Saturday, March 28, 2020

Oregon Trails and Tales

Day two of our travels home and we leave Lodi, CA under dark skies with promise of better weather to come.  We say good-bye to friends as they’re following a different route home and I’m soon to receive a text with “on the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again” a Willie Nelson song.  A morning chuckle and a familiar song to us all.  Lodi was also made famous by a CCR song years ago!  I digress........ we are on the road again!

Blooming bushes
I don’t recall every seeing these blooms on our home travels before but they’re several bunches of them lining the freeway.  Safe to say they are bush weeds and nice to see the color. I've learned that these are called Jacarandas trees. To this point we’ve not seen too many things in bloom so this brightens things up a bit.

Good reminder
This was seen on every overhead sign we passed on this trip.  Such a great idea and an easy way to be reminded and with a slight rhyme, too!

Lake Shasta
Still very overcast here but the calm lake looks so pretty with the morning mist, colored banks and reflections.  This lake level varies a lot over the year and we’ve seen it at a very low level.  This level looks good, indicating the drought in California is no longer a worry, although always a concern.

Cloud covered Mt. Shasta
Now we see snow!  We are at 1100 m (3600’) elevation at this point with Mt. Shasta just ahead of us and although there is not a lot of snow showing, this road in the Siskiyou Pass was closed to all traffic only two days earlier.  There are many travellers who are not prepared for winter driving so precautions are taken on roads that we might not consider a problem if we are used to winter driving conditions.  

Weed, CA
We left I-5 at Weed, CA to follow Hwy 97 out of California into Oregon.  Weed has gotten much smaller over the years and now this small town is under 3,000 people.  It sits about 1044 m (3425’); we’re driving through the Cascade Range so snow is still visible in places.  Have often wondered how this little town got this name.  Turns out it was named after the founder of a local lumber mill, which during the 1940’s was named the largest sawmill in the world!  This little town of Weed! 

Gulls of Weed
Dining with the local gulls.  “Are you looking at me?” He had a pretty clever way of getting his lunch.  Signs say ‘do not feed the birds’ but they’ve figured out how to overcome that.  Just pull the leftover bags from the garbage bin and this fella did it quite easily, threw it onto the sidewalk and shared it!  The car had to stop and honk, then wait for them to scatter.  They have their own rules!  Fun to watch.

Clean up time
This area was hard hit by the fires a couple of years ago.  We do see this work as being a bit early in the season but likely taking precautions of clearing the debris to prevent more fires in the future.  Not a bad thing and no chance of fire spreading with all that snow on the ground.

Dorris, CA
Dorris, CA is one of several small towns we pass through on Hwy 97.  I’m surprised it is called a ‘city’ with a population of only 1000, and I believe the sign is outdated and numbers are fewer but the reservoir proves that it is just that, a city.  It covers 1.8 square km (.7 sq. mi) and has very few amenities but ... looking on the bright side....the real estate is very reasonable.

Cascade Range

The black clouds have disappeared and as always the blue sky and sunshine lift the spirits!  We’ve passed by Klamath Falls and are heading northeast towards Bend, Ore.  We see nice scenery and follow pine tree lined highway through the Cascade Range.  We will stay over in Redmond, Oregon located on the eastern side of the Cascades to end our travels of day two.

We are so fortunate to be able to travel and enjoy the beauty of this world we live in.  Not everything is perfect but if we can find joy and happiness in that which we have and what we can do, then we need to enjoy it as best we can and count our blessings!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Springtime California Travels

This is a time of many changes!  The Canadian Snowbirds are all heading home earlier than the normal time this year.  A pandemic has disrupted the whole world so it is time to get home.  The drive to get home doesn’t vary much from last year, other than knowing what is going on out there; the weather, usually sunnier, is the biggest difference in Southern California.

Windmills in Coachella Valley
The sun is shining, as is usual as we leave the Coachella Valley.  I-10 passes through the windmills, which easily outnumber the palm trees in the valley.  Traffic is fairly light at midday and our travels home have begun.  My camera is ready to jump into action at any time as the plan is to chronicle the whole trip home.  Have I done this before?  Guilty! but I still enjoy doing it!

Snow in the clouds
The mountains in Southern California often get snow and this is no exception.  It may be here later than normal with the current weather conditions and it does add interest for the photos.  I think that snowy mountains are my favorite photos, or at least one of my favorite.  The terrain through the mountains is interesting, too.  We headed north at San Bernadino on I-215 onto I-15 where we passed this mountain range.

Mojave Desert
The drive through the Mojave Desert after leaving Barstow looks pretty dark.  Weather forecasts rain and we do see it in the distance, but hopefully we will avoid it.  There were several new miles built over the past couple of years on this freeway, which is a definite improvement.  Our truck allows us to feel most bumps in the road so new construction is always appreciated.

Black clouds ahead
More black clouds ahead and we did drive through that downpour ahead.  So deceiving with curves and corners of the road, which there are very few of on this stretch, but enough to take us over to that big black raincloud.  Just a quick pass through, enough to wash some bugs and dirt off the windows.

Mojave Air and Space Port
Curiosity wins.  I had to google this!  This is an “airplane boneyard” or graveyard for those planes that are retired from their services.  It is also storage for the surplus and has been used as that for many years.  No more guesswork, although we were darn close, now we know what we’re looking at.

Tehachapi Pass
This is my favorite part of this drive today.  We have passed through Tehachapi and are now descending the Tehachapi Pass, although that is a misnomer as the actual ‘pass’ is only a small part of this.  We are now on our way towards Bakersfield.  The railway tunnel is part of the tracks that connect to the Tehachapi Loop, a feat built many years ago by the Southern Pacific Railroad.  It allows the train to climb the elevation and any train over 1200 metres (4000 ft) will pass over itself going over the loop.  The Loop is not visible from the highway but several of the many tunnels are.
Hwy 223
Before we reach Bakersfield we leave this road to travel towards I-5, where we will join that freeway to continue on our day.  This is a short drive through to a small town of Arvin situated in a valley of many vineyards and orchards.

Storm looming
Now that is a very big black cloud ahead of us!  The rain and showers get more now that we’re on the freeway.   Traffic is still light so the big exodus of Canadians is still not too conspicuous, but we have seen some RV's and license plates from BC heading north.  The freight trucks are still doing their job with plenty of them on the road.

California orchards

We pass several citrus orchards on this part of the travels.  This orchard is still covered with its’ winter coat to protect the fruit.  Blooming time shouldn’t be too far away.  We are usually either too early or moving too fast to see much on these trees situated south of San Francisco on I-5. 

We are heading towards Redding, CA to meet friends on the same travels as we are, we’ve booked accommodations and will spend our first night here on the road home.


Related Posts with Thumbnails