Cruzin’ California

I graduated from Loma Linda School of Dentistry a long time ago… We obviously spent a lot of time there. They have just now completed a brand new hospital – very beautiful and absolutely huge! The scary part is that I remember when they built the last hospital – it was the very latest thing in the early 60’s! California earthquake standards required a new facility, and here it is:

While visiting this time, we had to go by the old house where we lived in dental school. We actually had two small houses on one lot, so we rented out the bigger front house, and lived in the back house. While in nostalgia mode, we checked out other “famous” living quarters:

The air conditioner in the dash of the motorhome might have been working less efficiently for a while, but was not really noticed until we got to Arizona. Repair places near us at the time were too busy to help us out… we had to book a repair several days in advance. So we decided to schedule the work in Fresno, California, where we would be in a week. So we got to Fresno, spent from 7am till 9pm getting it fixed. We didn’t feel like driving on at that time, so we spent the night in the parking lot of the Fresno Truck Repair shop! Just in case you think all is glamour with our nomadic lifestyle. Of course, if we hadn’t needed that repair, I wouldn’t have gotten to see what must be the world’s largest tow truck!

Cherryl’s Uncle Charles and Aunt Norma Jean were the reason Fresno was on our route. We spent a great afternoon catching up with them – Fun!

I remember our family traveling through Fresno when I was a kid, back before Interstate 5 was built and Route 99 was the main road. One time we stopped at a tourist trap advertised as the home of “The Human Mole.” It still exists, and we got a tour!

Baldassare Forestiere moved to Fresno from Italy in the early 1900’s. His goal was to farm citrus trees, but found the 80 acres he bought to be mostly dense rock. He had worked back east digging subway tunnels, so to escape the brutal summer heat, he dug a room underground to sleep in. He continued digging out subterranean rooms, with tunnels connecting them, for about 40 years!

Many rooms had “skylights,” allowing him to plant trees underground, as well as furnishing light and ventilation.

One famous tree was planted 30 feet below ground level, and grew up through a hole in the floor above it. He loved grafting trees to produce multiple citrus fruits, and this one produced 7 different varieties! Since it grew through the floor above, he could just walk up and pick what he wanted.

He had bedrooms with alcove beds, and kitchens and dining areas with tables that would slide back into the wall when not needed (Just like our motorhome!)

All the work was done by hand, with shovel and pick, bucket and wheelbarrow. Some rooms are plastered over with concrete, many have “stones” that he’d shaped out of the rock he’d dug out.

By the time he quit digging, he had over 60 rooms, including a ballroom for local events, and a tunnel you could drive your car down to reach the public rooms. (Cars were a lot smaller then.)

San Luis Reservoir is between Fresno and Monterey. A surprisingly large lake, it has lots of beautiful eucalyptus trees with their fascinating bark patterns and great aroma. It was quite windy, so we didn’t seriously think of putting the kayak in.

The beautiful coastal area of Monterey is where Wael and Kristi live, with their three boys. We spent a few days with them, and had a fabulous time.

They took us to an amazing spa called the Refuge in Carmel. It is a collection of saunas, steam rooms, hot, warm, cool and cold pools, and areas to just relax. The place is unbelievably peaceful, since they allow no electronics in, and emphasize total quiet. Amazing!

I stole the following picture from their website, since they allow no cameras. But since I’m giving them a plug here, I’m hoping they won’t mind.

Then lunch in Carmel – a very quaint and crowded gorgeous town!

Cherryl has more family a bit north from Monterey, and visiting Auntie Pat was the first stop. She is great with her flowers, and her yard is also boasting several fruit trees. She and her yard are both beautiful!

Meeting up with all the cousins was a very special afternoon! The weather was perfect, and we had a nice dinner outside in a beautiful yard. Great time with great folks!

We also had a nice walk along the beach in Aptos with Cherryl’s cousin Scott. After we’d worked up an appetite, we had a nice sourdough pizza, and had to follow that with the area’s most famous ice cream. Cherryl’s folks went to Marianne’s Ice Cream when they were kids!

At the end of the pier is a concrete boat that sank there years ago. It has been home to fishermen and birds for decades.

At one end of the long beachfront walk is a wall, which everyone would touch at the completion of their walk. So they added a hand you can slap to mark the end of your walk. Fun. Now you’ve read all the way to the end of this long missive, so you can slap the hand and move on!

One comment

  1. Great pics! Monterey and Aptos areas are always pretty. The Frenchman’s dig is fascinating! Not very far from Steve and Carol. Have fun!

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