Monday, March 12, 2012

Travelogue, Part III

On south from Medford, more mountains. And signs along the lines of "If this light is blinking, chains are required", which is just so encouraging as you head into the Siskiyou Mountains, and one serious mountain pass; even with clear roads I'd hate to try driving that with strong winds. And you'd better be damn sure your brakes are good.

Same goes for some of this range in northern Californicated.

Can't remember too much of this, too busy concentrating on the road and trying to get my ears to clear. Then down out of the mountains and you run by Mount Shasta; one seriously impressive pile of rock. Nearby you have Black Butte; both are something to see as you approach, I promise. Between the others and these two, half of one of my wishes has been fulfilled: I've seen volcanoes, but none had the manners to burp or roll over in bed while we were in the vicinity, so an erupting/active one is still on the list.

After that, just lots and lots of driving on I5. Gas was now in the upper $4 range. And further south... remember some of those 'Congress created dust bowl' signs? Kind of jarring: fields of grown or new-planted trees, then stretches where every tree was dead. Not an encouraging sight.

Somewhere in there we spent the night in a motel, but right now I can't remember the city it was in; kind of depressing to lose a detail like that.

Shortly after that, take a state highway 58 to go from I5 to I40.

Last real thing to note on that stretch: near Tehachapi were two hillsides bloody covered with windmills: bleeploads of small ones, a smaller number of medium, and a few huge ones. Renewable power, right? Except I couldn't help noticing that a good half of them were not running. I'd heard of this, seeing it really brings it home.

One last note about Californicated: they don't recognize OK carry permits. We had sons' carry piece with us, and since Dad has the retired LE nationwide permit he wore it through the state. I was still a bit worried, as CA authorities have a reputation for being assholes on such matters. But neither of us wanted to go through without having something handy, just in case.

On into Arizona, where the gas was upper $4 range, with a few places at $4.99. We managed to miss the worst of those. Lots more signs of past volcanic activity, more pretty country. Dry country; crossing it on horseback or foot would be interesting.

Spent the night in Flagstaff, and being sick of food on buns tried Sizzler; beat hell out of burgers. Then an early start the next morning.


Windy Wilson said...

A road trip would be cool. If I made it up to Eugene I'd have to stop at Rice Hill for an Umpqua ice cream cone.

I can't recall seeing the Tehachapi windmills, but I've seen the ones at Altamont and near Palm Springs on several occasions, and I don't ever recall seeing so many as half of them moving.

Glad you arrived safe and sound.

If you ever feel the need for a California road trip and a lie-down in a dark room doesn't help, Hwy 1 north and Highway 40 south is a good route with a detour through Mt Lassen Nat'l Park. Lassen might have an active steam vent. For sure it has a few mud pots and a lot of ejecta and lava from the 1917 eruption.

Sigivald said...

Somewhere in there we spent the night in a motel, but right now I can't remember the city it was in; kind of depressing to lose a detail like that.

All those little "towns" on 5 in central California are eminently forgettable.

(I've eaten in that Sizzler in Flagstaff after a long day of driving, myself, and it's a welcome change of pace.

Your entire run here reminds me, in large part, of the Portland to Phoenix run for Estrella War.

Probably because most of it's the same route - except I take 395 sound out of the Mojave instead of following 58 to I-40.

The bit through Flagstaff is sightsteeing up or down via Utah and the Grand Canyon.)

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