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Tom Travels Day 11, Driving to Los Angeles

November 3, 2010

I retired because

There was a funny little story I forgot to mention earlier…You know when you leave on a trip, for the first 20 minutes after departure you can’t help but think about any items you left behind. Did I pack my favorite pair of jeans? My toothbrush? A magazine I bought to read? All my shoes? Well, after departing several different cities, I stopped thinking about all the stuff I could have left behind; it was inefficient use of my time. Unfortunately, a few hours after leaving Vegas, my friend sends me a text, “You left a plastic bag with shoes in it.”

Damn! All my shoes, except a pair of beat up sandles. I was going to allow fate the chance to let me get away with using just these sandles for the rest of the trip. But on the very next day I was on the Apache Trail mostly driving, but some hiking, and by noon I knew I’d have to buy a new pair of shoes PRONTO. We stopped at Shoe Carnival and I purchased two new pairs of shoes. Being in a phase of adding new experiences to my life and expanding my boundaries, I convinced myself it was time to veer away from the norm. So I bought these shoes at Buy 1 Get the 2nd Pair 1/2 OFF:

Red Reeboks

Downtown Phoenix (best pic I could get)

I left Chandler, AZ around 10am and drove right by downtown Phoenix. The weather was a chill 75F and a few scattered clouds. I anxiously awaited the drive ahead of me, my first desert experience, The Mojave Desert. Most of the drive consisted of long stretches of open land with the ubiquitous view of mountains in the distance, 3 hours of the drive looked like this:

The Arizona Desert

 

The Arizona Desert II

The scenery over the 6 hour drive was splendid! Even though there was plenty of boring desert, there were a few sites that caught my attention, such as the Delorian from Back to the Future (check out the license plate):

 

The Delorian on I-10

I saw my first “Blowing Dust Area” sign:

 

Blowing Dust Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

and I caught the 3:10 to Yuma:

 

Yuma, AZ is just 2 miles away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also drove by the largest nuclear generating facility in the United States, in Palo Verde. You could see the steam stacks from miles away:

 

Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant (to the right)

 

 

 

 

 

I made it to California and had no delays at the checkpoint. I can’t recall a time at an airport or any other check point when I was stopped. Apparently I don’t look dangerous to others.

I-10 into California

 

 

 

 

Not long after I entered into Cali, this sign appeared:

 

California State Prison

 

Who would ever pick up a hitchhiker?

 

 

 

 

Eventually the desert came to an end and straight in front of me was a large mountain range that I’d be driving into, the San Jacinto Mountains to the south (left) and the San Bernardino Mountains to the north (right), as seen here:

 

San Jacinto meets San Bernardino Mountains

Take a 1-minute look as I drive towards the ranges. Soundtrack by Gareth Emery – Sanctuary

A few other pics:

 

The San Jacinto Mountains

San Jancinto Mountains II

 

Do you notice the haze blanketing the mountains? It was quite the natural spectacle to see; this whole region has a lot to offer–nature at its best. Like the dam I saw a few days earlier, the clouds accumulated on one side and trickled down the other. This dam of clouds blocked all moisture and created the desert I just drove through. You can see it perfectly here, it looks like snow capped peaks:

 

The San Jacinto Cloud Dam

The other natural spectacle was the wind created by the pass between the mountain ranges. Coastal winds are drawn into the hot desert region creating an ideal place for a wind farm. I stopped at the In-N-Out Burger to take a few pictures, and had trouble opening my car door due to the high winds. The largest of the turbines is 300 feet tall and generates over 1000 kilowatts of power per hour. Here are some pics of the wind farms:

The Gorgonio Pass (located behind the billboard in this pic)

Wind Farm at San Gorgonio Pass

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm

There was nothing very spectacular about the rest of the drive. A few more hours and I eventually arrived in Los Angeles,

Downtown Los Angeles

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