Palo Alto is a nearly perfect place in which to while away the summer days. But every once in a while you have to get away from the gourmet bistros and the omnipresent Wi-Fi and go in search of something upon which to rest the eyes.
So first we drove to Big Basin State Park, less than an hour away in the Santa Cruz Mountains, to crane our necks at some redwoods.
It brings back great memories of childhood trips out West in our family's little motorhome: campfires and s'mores with bats swooping overhead, mountain snow on the Fourth of July, the first time I really saw moonshadow.
This "cave" is the upturned roots a redwood that fell in 1983, barely missing the park's amphitheater. The hollow portion in the center goes back quite a bit, at least as far as a nine-year-old carrying a six-foot branch was willing to go without a flashlight.
Last weekend we drove down Highway 1 along the shoreline to Big Sur. It was cloudy and foggy for most of the way, but just as we were heading north for our temporary home, the sun broke through to illuminate this edge of the coast.
Julia Pfeifer Burns State Park, Calif.