We were all up early bustling around getting ready for our next leg of the journey. I often think about the different feelings I have when we pull up stakes to head for a new adventure.
Prior to retirement breaking camp usually had one meaning…….Back to Work and the daily grind. It is so comforting to know that returning to that life style is no longer a requirement.
We planned to leave Napa by 9 am, which has become our ritual, and head south, to even warmer weather and sunnier skies, if that is possible.
Our original plan was to head back to the coast and continue south to Pismo Beach Cal., spend a day or two riding the Oceano Dunes, but the group decided to opt out of more coastal forays, I guess the road from hell cured everyone of windy coastal roads. I guess it could be hard on one’s heart? Apparently as someone pointed out, “we are not as young as we used to be“………what wisdom ….I wish I had thought of that??
So now the plan was to skip Pismo Beach head east to hwy I-5 and then south to Bakersfield, then east through the high desert and then southeast to the Palm Springs area. We knew it was pretty much a two day trip and we are not in a hurry, it is a vacation after all.
If you are heading north or south and are into putting as many miles as possible behind you, I- 5 through central California is the one to take, not much to see, but few towns, no curves and a decent highway. Also not may fuel stops on this stretch.
Highway I-99 however is a bit more scenic with many towns and orchards along the way, but much more traffic. Highway I-99 parallels I-5 from Sacramento to just south of Bakersfield.
I suggested turning east from I-5 at Bakersfield to avoid the long hill (The Grape Vine) over the Tejon pass at 4200 ft. and down into Burbank and then skirting LA via hwy 210, the traffic can be heavy at any time of day. We have traveled that route on a couple of occasions and it’s not too enjoyable.
We turned east off of I-5 at Buttonwillow and followed highway 58 with little traffic. We were soon climbing through the green sparsely treed hills to Tehachapi, a very pleasant drive.
‘H’ & ‘A’ suggested that rather than stay at the K-mart in Tehachapi, as Lynda and I had done on a previous trip, to continue on to a rest area past Mohave near Boron.
I was not too fond of the idea until they shared that there was an area away from the semis and the highway where we could spend the night in relative peace. It was another hour of traveling, but well worth it.
The sun had shone all day pushing the temperature into the 80’s, very pleasant, until we climbed up to Tehachapi and the high desert. The temperature steadily dropped as we climbed and by the time we reached the rest area the sun was dipping over the mountains.
Highway 58 winds it’s way through the mountains, adorned with scattered wind turbines and monstrous giants hovering over the valleys. Quite the site if you have not seen them towering over the valleys creating renewable energy. Some people find them an eye sore, but in this barren country they provide some scenery and food for thought.
The rest area was across highway 58 from the famous 20 mule time borax mine. I had thought of paying a visit to this 100 year old mine, but it was late and no one else mentioned it, I guess I will need to wait for another chance.
Our spot for the night provided a large sandy area off the pavement next to the back fence. We nosed our long rigs toward the fence which still allowed plenty of distance between our back ends and the pavement. Next to us was an older couple headed to their park model trailer at The Fountain of Youth RV Resort near the Salton Sea.
Our usual routine during happy hour on traveling days is to synchronize our GPSs for the next day. The next day’s destination was Cahuila Lake in La Quinta, east of Palm Springs. Our older GPS although updated could not find the lake.
Cahuila Lake had been our first destination 3 years before so I had a pretty good idea of the location and ‘A’s GPS was equal to the task and gave us directions.
We enjoyed a brief happy hour, while recapping the day’s events. It was a pleasantly uneventful day, the only interest was the new stretch of highway 58 just before Bakersfield that raised havoc with our GPS, apparently none of our devices showed the new portion of road. They were frantically directing us to make a ‘U turn” to get back on the road rather than continue driving in no man’s land.
It was fun to laugh at these devices that most often make us humans look a little inept.
A quick dinner and some light reading and then into bed and try to sleep. It seems most of us do not sleep well on traveling days.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it helps with traveling ideas, Watch for my next article on our trip.
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