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Rio del Mar

My wife and I decided to “take the day off” today, and we decided to visit Rio del Mar, on Monterey Bay. Later in the afternoon, we traveled to Monterey and Pacific Grove, but I shall write about that another time. All that I will say now is that we drove from Rio del Mar to Monterey with our windows down on this warm, sunny January day!

There was still a haze in the air when we left Livermore around 9:30 AM, and the haze continued through Silicon Valley. When we climbed the Santa Cruz Montains on Highway 17, there was blue sky ahead! There are often different atmospheric conditions in interior valleys (where Livermore is located), the Bay Area proper, and the California coast. Lexington Reservoir had the lowest water level that I have ever seen, but as my barber said, “There is nothing that we can do about the lack of rain, so we might as well enjoy the high temperatures.”

I feel a little guilty (naw, not really :-) ) telling you folks in colder climates that the weather in the Bay Area has been abnormally warm for at least a week, as the result of a “monster high” pressure area, which is just now starting to weaken. The high pressure area that has been giving California abnormally high temperatures (some places in the “North Bay” and farther north have had temperatures in the 80’s F ) has been dropping cold Canadian air down on the Mid-West and East Coast of the United States. Temperatures around the Bay Area today were supposed to be in the mid-to-high 60’s F, but the forecast that we heard while traveling was even higher, with highs in the upper 60’s to 70’s F. The weather is starting to “fool” plants into blooming, and this may result in killed blossoms and higher food prices later in the year!

Rio del Mar (which means “Sea’s River”) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County. In the year 2000 census, Rio Del Mar had a population of 9198. Rio del Mar is located at coordinates 36° 57′ 50″ N, 121° 53′ 16″ W, right on Monterey Bay. In the year 2000 census, Rio del Mar CDP had a median income of $75,282 for a household, $85,355 for a family, and a per capita income of $39,034.

We “snaked our way” through Santa Cruz and other towns to get there. People everywhere were in shorts and T-shirts this fine January day, enjoying the high temperatures and sunshine. We found a parking place in a free parking lot in Rio del Mar, right next to the beach. People were playing on the beach, many girls and women in two-piece swimsuits, and many shirtless men. Birds were wading in the shallow lagoon, shoveling through the sand to find a meal. People were EVERYWHERE, walking dogs, sunbathing, surfing, motorcycling, and just chatting. An elderly man in only Hawaiian shorts was trimming his shrubbery.

We walked north along the path beside the beach, crossing Aptos Creek. Then we reversed ourselves and walked south about a mile, right along the edge of the beach. After stopping on a picnic table to bask in the warm sunshine and enjoy the sight of surfers on waves that looked like glass, kids playing in the sand, and everyone enjoying the day, we walked north again to the car, about 0.7 miles away.

Of course, I took photos (1, 2, 3). I will add links to this entry when the photos are ready. (Note added January 25, 2009: Done.)

One thing that I noticed about the Wikipedia entry on Rio del Mar was that there was census data, but not a lot else! The entry for Rio del Mar has detailed statistics, maps, and graphical representations of data on many other aspects of the location.

The statistics don’t do justice to Rio del Mar. Pack up your beach bag, pack a picnic lunch, and GO! :-)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at

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