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Tour of Watsonville, the Pajaro Valley and the Monterey Bay Area.

Welcome to 
California's Central Coast

Welcome to my tour of the Monterey Bay Area.... I think you'll find  a lot of useful and/or entertaining links. Most of the links leave the PajaroValley.com and/or rocknrod.com sites, but should open in a new browser window so you can always return to continue your tour. Hope you enjoy it... 
Dennis... aka 'Shutterbug' also known as the webmaster of 'Rock 'N Rod Nites' 'PajaroValley.Com' and the '911 Fire Police Medical Web'

You have arrived in Watsonville, California...

We are located on the Central California Coast on the beautiful Monterey Bay (now a National Marine Sanctuary) in Watsonville, Calif. which is located in the southern portion of Santa Cruz County. For our wine tasting tour friends, Santa Cruz County Wineries Map, yes, SCC is becoming quite a winery area as you will see.. Monterey County is also known for it's wineries as well, and a good place to start is on Cannery Row at A Taste of Monterey For area visitor information? The SCC Conference & Visitors Council offers a wealth of information for the visitor regarding all of Santa Cruz County. If you still need more area information, try Cruzio and if you would like even more, stop in at Infopoint your Santa Cruz County Info. source, and if that's not enough, try SantaCruz2000.com

Our tour actually starts in Santa Cruz to our north. 
You could use alternate transportation to arrive in Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District offers an extensive system of bus routes through out Santa Cruz County. The Monterey-Salinas Transit system, does the same thing in Monterey County. The nice thing is, the 2 Transit systems connect at the Watsonville Metro Center, so a trip around the bay really is possible. But we will whisk you to Santa Cruz by cyber express there by saving you time.

A quick note before we board for the tour...

Our tour today will be following Highway #1 around the Bay, we will briefly leave it for a few quick side trips, but will return to it to travel on....
Highway #1 (the Coast Route) (CalTrans Current Road conditions (enter a 1 in the search box on the site)), is a major highway all along the California Coast and offers some beautiful site seeing, but it is not for those who like to drive fast. It passes through Santa Cruz, past Capitola and Watsonville, around the bay through Moss Landing, past Marina, Sand City, Seaside into Monterey, Carmel, and on down to Big Sur and onward to Southern California.  

Your tour is now boarding in Santa Cruz, California...
Please sit back, get comfortable and enjoy your tour.
NMow Departing for a tour of the Monterey bay Area...  leaving immediately... 

The North Coast.......

Santa Cruz, California, 74 miles south of San Francisco on Hwy #1, is to the north around the bay. Grab a copy of the Santa Cruz County Sentinel for the latest news around area, They also have a site online called Your Town Monterey Bay, a community directory and calendar of events. You wonder about the educational opportunities that the Santa Cruz area has to offer, well for one it is home to the University of California, Santa Cruz Campus (Unfortunately the UCSC Slug Video treat that many have visited is no longer operational. Hopefully they will once again make the cameras operational. If they do we will add them back here.) So you want to go the beach? Well, use the Shoreline Surf Shop Santa Cruz Beach Finder Guide to locate one that fits your needs, but right now we are headed to the Santa Cruz City Beach. Here you will find a special treat, for it is home to the admission-free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park. There are 2 important rides at the Boardwalk that you need to learn about. First of all the historic Giant Dipper Wooden Roller Coaster built back in 1924. The other is the historic 1911 Looff Carousel, both of the rides were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987 by the U.S. Park Service, please take a few moments look at both of them still operating to this day. The next stop will give you a little of the How, What and Why that it takes to make the Boardwalk work, it's called: Under the Boardwalk. While were at the beach, that Wharf jutting out into the Bay is the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf, home of many fine seafood restaurants like Stagnaro Bros. Seafood Inc Restaurant which also has a Seafood market. This is also the place to start your Deep Sea fishing excursions. The SC Municipal Wharf is home to the Surf Cam which will give you a shot of Steamers Lane. The coast along the bay has a number of very popular surfing locations. Surfing goes back 100 years in Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum traces this history in a historic lighthouse. Add 1000 words to the tally, maybe a few extra words, as we visit the Surfline's Santa Cruz Live Video feed of Steamers Lane, the best Santa Cruz surfing spot, but its for advanced Surfers and they come from around the world to try it. Stop by Surfn' Santa Cruz for even more Surfing News and Info.. Note the Lighthouse in the pictures on Lighthouse Point, it is the Surfing Museum's home, the area is called: Lighthouse Field State Beach. 

