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We inquire the road to Escondido and Father Doyle tells us that the shortest route is to cross the river and strike over the hills to Lilac and Valley Center. It may be the shortest route, but a rougher, steeper, stonier byroad is not common, even in California. It winds along the hill-crests with sharp little pitches and short turns that will compel any driver to attend carefully to business. It would have been better to follow the river to the junction with the main road, though the distance is a few miles farther. At Valley Center-which is only a ranch-house-we came into a fairly good highway which steadily improved as we approached Escondido. It was on this fine road that we spied a huge rattlesnake basking in the afternoon sun, too lazy or too defiant to make much effort to get out of the way of our wheels, which passed over him. A blow from a rock finished him, and his twelve-jointed rattle was added to our trophies. It seemed a pity to leave his beautifully marked sepia-brown skin, but we had no facilities for removing and caring for it.

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Escondido means "hidden," a name probably suggested by the location of the little town deep in the mammoth hills. It is, however, the best town on the inland route between Riverside and San Diego, and though small, it is apparently an energetic community. The main street was being macadamized and improved for some distance out of the town, and a large hotel and handsome schoolhouse testified to its enterprise. For some miles to the south of the town the road is straight and level; then we re-enter the hills and begin the ascent of the finely engineered Poway grade. The road swings up the giant hills in long, easy loops and as we near the summit the whole grade lies before our eyes as we look backward down the canyon. From the crest there is another wonderful view of hills touched with the declining sun and wooded canyons shrouded in the amethystine haze of evening. To the right a road cuts across the hills to La Jolla by the sea and we followed this on one occasion. It is a narrow, little-used road running along the hill-crests or clinging precariously to their sides, but it proved smoother and easier than we anticipated. It passes through Miramar-the great country estate of a millionaire newspaper man-comprising many thousands of acres. Some of the land was cultivated, but the great bulk of it is in cattle ranges. For miles we saw no human habitation and had some difficulty in keeping the right road. We came into the main coast road a few miles north of La Jolla and hastened to Del Mar-of which more anon-where we preferred to pass the night rather than at San Diego.

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On our first trip, however, we continued on our way to the city and gliding down Poway grade we came to a fork in the road with a sign informing us that one branch led to San Diego by Murphy Canyon and the other by Murray Canyon. We chose the former, believing, for obvious reasons, that it must be the best, and soon came into the new-old town on the quiet, land-locked harbor, where the white man's work in California had its beginnings.

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If one wishes to stop within the city of San Diego, he will find the U. S. Grant Hotel equal to the best metropolitan hostelries and when he comes to settle his bill, will also learn that the best metropolitan establishments "have nothing on" the Grant in the way of stiff charges. It is a huge, concrete structure-"absolutely fire-proof," of course-and its interior appointments and furnishings are in keeping with its imposing exterior. It is justly the pride of San Diego and, despite the marvelous growth of the town, it will be long before it outgrows this magnificent hotel.

There is much for the tourist stranger to see about San Diego-the oldest settlement of the white man in California. The motor car affords ideal means for covering the surrounding country in the shortest time and with the assistance of the excellent maps of the Auto Club of Southern California, one can easily locate the points of interest in the immediate vicinity outside the limits of the city.

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The old mission will usually be the first objective, and more especially it appeals to ourselves, who have already determined to traverse the entire length of the King's Highway to visit all the decaying monuments to the work of the zealous Franciscan padres. It has a special significance as the earliest Spanish settlement in California and as the beginning of a movement that has widely influenced the history and architecture of the state. The story of its founding I have already told in brief; its history in a general way was much the same as that of San Gabriel. Our outline of the mission play in a preceding chapter gives a true conception of its earliest days; owing to the distrust of the natives it was long before converts were made in considerable numbers. The region about was well peopled, but only seventy-one converts had been secured by 1774, six years after Serra's landing. A year later the mission was attacked by a horde of savages, variously estimated at from five to eight hundred, who burned the rude brush-roofed building to the ground and murdered Father Jayme, one of the priests. When news of the disaster reached Father Serra, who had gone northward to Monterey, he rejoiced in the martyrdom of his friend. "God be praised!" he cried. "The soil is now watered," thus accepting the calamity as a presage of victory to come. The troubles with the natives continued until 1779, when they were pacified by some of their number being made officials in the society, Alcades and Regidores, as they were styled. These dignitaries administered justice to their own people under the direction of the padres and from this time the progress of the mission was rapid. In 1800 it was the most populous of the missions, its neophytes numbering fifteen hundred and twenty-three. More substantial buildings had been erected and an extensive scheme of irrigation had been begun, remains of which astonish the beholder to-day. The great dam is in a gorge about three miles above the mission. It was built of gray granite twelve feet thick and stands as firm and solid as ever, though it is now nearly filled with sand.

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The mission's prosperity continued, with occasional interruptions on account of differences with the natives, until the secularization in 1833. After this the Indians were gradually scattered and were decimated in frequent clashes with the Spanish soldiers. Eleven years later an official report showed but one hundred natives connected with the mission as against more than fifteen hundred in its palmy days-a fact which needs no elucidation to show the results of Mexican confiscation. The buildings were reported by a United States officer to be "in good preservation" in 1852, and were then occupied by American troops.