There is a rather large gap in our travels, unfortunately due to Anne's emergency surgery September 29th of 2009 but who is counting? Three lovely weeks in the hospital, another nine months recovery at home before the event ceased to be a prominent factor in our lives. To celebrate, we bought a new truck and headed for San Francisco. We stopped in San Jose on the way back, as silver tongued, adorable Bryan Yoshida sweet talked "Sharry Anne" into singing her parts for a new recording of some songs Old Forest did way back when. That is how we find ourselves on the road again a few weeks later, this time we are headed down Memory Lane.

Paul Mooney, one of the many members of the San Jose garage bands of the seventies now lives and gardens in the surrounding Los Gatos mountains. The years we spent hitch hiking over or exploring those hills and shady forest roads? Oh my. Well, Paul is blessed to now live deep within them, and I do mean deep. Eighteen odd years ago he created the first Longstock on the property named Longridge, and has been annually gathering his old music buddies ever since. An incredible feat, so much work, and he does it year after year. He and his wife Susan have the blessings and sincerest thanks from so many for getting us all back together,

We started off a bit late, having developed the lazy habit of sleeping in since David retired last June. Set the new house alarm, gulp, breakfast, gas up (39 gallons, ye gods and little fishes) water, snacks and we head out over the wildlife waterlands. The GPS served us well with the address once we left infamous Highway 17 on Summit Road (memories flood in starting here), and the little white Longstock signs direct us easily. Paul's instructions include, "when you get lost call XXXX." The sounds of a band playing warms me to the heart as we wander down the shaded, redwood tree and car lined mountain road to the house and a small, cozy version of Woodstock is lazily blossoming on a large lawn next to a log cabin style house surrounded by lush, woodsy gardens. I rarely feel envy, but I sighed a lot just then.

The Webber Brothers are playing (flashback, flashback), there is Jim and Taru looking incredibly content, and Bryan with that grin. There is Tom, Robbie, Kim, unmistakable even after all these years. Paul, and Steve Haruta. Steve Haruta?? Oh my. I catch the very end of Steve playing with Max and Kathy, spot John and Kathy on the lawn, learn I missed hearing Macajo, but I spy my beloved lion and we catch up for a few minutes after, during and before more hugs. Ah, life is good. Very surreal to be here, I would not have missed it for the world.

Off to Capitola to check in the the Capitola Inn, dinner debates that end in Sanderlings at the Seascape Resort in Aptos. Cough. We discovered the pretentious level outside real value where prices become frivolous, and we aren't comfortable there.  Besides being difficult to find if you are not aware it is actually within the resort lobby, it was borderline absurd. Great salt tank aquarium though. The maitre de asked our last name, input it into his computer, then asked for our first names, input those, asked if it was a special occasion, then said, "He probably does not want to share his phone number?" I laughed, my expression must have said, "Damn good guess" and David said, "No, we just want to eat." We were seated promptly after that, and the meal was definitely a disappointment. You would think that the higher end establishments with higher pricing means higher meal quality and service. Silly me.

A restless night, we miss our bed. The shower is good, coffee, hair dryer, frig, microwave, location, parking, room size and huge bathroom, long roomy bathroom counter, hefty lush towels, all good, all wonderful. The horrible bed (I swear we slept on an old sagging box spring that made noise all night) and the distance between the bed and the tv (want me to grab the binoculars from the truck, babe?) sadly ruined our returning. But, they do allow pets.

There is a reason Hoffman's Bistro in downtown Santa Cruz constantly has a waiting line, we think it is because it is better than the surrounding establishments, despite the very long wait to be spoken to or served anything to drink. We even managed to buy a few cookbooks across the street while waiting to be seated. Finally a girl approached to say, "I guess I am your server." David wanted to reply, "I guess we are your customers" but he held his tongue. The food was good, a bit bland, but the meal is satisfying and we return to Logos Books and Records to buy more used cookbooks. We relieve the Om Gallery of a great guru style shirt and a stunning silver tree of life necklace. The lotus flower lights are gorgeous, but I cannot for the life of me think of one place I could fit one. Bummer. A short wander around down town and we head to Peet's for tea and head home.

Oh wait, we have to stop at the nursery in Watsonville, Sierra Azul. Oh dear. The sculptures are incredible, phenomenal. I want the four foot dragonfly but David scowls at the thirteen hundred dollar price tag. Hummers sit and talk to you, pose and drink from the largest collection of salvias, penstemons and nectared flowers I have ever seen. The suitcases are tossed in the back of the truck while the cab is filled with plants, including a contorted filbert, helleborus, heliotrope, penstemons, mallow, lamium, cestrum, even a pineapple sage.

We watched as the odometer turned 1000 miles on Turner Island Road on the way home.

Longstock 2010 Pictures

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