southern california

Driving, Driving, Driving

What a good drive down to Southern California.

I avoided the freeways as long as I could, getting off the I-5 just north of Vancouver, WA and crossed the Columbia River into Oregon close to Gresham and then followed the Mt. Hood Highway south. The scenery was spectacular, ranging from vast cattle ranches to lava beds to forest and desert. It would be a wonderful trip to take without a destination in mind. So many photo ops! But if I has stopped and climbed out of the car every time I saw something breathtaking or fun or unusual, I would still be driving! Lots of farming - and the a lot of the farmers are quite considerate as they put signs up alongside the road which label what is growing! There was one area in Oregon where the fields looked like they were full of weeds but then I saw a sign that indicated that what was growing was a hybrid carrot and they are being grown for the seeds! And potatoes! I had no idea Oregon and Northern California were in potato country. Actually, I thought maybe it was McDonald country as on one side of the road were cattle and the other potatoes! Hamburgers and French Fries!

The lava area was amazing too. Rocks strewn everywhere but in some areas, industrious farmers have cleared the land of the rocks and planted crops. I just cannot imagine the back-breaking work it must have been. In other areas, what looked like wild horses were grazing. And there were rivers and lakes and mighty peaks, still snow-capped.

My first night was in Klamath Falls, Oregon, after a 505 mile day. Cute town hosting the county fair! Which meant I had a hard time finding a room - and snagged the last one at the Comfort Inn! The lake was beautiful and it is a place a would like to spend more time.

The next day was a long one, 700 miles, and I ended up in Ridgecrest, California - a nowhere place but rooms available. I had tried several towns before and all sold out! So I had to keep driving but I had visions of myself sleeping in my car!

And hot! I love the heat but this was too much for me - it was in the 100s coming through Reno and Carson City. I didn't even stop to play any one-armed bandits! And thank goodness for my air-conditioning!

It was just a short 1.5 hour drive to Apple Valley with nothing but desert for miles and miles and miles.

solar array

Except for a massive solar array with 46,322 solar panels! I saw these structures way off in the distance and couldn't figure out what they were until I got closer. I had to stop and take pictures! The big semis went roaring past me as I tried to stay way off the road, but there was very little shoulder and I think the drivers thought I was nuts! But the setup is so impressive and one has to wonder why there aren't more of these installations.