We now get another 1000 words... Cruzio offers the Bus Cam, a shot of the Santa Cruz Metro Station across the street from their office. Visiting Santa Cruz would not be complete without a stop deep in the Redwood Forests where you will find things like  The Mystery Spot where very strange things happen. Traveling further into the redwoods, we enter the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and not far away we stumble on the Roaring Camp & Big Tress Narrow Gauge Railroad, America's last steam-powered passenger railroad with year-round passenger train service. Traveling even deeper into the Redwood forests we find Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California's oldest State Park, established in 1902. It is Home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco.

Returning now back along Hwy #1 southbound, a must stop is quaint Capitola Village (City), which is a small beach resort area. Yes, that is the Capitola Municipal Wharf you see, along with the beautiful Capitola City  Beach. As we leave Capitola, on your left, nestled in the foothills, you are looking at Cabrillo Community College, offering quite a list of academic programs. Quick, look out the right side, that's New Brighton State Beach and we are now approaching Seacliff State Beach which is home of the Cement Ship 'Palo Alto' that lies beached at the end of the pier, broken in 2, and as Paul Harvey likes to say "And now you know the rest of the story" if you visit the link..  We are also passing at the same time, by theCommunity of Aptos on the left side and Rio Del Mar on the right. The Aptos Chamber of Commerce represents Aptos since it is not yet an official city, but maybe coming in the near future. Aptos Village park is home of the Santa Cruz Blues Festival over Memorial Day weekend and the Fat Fry event sponsored by KPIG radio which you will learn about further on during the tour. Up ahead, that off ramp takes you to Manresa State Beach which is on the right. 

The Pajaro Valley...

As we travel further south, we move slightly inland from the beaches, and ahead of us lays the beautiful jewel on the Central California Coast called the Pajaro Valley, an agricultural rich area and home of  Watsonville. The Pajaro Valley is well represented by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. You can keep up to date buy reading or better still subscribing to the Register-Pajaronian, the news leader of the Pajaro Valley. If you enjoy Antique Aircraft, then fly into Watsonville Municipal Airport which is also home of the Watsonville Antique Airplane Fly-in held Memorial Day Weekend annually for the past 35 years. Watsonville has a Speedway as well for race car fans, Watsonville Speedway at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds just outside of town on Hwy #152 (enter 152 in the search box on the site)). Car fans will also enjoy the monthly Graffiti Nite car show here called Rock 'N Rod Nites which I am also a webmaster and a committee member of, held at Watsonville Square Shopping Center in Watsonville. The city has an excellent Public Library which is considering building a new facility since it has outgrown the existing structure. A relatively new organization, Action Pajaro Valley who's purpose is to facilitate an on-going collaborative process for planning and creating a positive future for
all residents of the Pajaro Valley. The performing arts in the Watsonville area is not forgotten, the state of the art Henry J. Mello Center For The Performing Arts facility is home to many productions these days. The Pajaro river is the Southern City Limits and also is the County line, where Monterey County begins. For additional Watsonville information, make Watsonville.Com  your guide to Watsonville. Check the current weather on the Watsonville City server. Several miles from town on Beach road sits Sunset and Palm State Beaches. To the left over there, that is the community called Pajaro Dunes. Condo Rentals are available for those inclined to stay at the beach, some of them are as follows: Best of Pajaro at Pajaro Dunes, Beach front vacation rentals on beautiful Monterey Bay.  Another is Pajaro Dunes on Monterey Bay, offerng vacation rentals, conference and seminar facilities and planning, and real estate sales in a unique setting on the shores of Monterey Bay. To the north of Watsonville a few miles, is a community where the redwood forests begin.
 Corralitos Online is the has information source for and about Corralitos. 

