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Hamilton City, Glenn County, California

Just after you turn south on Highway 45 from Hamilton City, you see a long line of date palms stetching away to the west. We turned onto the road through the palms -- Mills Orchard Road -- and drove a mile or so. Got to a ranch yard and turned around, then stopped to talk to a man tying down boxes of peppers in the back of his pickup. I asked him if he knew when the palms were planted and who planted them. He said they were part of a ranch called the Mills Orchard. In the early part of the last century, "when labor costs were a lot lower," the palms lined the road even further. Interspersed between the date palms were tall, slender swaying palms and rose bushes. "It was called the longest palm-lined drive in the world at one time," he said. Eventually, new owners came in. No more roses. Many of the tall palms were dug up and shipped to a resort someplace out in the Pacific. A few of the survivors stood in the middle of an orchard in the distance.