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.

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