Monday, July 7, 2014

Going for the Brass Ring in Santa Cruz

June 15-19, 2014
Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort
Felton, California

Last June we took a day trip to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk when we were staying at the Coyote RV Resort in Morgan Hills. The Boardwalk is over a hundred years old and was a big highlight in Vic’s youth in the 50s and early 60s when he lived an hour away in Santa Clara, California. We are not usually too fond of amusement parks, but we were quite impressed with the restorations and updates that they have done over the years to this park. We commented last year how much fun it would be to take our grandsons here so this summer we made our idea a reality.

Fitting all the stuff for three boys and my step-daughter, Mindy, into our already full motorhome was a bit of challenge but we made it work by piling most of their duffel bags, pillows, and extra bedding on our bed in the back. Mindy also brought along an extra air bed in case things got a little cramped with the three boys in the sofa bed and jack bed. The next challenge was digging out three seat beats that have hardly been used for the boys to be secure while going down the road on our rather long day of 380 miles.

Keeping three guys, age 5, 7, and 10 busy for eight hours in a vehicle is always a challenge. Of course nowadays even their car has a DVD player, but the ability to get snacks, go to the bathroom, and do other activities is a big plus when traveling in a motorhome (for kids and adults). We also tend to stop every couple hours at rest hours for opportunities to stretch our legs and let the dogs have a short romp. It turned out to be a very long day, but everyone hung in there and was excited when we finally checked in to our campground.

The plan was to camp nearby at the Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort in Felton, about ten miles away from the Boardwalk. Choosing a park was not easy as there are few in the area with decent reviews, but this one turned out to be perfect for a family camping experience with young children. The park is built into a redwood forest with plenty of activities for kids: tether ball, ping-pong, horseshoes, and lots of cool trees to climb inside.

We also liked that they had firepits and allowed fires because roasting hot dogs and making s’mores has always been part of our camping tradition with the kids.


Of course, the big attraction to coming here for the boys was going on rides and playing games at the Boardwalk. We bought four all-day wristbands (one for each of the grandsons and one for me!) at a nearby Costco for a 30% discount—score! Since we had three days to spend in the area, we decided for the first day to let the boys have fun playing in the campground, walk the Santa Cruz wharf in search of some good clam chowder—a big hit with all three kids, and then hang out at the beach in nearby Capitola. 

Of course, walking past cute little shops even brings temptations to boys who have money burning in their pockets to find the perfect souvenirs for the trip.

I love that they don’t think they are too “old” to spend time making sandcastles on the beach.

Day two was the Boardwalk day. I think this grandma was just as excited as the kids. I especially like roller coasters and most rides so it was a treat for me to go on the rides with the kids as Vic is happy to be an observer when it comes to most rides.

santa cruz boardwalk collage

Breakfasts at the campground and dinner on the grill were also a big highlight of our time together. I wanted my step-daughter Mindy to have a break from all the normal meal prep she has to do with these guys whose appetites are only going to get bigger. I don’t get many opportunities to cook for them, so I made the most of it by making some of their favorites: homemade pizza, burgers, pancakes.

Our last day in the area, we decided to head back to the Boardwalk for an opportunity to use the “free” attractions that came with our purchase of the wristbands. We were all able to play a rousing game of miniature golf at Buccaneer Bay, a two-story, 18-hole course inside Neptune’s Kingdom, an indoor entertainment center that is part of the Boardwalk. The boys and G-Pa also suited up for a game of laser tag in a 3500 sq. ft. arena complete with sound effects, obstacles, and fog machines. The boys finished their day at the Boardwalk with the rare treat of being allowed to play a few games in what is billed as one of the most high tech video arcades in the country. The good news is the boys were satisfied with just a few games and were anxious to get back to the park for their last campfire.

Day four was packing up and getting ready to roll down Highway 17 to our next destination, Coyote Valley RV Resort in Morgan Hill, a really nice RV park that we discovered last year, about an hours drive away. Our son-in-law, David, made life a lot easier for us by driving to Morgan Hill from Yorba Linda (6 hours) to pick up Mindy and the boys. David arrived about an hour after we got checked in and set up on our site. Since they were planning to drive back on the scenic 101 vs. I-5, it wasn’t long before we had to say our goodbyes with the comfort of knowing it will not be too long before we see them again as we are planning to stay on the West Coast this year.

We were both pretty exhausted after all the fun with three energetic boys, but we were anxious to see Vic’s sister, Sandy, and her new Portuguese Water Dog puppy named Seamus. After a couple hours of rest we headed north to Sunnyvale for a good visit and and dinner at BJs one of the popular brewhouses in the area. Our plan was to return to the Sunnyvale area the next day to visit Vic’s mom and his other sister, Mikey, before heading north to Oregon. I can’t help but say that after three weeks in California I am ready for greener landscapes and a slower pace.


  1. What a nice camping experience for the boys! Sounds like you all had a ball. I guess we won't see you in the Keys this winter?

  2. Looks like a fun time, but I do understand your need for a slower pace! Glad to see you are on your way to OR, greener pastures await you!

  3. Wow that is a lot of folks in your rig. Hats off to you! You've sure made some fine memories for those boys. That's a great picture of their family.

  4. Looks like you had a wonderful time with the grandsons and daughter. The grandsons are wearing the biggest grins. I bet your step-daughter was thrilled to be out of the kitchen and have her own entertainment committee. Sounds like grandma enjoyed having company to join her on the rides:) Glad your road trip was a success. While it was hard to say good bye, I am sure it was nice to get the space back. It doesn't sound like it is time to kick back yet but soon:)

  5. Nothing better than spending time with your grandkids. It sure is fun to see things through their eyes. We love to take our grands along every chance we get. :c)

  6. Lots of BIG smiles...sounds like your time with grandsons was a huge success for everyone!

    Safe travels to Oregon...

  7. Pam and Vic, how fun to get a glimpse into your life on the road - a courageous and exhilarating retirement adventure! We understand that feeling of freedom and making new friends in campground settings! Cindy and I LOVED our 20ft camping trailer [affectionately named Arvy] which we pulled around Oregon with our Honda Pilot for several years before moving to the East Coast. The easy access to the Oregon Coast, Cascade Mountains, Willamette Valley, and High Desert made living in Eugene and RV-ing a JOY! We LOVE Bend! Enjoy your new life there!


Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!