This is for a story. I have a setting in mind, and I'm going to make up my own "town", but I want it rooted in a real geographic setting. I need a general area where there are...
1. Some mountains (like a whole range of them).
2. Farmland/less-populated area on one side.
3. City/more-populated area on the other side.
I'd like to keep this in California because I want to stick with what I know. Although as this goes to show I don't really know it all that well.
If this state wasn't so frigging huge I'd take a spin down I-5 and scout out the right place. Because, even though I've been up and down I-5 countless times in my life, I never actually look around unless I'm the one driving. And I've never been the one driving.