Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Travels ~ Fort Hunter-Liggett and Beyond ~ Day 4

For the last day of our little "vacation" we decided to head towards the Santa Cruz area before heading for home. We first wanted to stop in Aptos and visit Seacliff State Beach and the concrete ship. Back when I was a kid, my father's Dad (my Grandad) had built a house on the southern edge of the beach at Seacliff. His was the last house on the street than runs along the creek towards the ocean. We have a lot of fond memories of visiting there. Walking along the beach with Grandad early in the mornings was a lot of fun. Grandad had a walking stick kind of thing that he drug through the sand to unearth things that people had forgotten or lost the day before. Plus there were the nifty things that would wash up with the tide to pick up and examine. Grandma and Grandad always had a big box full of things that he had picked up. Flip-flops, frisbies, flat beach balls that just had to be blown up again to play with. Grandma had a huge stack of beach towels from those walks along the beach, too. She used them as fillers in the hand made quilts she made for all the grandkids. I still have mine tucked away in my cedar chest. Fishing from the cement ship was a lot of fun too.

Concrete Ship and pier at Seacliff State Beach at Aptos. The concrete ship's name is the Palo Alto and was originally built in 1917 for use as a tanker in the war effort in World War 1. But the war ended before the ship was finished and she sat docked in Oakland until 1929 when the Seacliff Amusement Company bought her. She made her maiden voyage under tow to where she now rests. The company that bought her intended make her into an amusement and fishing ship. They positioned her, then opened the seacocks and she settled to the bottom. After months of construction, the pier was finished, the ship was revamped and they were open for business in the summer of 1930. The brochures I have from the State Park visitor's center says that the ship had a ballroom on the main deck, a restaurant in the superstructure and a series of carnival type concessions on the afterdeck.

By the time our family visited there in the 50's, all the "extras" were gone except for the pier. It was still a very popular place to visit. Where else could you walk out a pier and fish off the deck of a huge ship? My brothers and I would fish in the hold of the ship while my Dad and Grandad would fish off the side or in the hold. And yes, we caught fish.

In the 80's there was a really bad storm and it damaged the ship, destroyed the pier leading out to the ship, destroyed some of the park buildings up next to the cliff and washed away much of the sand on the beach. The storm was bad enough that it actually broke the ship! Then another storm, this time in the 90's, I think, did even more damage to the ship. The pier ends with a tall fence where the ship begins now.

Another view of the ship and pier from the Aptos side of the bridge over a creek that goes out to the ocean. I'm not sure what the name of the creek is, but looking at Google Earth it might be Trout Creek. By the way, they say that fishing is still pretty good from the pier..

Here are some stats on the ship:
  • Cost__________$1,500.00
  • Material_______Reinforced Concrete
  • Weight________7,500 tons / 6,380 stripped
  • Length________435 feet
  • Width_________54 feet
  • Draft__________30 feet
  • Engine_________2,800 horsepower
  • Propeller_______15 ft 9 in. diameter
  • Rudder________15 tons
  • Mast__________2 (each 76 feet)
  • Anchor Chain____39 tons
  • Capacity_______about 10,000 tons
  • Woodwork______white ash

My Mom and I wandered up the street that Grandad and Grandma used to live on trying to spot the house he built. The houses have multiplied and have been remodeled so many times, there is no sight of the rock house. But, we found one house that looked "right" on one side and it was still the last house on the street. The position of the door and windows on the side reminded us of how the house used to be. The back door went out of the kitchen into Grandad's garden. A window in the kitchen and a window in the bedroom at the back. Could this one be Grandad's house?

There is a house in what used to be the garden, a fireplace has been added and the garage has been replaced by a 2 story addition, but that back door and the windows on that one side sure look *right*. The house is unoccupied (or at least it was the day we were there.) so I went up and peeked in the front window. The doorway into the bathroom and bedrooms was in the right place! I really think this just might be the house Grandad built with a whole lot added on.

Another view of the house we think is the one my Grandad built.

Here's a view of the street next to the creek. Grandad's house is the last house on the street before you get to the beach.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention what the TomTom GPS unit did to us. Before we left Fort Hunter Liggett, we programmed it to take us to Aptos. We followed the directions it gave us, turn for turn. And ended up out in the countryside! When it said we had reached our destination, we were right in front of a driveway into a ranch! lol.. We reprogrammed it to go to Seacliff at that point, and then we got where we wanted to be. Like I said in an earlier post. TomTom is great, but it helps it a lot to give it an address, not just program it to go to a "city center". We still can't figure out why it thought that driveway was the "city center" for Aptos!

After leaving Seacliff, we headed into Santa Cruz. We drove around a bit, looking at things from the car, but my Stepdad decided at that point that he'd had enough and it was time for us to head back towards home. We wanted to get back closer to home before the rush hour hit on the highways around the Bay Area. It being a Friday, there was plenty of traffic anyway but we did manage to miss the worst of it. So, that is the end of the tale of our travels this time... Hope you've enjoyed the pictures!


newbiee said...

do you have an email I can email you something? i got banned from insession for no reason!


Anakerie said...

Banned?? Wow! Strange.. I noticed that one of my posts from yesterday had been "edited"... Part of that stupid thing from gerald1 about "taco art"... You're welcome to use the email I have associated with the blog here... anakerie@gmail.com

newbiee said...

ok, just sent it to you. it may end up in your spam. it'll be from galag104

Anakerie said...

Got it! I answered you too... It took me a bit because I had to go outside to move a sprinkler.. hehe..