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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe epub free

Following Ocean Drive southward from the Cliff House in Golden Gate Park, a few miles down the coast the highway swings landward to Sloat Avenue, which we pursued to Colma. Here the road turns to the left and closely follows the ocean through a number of small fisher villages and beach resorts. There are some long and rather heavy grades in places, but they are atoned for by inspiring views of rugged coast and shining sea, particularly at San Pedro Point, just below Salada, where we enjoyed a far-reaching vista from an elevation of several hundred feet above the sea. Beyond Montara grade the road drops down into the fertile plains about Half Moon Bay. Here is the famous artichoke section of California and we saw hundreds upon hundreds of acres of the succulent vegetable in the vicinity of the village. There is also a delightful alternate route to Half Moon Bay which we took on another occasion, following the main highway to San Mateo, where a well-improved macadam road swings to the left and plunges into the hill range between the bay and the ocean. It winds in graceful curves and easy grades among the giant hills, passing several of the huge fresh-water lakes of the San Francisco water supply system. This route is the easier one, but hardly the equal of the coast in scenic grandeur.

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Half Moon Bay is a forlorn-looking little town with a decidedly un-American appearance-which is not so strange since the inhabitants, who engage in fishing or in cultivating the endless artichoke fields about the place, are mostly Portuguese and Italians. Thinking that Half Moon Bay, notwithstanding its unprepossessing looks, was about our only chance for luncheon before we should reach Santa Cruz, we inquired of the bank cashier, who responded rather dubiously, it seemed to us, that the French Hotel was the "best to be had in town." We found it a second-class country inn whose main business was evidently done in the bar-room, which occupied the most prominent place in the building. The lunch hour was past but the proprietor went to considerable trouble to prepare a hot meal, which, we agreed in Yorkshire parlance, "might have been worse." Outside there was a little garden with some wonderful roses and, altogether, the inn was neater and cleaner than appearances had led us to expect.

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Our real troubles began when we left the town, for a rougher, meaner and more uncomfortable fifty miles we hardly found in all our wanderings in the Golden State. A new macadam road was being built to Pescadero, twenty miles south, and was just at the stage calculated to most distress the motorist. We wallowed through miles of loose, sharp stones, made long detours through the rough, steep hills, crept over shaky bridges, plunged down and out of huge gulches and crawled through miles of rough, stony trails, deep with dust. Pescadero, which marks the end of the railroad, is as lonely and wretched a little hamlet as one will find in California; in fact, it took quite a mental effort to assure ourselves that we really were in California-it reminded us so strongly of some of the old-world villages we had seen. We took on "gas" at a dilapidated smithy recently decorated with a huge "garage" sign, though I doubt if a sizable car could have gotten inside. Beyond Pescadero the road was still rough, dusty and steep in places, but it was free from construction work and we made better time. Beyond Swanton the road steadily improved. When we came into Santa Cruz the sun was still high and by grace of the long evening we were able to reach Del Monte by way of Watsonville and Salinas shortly after dark. It is superfluous to remark on the satisfaction we experienced in reaching such a haven of rest after an unusually strenuous and uncomfortable run.

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We lingered in the pleasant surroundings until afternoon of the following day, making an easy and eventless run to Stockton for the night. We had seen enough of forced schedules and long hours to determine us to make the run to Los Angeles by easier stages. Leaving Stockton in the late forenoon, we soon reached the little city of Modesto, which hopes some day to be the official gateway of Yosemite. Perhaps it was in anticipation of this distinction that two immense hotels, the Modesto and the Hughson, seemingly out of all proportion to any possible need, were being built. The former was practically completed, a seven-story concrete structure with all modern hotel improvements and conveniences, including ballroom, roof garden, and swimming pool. The Hughson was even larger and we could not help wondering if the hotel business in Modesto were not in danger of being slightly overdone.

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At Merced we found another handsome new hotel, the Capitan, which would be a credit to a city with several times Merced's four or five thousand people, but perhaps the Yosemite traffic justifies the enterprise of the builders. We paused here for lunch and I was greatly amused at a conversation which I overheard in the lobby, illustrating the effect of the California microbe upon so many visiting Easterners. A gentleman wearing a light summer suit, a white hat and white shoes, and carrying a camera and golf bag-the very personification of a man who was enjoying life to the limit-was just leaving for the train.

"Well," queried a friend who met him, "are you about ready to go back to Peoria?"

"Go back to Peoria!-go back to Peoria!! I'm never going back to Peoria if I live a hundred years. Say, do you know that I wouldn't take all the Eastern States as a gift if I had to live in 'em, after having lived in California?"

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A straight, level road runs from Merced to Fresno on the south, one of the finest links of the inland route of the new state highway. We found much of it under construction at the time and in passing around through the wheatfields we struck some of the deepest dust and roughest running that we found anywhere. We made up for it when we came back into the finished portion, which extended for several miles north of Fresno. It is a perfect road-concrete with a "carpet" of crushed stone and asphaltum rolled as smooth and hard as polished slate. It runs for miles through wheatfields, whose magnitude may be judged from the fact that we saw a dozen ten-mule teams ploughing one tract. Near Fresno we ran into the endless vineyards which surround the raisin town and which looked green and prosperous, despite the drouth which had nearly ruined the wheat. The raisin crop is one of Fresno County's greatest sources of wealth, netting the growers over five million dollars yearly. The abundant sunshine makes the grapes too sweet for light wines, though there were several wineries producing the heavier quality, which was mostly shipped to Europe, where it was blended with lighter wine and sent back strictly an "imported product." This practice, of course, became obsolete with the advent of prohibition, but the Fresno growers, as is the case everywhere, are now reaping the greatest profits in their history.

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