July 7: To north California beach

Today, Mr. James was off-business, kindly taking us to the northern California beach drive. We started San Jose and drove through Santa Cruz Mountains to come to a beach. On the way was such a beautiful thick forest of cedar.
Capital beach. Many retired people enjoy their happy lives here, watching the beach or walking around. Beautiful hydrangea flowers reflect the morning sunlight in the crispy air. A bulldozer was working busy to sieve the sand of the beach for cleaning.
Leaving the beach, the car drives along the beach. James Dean was said to die of traffic accident near here. Soon we came up to a small town called Watsonville located at the midway of Monterey Bay. The village features agricultural production like artichoke, strawberry, lettuce, and bud cabbage. California produces about 70 % of whole vegetable production of the US. Many Japanese-Americans run huge vegetable fields that promise 3-4 times crops a year. This is an artichoke field, growing young seedling.
As artichoke is very rare food in Japan, I was very delighted to see the field all around me. This is Castroville, an artichoke village in which many Mexicans live.
We enjoyed various kinds of artichoke dishes in an old fashioned restaurant. The menu was: deep fried, boiled, marinated, and casserole artichoke. The fried artichoke was the best for me.
There many artichokes on the green shop. I was frustrated because I couldn't bring them back to Japan.

We drove around "17-Mile Drive." The shore line was very cold because of the fog peculiar to Monterey Bay, but I was still happy to see lovely sea birds and coast squirrels that came close to my foot.
The lone Cypress, one of the scenic view point. A lone pine grows on the rock extruding to the sea. It looks likes somewhat a Japanese scenery. Some of the pine trees are 400-500 years old. There are many luxurious big houses in the area.
Pebble Beach Golf Course, famous for US Open golf tournament. The wonderful view is dotted with luxurious hotels.

Carmel, a fabulous beautiful resort village. The village is also famous because East Clintwood was once the mayor. We took lunch in a special restaurant in the village. Anyway, it is very cold. A gas heater warms the open seats.
I wore a coat but I still feel cold and is shivering. Fireplaces are burning bright red on my back, I can't believe that it is July now.

The village of Carmel is filled with flower and herbs that release really nice fragrance all around the streets. Many small art galleries display wonderful arts and restaurants are surrounded with flowers.

I enjoyed shopping, of course. My husband got a T-shirt of Carmel and soon wore it. I got some beautiful laces in a wonderful shop.

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