Monday, January 14, 2013

Bakersfield ~ Barstow ~ Palm Springs ~ California

Day 5 of our winter drive south and we are on the home stretch, which will take us almost 5 hours.  We will drive 348 km (216 mi) today so arrive early enough to set up in daylight. We’ll travel from Bakersfield, CA over Hwy 58 past Tehachapi and the Mojave Desert.  Once we arrive in Barstow, we will then take I-15 to San Bernadino, CA where we will then follow I-10 east to Palm Springs, California.

The rv park shows parking spots between the orange trees
Orange Grove RV Park, Bakersfield, CA
We’ve spent the night just east of Bakersfield, CA at the Orange Grove RV Park, where we have stayed and enjoyed many times.  A reservation is necessary as they fill up at this time of year with all the snowbirds heading south.  The park encourages everyone to pick some fresh oranges from their trees when they are ripe so we shall do that plus a free truck/RV washing is to be done before we leave.
The train can be seen following the loop
Tehachapi Loop railroad
The Tehachapi Pass is one of my favorite ones and the sights include the Tehachapi Loop that the Union Pacific Railroad uses to lesson the grade, the track passes over itself on this 1.17km (.73mi) spiral. This in one of the busiest single-track mainlines in the world, which explains why we usually see a train when we pass through here. This photo was taken on a previous trip, we see nothing today.
low visibility shown on the highway
Fog through the Tehachapi Pass
This is what we are really looking at today, the visibility is almost zilch!  The Tehachapi Pass is 1156 M (3793’) high and we’re in the clouds at the southern end of the Sierra Mountains. The drive might be a bit slow as we pass through here but the roads are bare. We’ve also had snow through here before but not today.
Thick fog shown in the distance
More fog across the green hills of Tehachapi Pass
The Tehachapi Pass connects the Tehachapi Mountains with the Mojave Desert, which we will travel through today.  Our temperature as we go through the Pass is just over 3C (36f) so not the weather we want to spend too much time in but it tends to be cool like this at these levels, especially at night and through the Mojave. 
The mine can be seen in the distance
Borax Boron Mine, CA
As you may imagine, there is a lot of nothing as we drive across the Mojave Desert but there is one place I find interesting by the road signs.  We pass the 20 Mule Team Road which was named after the 20 mule teams that moved borax out of Death Valley, CA many years ago.  Then we see the Borax Visitor Center sign that leads to the site a short way off the freeway.  After some research, I find that this is the largest open-pit mine and borax mine in the world. 
Dark clouds ahead travelling I-15
San Bernadino Mountains shrouded in clouds
Once we leave Barstow, Ca we are travelling on I-15, passing through Victorville, the former home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, now closed.  We descend down towards San Bernadino Mountains and see some very dark clouds ahead but we’ll be heading east before we get to those. 
Billboards advertise upcoming shows
Robin Thicke performs in Coachella Valley
We are now travelling east on I-10 and only a half hour from our favorite RV Park.  Upcoming shows are advertised on billboards and we spot this show with Robin Thicke that we will definitely have to see on Feb. 2, 2013.  There are several casinos with no shortage of great entertainment in the Palm Springs area.
Names of cities on overpass walls
New overpass at Palm Springs, CA
We arrive in the Coachella Valley and the temperature is 13C (56f).  Cool temps and clouds are not what we usually expect to be greeted with but we see no snow!  The new overpasses have been completed since our last visit and the sign says we’re in Palm Springs and we are only moments from the park.
Gated entrance to the RV park
Desert Shadows RV Park, CA
We have arrived at Desert Shadows RV Park, which we will be calling home for the rest of the winter. The gates open up like welcoming arms after a long 5 days of winter travels and we are very happy to be here, clouds and all. 

We have now completed a journey of 2,414 km (1500 mi) together over the past 5 days.  I usually showcase the places we visit and not the roads we travel but if you’ve enjoyed this one, I hope you will continue to follow us on our RV adventures to the places we visit.


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