Friday we drove an hour into the mountains East of San Diego to Julian, CA. The twisty, cliffhanging roads reminded me of some in West Virginia and the town reminded me of Harper's Ferry and other historical towns in the Maryland/ Virginia area that are now so touristy.
One of the 12-year-olds I took with me had been there before, so she enjoyed showing us the best stores and restaurants. The girls came home with jewelry from a craft show and teeny marbles from a store. (they both had brought money, so the only thing I had to pay for was parking and food.)
Even though the town was above 4,500 feet in the mountains, there weren't many trees that had colorful autumn leaves; everything was green -- California long needled tree green. We did see some autumn leaves at about 3,000 feet as we passed through another town. (Every time my 12-year-old had complained about there not being any fall leaves here in San Diego, people had told her she needed to go to Julian to see them. Not true.)
The thing that stood out in my mind was the difference in the Mountains. Mountains in the east are made up of solid upthrusts of granite mixed with layers of coal and a variety of other hard stone. They are covered in either pasture grass or shaded with trees. Solid green, in other words, with only an occasional outcropping of solid rock.
California mountains, on the other hand, seem to have huge boulders sticking their bare bones all over the hill -- like the lumps on the back of a toad. Huge things. With nothing but brown-ish growth in between.
We arrived too late to do much driving around Julian, so we walked the few blocks of tourist stores, instead. There may be more green forest around the town that we missed. And maybe even some autumn leaves somewhere.
We were hoping to see snow in Julian, after all it's late November and we were high in the mountains. (and I had seen snow in some mountains as I flew home from Maryland last week.) But no snow, either. The temperatures were only about 10 degrees cooler than at our San Diego condo. But as the sun set, it did get cold and we were glad we had sweatshirts with us.
The stores in San Diego had been flooded with "JULIAN PIE COMPANY" pies before Thanksgiving and people had told us they were delicious. However, the only pie store we found in Julian was MOM's pies. The 12-year-old friend told us that those pies weren't very good and that she knew where one of the Julian Pie factories was located. We never found the factory in Julian, but on the way home she located the other one and we bought a pie there. Cooked it tonight. It's yummy. (Deutsch Apple Pie) Just as good as people has said it would be.