Thursday, March 12, 2009

Driving Up Lone Tree Road

When I was a kid, I thought the mountains that surrounded Hollister were just a bunch of hills. What does a kid know! Today, in my wise old age, I am continually taken aback at how awesome they are.

The Diablo Range runs down the eastern side of San Benito County. The tallest peak in this whole range is in the southern part of the county—San Benito Mountain, which stands 5,241 feet high. Sorry. These photos aren't of that peak. One day.

This part of the range is just outside of Hollister. I don’t know how high they are. They do get a now-and-then dusting of snow, and when they do, some folks like to drive up Lone Tree Road to check it out.

The mountains have been wearing Spring quite well. The other day some friends came by, so it was a great excuse to head up Lone Tree Road. As you can see from the photos, it was a perfect day! We even saw wild boars who looked as tame as the cattle.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Knife & Fork Cafe

For the last hour, I have been thinking about the lemon cake that the Knife & Fork Cafe has listed on its menu. I’ve been to this restaurant on San Benito Street twice, and I have yet to try it. On my first visit (September 2008), I decided to be wise and eat a fortified breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Yum!

The second time there—just last Friday—I was full after eating a grilled Portobello sandwich and a scoop of potato salad. My juicy sandwich was delicious, but the potato salad. Oh, yum, now that is something to drool about in memory. It was just right. For me, that means a bit of crunch with each bite and the potato concoction was not glistening in mayonnaise. I also like that the scoop was placed on a slight bed of salad greens. One of my companions had a grilled salmon salad, which I think I’ll try another day. A big portion of wild salmon was set prettily on a big plateful of greens. It looked well worth the price.

The Knife & Fork opened last summer. It's located on San Benito Street, across from the Veteran’s Memorial Building. You can’t miss it. It’s next to Browns Alley where the building next door exhibits a huge, beautiful mural, which was painted by some Gavilan art students under the direction of their instructor Arturo Rosette. The mural is another reason why I’ll head down to Knife & Fork again. I like looking at it, whether through the restaurant’s side windows or at its reflection in the mirrors on the restaurant’s southern wall.

Currently, the Knife & Fork is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s a friendly and comfortable place to hang out. When my party sat down to eat on Friday afternoon, we didn’t realize they were about to close. Our waiter said not to worry. We got there before the closing hour (4:30) and we could stay as long as we want. Music to our ears. So, we decided to eat an early dinner, which was great for the cooks in the party.

The proprietors say that they’ll soon be open for dinner. They are also getting permits to put out tables in the alley for outdoor service. Oh, boy! I can see sitting next to that mural on a warm summer evening as I finally eat a slice of lemon cake.

For other reviews of the Knife & Fork Cafe, check out these links

Friday, March 6, 2009

Four Places to Hike in San Benito County

(The photograph is courtesy of my hubby Dick. © Richard A. McDavid. All rights reserved.)

The mountains around Hollister are looking mighty green these days, and it won’t be long before all the poppies and other wildflowers are blooming wildly. Are you ready for a hike?

San Benito County has four parks that are worth checking out.
  • Pacheco State Park is on the way to the San Luis Reservoir, heading east on highway 152. The above photograph was taken there a couple years ago.
  • Fremont Peak State Park is south of San Juan Bautista, which is about 7 miles from Hollister. Once upon a time it was known as Gavilan Peak. It was named after Capt. John Fremont who supposedly defied the Mexican government in 1846 by camping there and raising the U.S. flag at the tippy-top.
Anyone know of other hiking places in San Benito County?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ten Smells of Hollister, California

I have yet to sniff the Hollister California line of bottled fragrances. But, it intrigues me that some people are willing to buy and apply a smell that would make others (and themselves) think they are living a fabricated Hollister California life.

It also got me thinking about the aromas of my hometown. What could I bottle and sell as Sigh, I’m Feeling Nostalgic for the real Hollister California? These are my top 10 smells (past and present). They are not in any particular odor. Hee-hee, I couldn’t resist the pun.
  1. The wild mustard that bloom in spring
  2. The tons of tomatoes as they are being canned on a hot summer evening
  3. Freshly-mowed grass on a Saturday morning
  4. Morning fog that clings to rows upon rows of tomato plants
  5. The heaps of fresh compost on Highway 25
  6. Manure just laid on newly-prepared vegetable fields
  7. Meat being barbequed on charcoal by next-door neighbors
  8. Gas, oil, and/or burning rubber fumes of a beyond-vintage truck or car passing by
  9. The livestock stalls at the county fair
  10. Approaching rain
What aromas get you thinking of home?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back on the 25!

Yeah, I know. I’ve been away much longer than six weeks. What can I say? Deadlines never cease.

So, what’s new on Highway 25?

The 25 bypass, for one! Opened a couple of weeks ago, this extension goes around the city of Hollister. It was built so that downtown would be more pedestrian-friendly and hence more people will head downtown to shop and eat.

Yes, you read that paragraph correctly. If more people use the bypass, what then is the incentive of going downtown? I dunno.

However, the next time you visit Hollister, or go through it for points elsewhere, do take the 25 bypass. It is a short scenic drive. Be aware: The bypass has several stoplights. Be sure to drive the speed limit, regardless of how fast someone may have swished by you. But, also make a point of heading downtown for an enjoyable look-see as well.

For a peek at the northern third of the 25 bypass, please click on the photo below. It will take you to the video that I posted at 1971 Balers. It’s not the best footage, but I like the music. ☺



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