National Geographic : 1949 Jun
The West Through Boston Eyes Oakland Bay Bridge, better known as "Bay Bridge." One of the longest in the world, it carries six lane traffic on the upper level, or "deck," and, on the lower deck, three truck lanes and two interurban lanes, across 4A miles of sea water. Motorists approaching San Francisco on it can look down upon the city's remarkable beauty.* Yosemite National Park was in dry season. The falls seen from the unbelievable heights of Glacier and Washburn Points were thin but could never be disappointing (page 761). Going on to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, we met Grizzly Giant. Older than King Tutankhamen, the tremendous tree made us marvel at the Force which has kept him living since the dawn of civilization (page 763).t At Monterey we found East-West similarity. Take Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts, add heaping tablespoons of old Spanish houses, and you have California's Monterey. The same clutter of boats and tackle was here. Sitting on white sea boulders, Belinda looked puzzled, lifted her nose to the briny air, and sniffed to make sure these were not the Bass Rocks of her native north shore (page 766). The shore line south of Monterey and Car mel (page 769) bore little resemblance to the wooded inlets and bays of New England. California cliffs extended for much longer dis tances and were topped by brown grass in stead of trees (page 767). Few people were on the beaches. At times the effect was virginal, as if we were pushing through country untouched by man. At Los Angeles we camped in Tujunga Can yon, a ravine as untamed and barren, as spaciously silent, as if there were a desert next door instead of the metropolis. Oil Wells Near "City of the Angels" We were startled to find oil wells so profuse near Los Angeles that the derricks blackened the sky along oceanside highways, the drills working the grounds of seaside cottages and even pulling oil out of beaches. San Diego was now so near that we stopped in the sprawling "City of the Angels" only long enough for a glimpse of Hollywood's movie-makingj and a visit to Riverside. Mission Inn's historical collection includes a bell rung by the town crier of Bedford, Massa chusetts, on the night of Paul Revere's ride. I threatened to smuggle it back to Massa chusetts, but my friends of the inn won be cause the bell was chained down (page 755). When we finally came to San Diego, two tired "sagebrushers" craved nothing more than to wiggle their toes in the beach sand. In a backyard overlooking the Pacific we went on living in a tent, but now in luxury, with cots, mattresses, and other comforts provided by our relatives, who fed us home-cooked meals. Next door was a cactus ranch. The kindly owner, Mr. Lewis Walmsley, gave us many hours of his time, arranging lovely displays of cactus flowers, and those of other fleshy plants, for us to photograph (page 768). Talking with gentle earnestness about his plant friends, he was quite unaware of using technical language: "Let's see, where will I put the Notocactus ottonis? I think for your picture it will look best if I put it next to the Kalanchoe hybrid gold over against the Echeveria. Now you'll want some contrasting colors behind, so why don't we move the Euphorbia splendens and Faucariatigrina into the back row?" My fancy was caught by the last plant mentioned. "Does it have any other name?" I asked, hopefully. Walmsley smiled, suddenly remembering my ignorance. "Tiger jaws," he explained. Southwest Corner of the Country The brown hills of southern California re quired some getting used to. We missed eastern greenness at first, but were gradually won over by the glorious sunshine which makes the brown grass glow all the way to the horizon with a golden hue. Angels must have made the San Diegan climate. Red bougainvillea scrambles over gleaming white, modern houses. Orange oleanders line the streets in the La Jolla area. Drooping green pepper trees weep, like wil lows, over the roads of Point Loma. The size of San Diego Bay was one of our many surprises. Miles and miles of docks and large ships opened our eyes as only New York Harbor could do back home.§ One day we drove 80 miles into Mexico, past the border city of Tijuana, to Ensenada. "No meat shortage here," said a man who was butchering his cow in an open field. "Every time fiesta, I kill cow. You come?" * See "San Francisco: Gibraltar of the West Coast," by La Verne Bradley, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, March, 1943. t See "California's Coastal Redwood Realm," by J. R. Hildebrand, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, February, 1939. g See "Southern California at Work," by Frederick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, Novem ber, 1934. § See "San Diego Can't Believe It," by Frederick Simpich, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1942.