A mini-incline plane in California
Memorial Day last year my sons Michael and Kevin and daughter-in-law Tracy took me on a "Duck Tour" of San Francisco to celebrate my 66th birthday. This Memorial Day, also accompanied with Kevin's date, Bernadette, they feted me with an outing closer to home, to the beach communities directly west of San Jose: Aptos, Capitola, and Santa Cruz. We had brunch at the Red Apple diner in Aptos, which was at the top of the outdoor escalator seen in the opening scene of this video. After eating we went to the Santa Cruz boardwalk to take in some people watching, hiking to the end of the boardwalk at the San Lorenzo River (seen in the video with a railroad bridge), shopping for a summer hat on the way, and take a ride on the gondola three stories above the concrete "board"walk back toward the part of town where Mike parked the truck.After surviving the gondola, we made our way to the downtown beachfront at Capitola, which I had driven through but never actually set foot in before. My hosts had planned a dinner at a most special restaurant, the Shadowbrook, on a hillside overlooking the Soquel River that enters the ocean in downtown Capitola. From the parking lot the restaurant is a steep walk down stairs built into the hillside and also served by a miniature incline plane. Having some time before our reservations, after getting some video of the incline plane scaling the hillside near the parking, we walked along the beach side and then up a trail next to the other side of the river, all of which is included in the video. Finally, we climbed back up the hill to the entrance to the Shadowbrook and took the stairs down, followed by an excellent dinner, and finally rode the incline plane to the parking area at the end. My sons have ridden the Johnstown Incline Plane and toured the Flood Museum with me, so we had some badinage about Westmont, fleeing the floods, and the mist of death.
Though I've been in small funiculars (inclines) before (at Horseshoe Curve, in downtown Los Angeles, and at Sacré-Coeur Basilica in Paris) this one was the smallest, accommodating only six passengers at a time, and it is the first one I've seen that has only one car. Instead of being "balanced" by an identical car meeting it up and down the hillside at the midway point; it has a large weight balancing it that runs on a track under the main track.
This video is 9 minutes, 45 seconds; I hope you enjoy it.
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© 2009 Jon Kennedy
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