created a "base" it made for a really enjoyable day.
For those who know me it should come as no surprise at all that I insisted that first ride be "the Giant Dipper". Here we are (minus the non-wristband members of our group) in in-line for out first coaster for the day... the first coaster ever for Issa and Anissum. Note the mostly smiles met with some nervous skepticism.
This next photo is just after the ride was over. You'll notice my lack of sunglasses and the lack of Sabrina. Well... most of us made it through alive. The ride, as experienced by the two that have never been on a roller coaster before, was said to be "so cool" and "so scary, I almost fell out". One participant, Nicole, admitted she didn't open her eyes for a second of it.
So... okay... roller coasters are not for everyone. I get that. Kind of. What I don't get is how a person can walk out of lines half way to the front due to nerves and yet ride the skytram 23 million times. The skytram makes ME nervous. At least the first part does. When you are rising in those slippery non-restraining seats.
After that first ride it was just Rissa and Nick who went off just the two of them, while the the larger groups stayed together. They chose rides based on what my nieces (who have seasoned experience on the Boardwalk) enjoyed. After not too long though the roller-coaster apprehensive went off on their own and by the end of the night I think everyone had ridden at least one ride by themselves. Some prided themselves on riding most of the rides alone.
It was quite a different feeling than when we started out the first few days needed to huddle together in one specific area of swimming pools. But then again that is usually the case each time I have brought my LKSD students here. It's a lot to take in... much more than I can even imagine, despite having shared this experience three times now.
The fact is the Rural Alaska kids come to CA fearful of getting lost. But by the end of the vacation they are flat-out specifically try to get lost... just to experience the being able to find their way found again.
It was a bit of a chore getting everyone gathered up for lazar tag at 10:30pm but we did it. Our wristbands allowed for some free games and we were even able to talk my Uncle and Aunt into it. Sadly, my parents remain lazar tag virgins. We left the park around midnight. Pure satisfaction.