Crossing the Mojave Desert

Trip Start May 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, May 20, 2012

5/20/12 – Well the day began with Beamer helping himself to bacon and eggs and a muffin, which didn't make Steve very happy. After having a few bites of each, I tossed the rest into the trash and headed down the hall to fill our coffee cups for the long ride to Bakersfield. I never gave it a thought. But upon returning, Steve was standing there with a scowl on his face. Beamer had helped himself to my leftovers. Steve was concerned that we would have a sick dog in the car. But the little bugger climbed in, curled up and  went to sleep, and it never fazed him one bit. Beamer certainly makes life interesting. LOL

So, the plan for today was to put in a lot of miles and get close to our ultimate destination, Paso Robles. And we accomplished that.  We got onto the interstate and pointed the car west. When we left Flagstaff at 7:30 AM the temperature was 46 degrees and when we arrived in Bakersfield, CA at 3:30 PM it was 95 degrees.  We gained almost 50 degrees and an hour on the way. And, yes, anyone reading my blog yesterday knows that I got it all wrong on the time changes. But it worked out just fine. I never could understand that stuff.

If you see spots in my photos or blurry foregrounds, it is because I took them all from inside the car, through the smashed bugs on the windshield, as we sped down the highway at 70 MPH. It just was not feasible to stop safely to take pictures.

We drove most of the day through the Mojave Desert. And the only constant was that it was arid and hot. But the landscape changed often.  At first we were looking at sand and dirt with dead or dying scrub. Later it was like sand dunes on a beach, yellow in color with living plant life and some trees.  Later it was golden sand dunes, with swirling patterns caused by the wind.

At 10:18 AM we crossed the Colorado River and into California.  And even when we could not see the river, we knew where it was by the lush green groundcover. As we left the river, we found the trains, once again. And not only did we see the tracks, but we saw the trains…a lot of them, mostly moving west, with flatbeds loaded with semi trailers and containers. And I wished that there had been more trains, because this road was infested with semis and their trailers. And the word for today is TRUCKS. Too many trucks obstructed our views of the right side of the road. Way too many trucks, which made me wish we had decided to take the scenic route as we had done earlier, where there were few trucks and no one to ruin our sight-seeing.

One interesting thing that we saw of note…the graveyard for planes in Mojave, Ca. I had seen this place on TV, and had no idea we would be passing it by today. It was clearly visible from the highway.  And we saw an experimental solar farm, with hundreds of solar panels in rows and columns next to a power plant.  And lastly, we saw was a huge wind farm…hundreds of windmills perched on top of mountain ridges on the mountain pass that took us out of the desert and into the valley on the other side. My research tells me that these windmills service 600,000 homes in Southern California.
The crossing through the mountains was beautiful, with flowing hills, rippled like the surface of a lake on a windy day, followed by smooth hills, lots of them, flowing smoothly together, in many shades of gold and yellow, with dark green trees splattered here and there…such a wonderful contrast of colors.

And finally we were on the other side in a lush green valley with miles of citrus trees and grape vines. I think these are the eating kind of grape, for they were intermingled with the orange trees and there were no wineries to be seen…at least, not from our vantage point.  And, in the fields with the grapes, cohabitating with nature, were oil well pumps, moving up and down, like hammers pounding nails.

And finally we reached our destination. We are now less than 2 hours from Paso Robles…so Rudy, does this mean you lost the pool???

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The Elletts on

Guess your back is holding up. You are so adventurous. What a wonderful trip. Have fun. See you when you return.

Scott on

Wait, you didn't get a photo of a tumbleweed being blown across the highway?

Pat on

Looks like you are having a very informative trip!! I guess you are never to old to learn. Someday I hope Ray and I will take a trip like this.

Phyllis on

way to go guys, it sounds like you had a wonderful time. Look forward to seeing you soon.

sheflysx on

Stay tuned for more updates. We are just getting started. Hope to be seeing you soo, too.

sheflysx on

Ha, ha, ha. Not for not trying. Never saw any.


CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Sounds like you have had an amazing time. Keep the blog coming, we're enjoying it. Beamer is having a good time, too I guess!

Art on

Beamer's Theory: "Any day that starts with bacon and eggs has a better than average chance of being a great day!"

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