Gas station without pumps

2021 December 23

Secret Walks: Metro Center-Ocean View

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 12:26
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On Saturday 11 December, my wife and I  walked the Metro Center-Ocean View walk from Secret Walks & Staircases in Santa Cruz, by Debbie Bulger and Richard Stover. The walk is 3.7 miles, but we added 2.4 miles getting to and from the official walk, plus 0.1 mile for a side trip to the Buttery, for a total of 6.2 miles.


The gingko leaves seem to have a more synchronized fall than many of the trees here, covering the pavement with a colorful carpet.


The water level in the river was extremely low—a very stark contrast to a few days later, when water rose to flood the homeless encampment visible in the background. (Allowing the homeless encampment between the levees during rainy season never made any sense.)


The mallards enjoy the duck pond in San Lorenzo Park.


Cork oaks are not native to California, but they seem to do well here, and they have beautiful bark.


The mural on the Starbucks is new (but the whole building here is fairly new).


The mosaic on the Chase bank building is pointed out in the book, but it seems rather awkwardly composed to me.


The stained glass inside the bank is a little more interesting.


I was rather amused by this sign that seems to have replaced “CHILDREN AT PLAY” with “LIMITED SIGHT”. I guess they figured that car drivers no longer care if they run over children.


This flowering shrub (probably some species of leucadendron) makes a colorful splash.


This Little Free Library (on Branciforte Ave, if I remember right) was the first of three we saw.


Another fairly recent mural on Soquel.


Branciforte Plaza is now office, retail, and restaurant space, but it was originally built as a hospital. I’ve never been inside it.


The second Little Free Library is unusually placed on a driveway off of Ocean View.


This photo shows only a tiny portion of the model railroad on Ocean View, which fills the front yard (and presumably the back yard) of the house.


The third Little Free Library is by Ocean View Park, where we stopped to eat pastries from the Buttery. The bear claw was a little disappointing, but the marionberry puff was quite good. While in the park, I had to try out the long slides, which I remembered from 20 years ago. They have put ripples in the slide so that they are now quite slow—not the way I remember them.


We’d never previously visited the little park called Riverside Gardens. We did not see anyone else there either, despite the fine weather, so I guess it is not a very popular park. (The skate park about a block away was very busy, though.)


I did like this bicycle parking sculpture in Riverside Gardens, though it is not obviously a bike parking rack and needed a sign to let people know!


I’ve often seen these mosaic-covered stairs (the Barson Street stairs) from the top , but this is the first time I’ve walked up them.


We stopped downtown for a slice of pizza and visiting Bookshop Santa Cruz, so the sun was setting as we walked home.

I tried taking a number of pictures of birds on this walk, but none of them came out well.  I really have to get a new camera soon, as the cell phone doesn’t really do the job (despite being easy to carry).

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