Leaving Watsonville, we travel continue south through Moss Landing, the harbors on each end of bridge to the right belong to the Moss landing Harbor District.  As you cross the bridge, looking to your left, you see the start of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve one of 24 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide. The first huge plant on the left after getting across the bridge, is what use to be the Pacific Gas & Electric Company Moss Landing Power Plant. (Visit Peter L. Belew's web site for photos of the power plant and many of the beaches and forests around the Monterey bay Area.) The California Public Utilies Commission  made PG&E divest of a number of plants, this was one, Duke Energy Corporation is now the new owner. The Moss Landing Chamber of Commerce does an excellent job of promoting the local area. Moss Landing is also home of the non-profit Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), which was established in 1987 by David Packard (1912-1996). The harbor is home to the MBARI and the Point Sur research vessels. Moss Landing is also home of the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) which are a marine research and teaching facilities which serve a consortium of seven California State Universities in Northern California. Moss Landing has a beach front community also called Monterey Dunes, 120 privately owned rentals.

On the inland side of the Elkhorn Slough is another community called Prunedale. The Prunedale Chamber of commerce provides info. Prunedale  offers a rural lifestyle envied by many. Country, friendly, and convenient.
Oak and eucalyptus forests abound..  

Returning to and now leaving Moss Landing, we skirt a small community on the left side, it maybe small, but chances are good if you eat Artichokes they were grown around Castroville 'Artichoke Capital of the World' Marilyn Monroe was the very first Artichoke Queen way back when the Artichoke festival first began, and is now honored in a restaurant in the town.

The Salinas Valley...

We have neglected to tell you about Salinas... Its a few miles inland off of Hwy #1. Salinas are information can be found at the Salinas Chamber of Commerce Salinas is well known for one of it's most important events of the year. The California Rodeo Salinas and it's Big Week lineup of festivities. Salinas is also hometown to the National Steinbeck Center as was John Steinbeck in his day. Whether you are a visitor or a resident, Oldtown
has so much to offer! Oldtown helps the Salinas Street Rodders put on the Annual Car Show called Nostalgia Run to Oldtown in Sept. Visit our Rock 'N Rod Nites site, and use the West Coast Shows button on the menu to learn more about the Street Rodders Car Show.

The Monterey peninsula...

Now back to Hwy #1 we pass the City of Marina which is the Gateway to the Monterey Peninsula. The Marina Chamber states, "Marina.... is a great place to start".  The huge 'closed' Fort Ord Army Base (see Fort Ord Remembered) also (see United States Environmental Clean-up, Fort Ord)  is on your left as you hit the Marina city limits. Now closed as a military base, (see the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA), its fast becoming an education facility. The California State University, Monterey Bay is one of the resident educational facilities in place now. Continuing on, we pass the cities of Sand City and Seaside, then into Monterey.  

has the information needed, from dining to relaxing on the beach. Additional information can be found at the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Monterey.com is home of the Monterey Peninsula Visitors & Convention Bureau and offers their online guide. Monterey is home of the National Weather Service Office serving (San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas). We must make a stop at world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium located on Cannery Row in Monterey which was made famous by John Steinbeck. Monterey is full of places to go, things to do, and has a multitude of shops for shopping. One really different way to do all of this is to stop by Monterey Rent a Roadster. A totally unique opportunity to take a giant, nostalgic step back in time and tour the beautiful Monterey/Carmel coastline while driving a classic of the past - an open-air Model A roadster!

 If you are an avid auto racing Fan, Monterey you the opportunity to enjoy the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway. This Indy car event is quite spectacular, but other major events also take place at the facility during the year like the relatively new fast growing Cherry's Jubilee Car Show.

Lycos City Guide Carmel describes Carmel to a Tee. Carmel-by-the-Sea offers shopping, golfing, dining, sightseeing, and a chance to see celebrities. Carmel site seeing means a stop at Point Lobos State Reserve "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world" and I for one have to agree with that.

The Emergency Services around the Bay...

When it comes to the Emergency services, we have some of best of the best here. Watsonville is protected by the City of Watsonville Fire Department (Shameless plug I am webmaster).  The City of Watsonville Police Department has a program called: Watsonville Community Volunteer Posse is to encourage and preserve peace and prosperity in Watsonville through volunteer service, assisting the Watsonville Police Department when and where needed. Since we are discussing the Emergency services, I guess some of you would be interested to know that the 9-1-1 service here in Santa Cruz County is provided by the Santa Cruz Consolidated Emergency Communications Center. When you head across the bridge into the community of Pajaro you also moved into Monterey County, and 9-1-1 there is provided by 2 Monterey County Communications Centers, one in Salinas and the other in Monterey. All vehicle accidents in the Monterey Bay Area, as well as cellular 9-1-1 calls are routed to the California Highway Patrol Dispatch Center in Salinas  To find out the current FIRE danger here in the Monterey Bay area, or anywhere in the US for that matter, visit the USDA Forest Service, Wildland Fire Assessment System Daily Fire Danger Map. Of course most of you know we live in Earthquake country here, and the Pajaro Valley was home of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, so stop in at the USGS Computer Generated Earthquake Reports to see the latest Central California Coast Earthquake activity.

The media of the Bay Area...

    As for Radio and Television stations in the area, we have a number of them, and yes, they are web literate already. If your a Metallica, Pearl Jamb etc. fan, then head to Solid Rock 92.3 KSJO from San Jose. When in an Oldies mood, it can only be 105.1 KOCN for the best in 50's 60's and early 70's.  CD93 or KCDU is one of the top five most-listened-to radio stations - via the web - in the ENTIRE WORLD!!! So be sure to stop by and listen to Sini Man for instance and find out for your self.  Soft Rock for the Monterey Bay, is provided by KWAV 97FM where you can listen to the Delilah Show at 7:00pm. If your among the younger set the station in the bay area to listen to is KDON 102.5 from Salinas, CA. Now, here's a treat for everyone,  you want a station with a difference? Then a must on any radio tour is Freedom's only Radio Station at this time, jump into the KPIG Cybersty at 107 OINK 5 where you can even listen over the Inet. Remember, a format-defying blend of adult rock, acoustic music, blues, progressive country, Hawaiian, Cajun, bluegrass, and folk.  It ain't like no other station, it just don't get much different then this. 
For those who wanted to know, KPIG radiates a mighty 2,850 watts from a little knoll (bare, not grassy) 2 miles directly east of the Moss Landing power plant in scenic
Prunetucky-by-the-Slough.   (I love that, I had to share that piece of info).

    I know, I said there was a number of television stations as well, it's their turn now. First off, the oldie in the Bay must be Channel 8 KSBW (NBC affiliate) out of Salinas. The next station in the Bay Area is News Channel 46 KION (CBS affiliate) also out of Salinas. The 3rd station in the Bay Area is KCBA 35 (FOX Affiliate).

Well, I hope you enjoyed this brief hop around the Monterey Bay Area, which I call home...

 Click any of the following graphics for current forecast.

Click for Watsonville, California Forecast
Click for Santa Cruz, California Forecast
Santa Cruz
Click for Monterey, California Forecast


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SF / Monterey Bay Areas NexRad Radar
By Intellicast
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Doppler Radar for the Bay Area, 
by the Weather Channel. 
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