Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Victorville CA to Three Rivers CA

Tuesday May 22, 2012

We left the neat little motel and decided to look for the #1 Restaurant in Victorville for breakfast…well between the GPS and Virtual Tourist we struck out again in this town. We finally ate at a Denny’s – great breakfast – I don’t recall ever eating breakfast at a Denny’s before. The motel where we stayed was not a chain but a nice clean and rather unique motel run by India Nationals…as are many motels these days. This one was obviously run by a family that cared. The rooms were decorated well and there were flowers and blooming vines everywhere. It was right on Route 66 – so probably an older motel they had updated. Not your usual cookie cutter type motel anyway.

We headed towards Barstow on what is now known as the National Trails Route – Route 66 is painted on the road but a number of the trails including the Butterfield blazed the trail for Route 66!  It followed the river (what there is of it) and the train tracks – you can always bet these two things (rivers and trains) followed the best route! On the way out of town we found one of the café’s we looked for last night and half way to Barstow we found Molly Brown’s Café – the one we were looking for this morning!  So much for technology.

This was a secondary road and in Texas would have been of good quality – here it was literally falling apart in some places. 

We came into Barstow at the intersection where I 40 ends – every truck stop and chain restaurant was there – the first truck stop we went to was out of Diesel Fuel and we stopped at the Flying J where it was $4.23 – this is the most we have paid and interestingly the Diesel is more than the regular gas – that has not been the case previously on our trip.  
Good Road Through Desert
 Barstow is in the heart of the Mohave Desert and the landscape is stark with little in the way of vegetation – mostly flat with high mountains to the east and west.  We head straight west on CA 58 towards Bakersfield.  We expected a boring couple hours but it was anything but boring. First we came upon Boron which was the location of the 20 Mule Team Borax factory. Huge factory with piles of what we can assume is Borax.
Then to our south was Edwards Air Force Base and to our north was China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center, Fort Erwin and Goldstone a major satellite tracking center. So while we were assuming this was the middle of nowhere – much the opposite.  Near Mohave we came upon another huge wind farm. The turbines were on every mountain rim for miles as we climbed through a huge canyon and pass. 

Wind Turbines
   Then the terrain changed completely to high grasslands and we continued climbing – the grass was brown so not certain if that was from lack of water or just the time of the year. The cattle did not seem to mind and we saw many grazing in the highlands. Gradually there were more and more trees among the grasslands – even some fir trees. 
High Plains - beautiful grasses
Then we topped a mountain pass and below us was the valley with Bakersfield ahead. They must grow everything in the San Joaquin Valley. It is known as the Nation's Salad Bowl. The fields were lush and green where they were irrigated. We recognized oranges, lemons, olives, vineyards and when we stopped at a fruit stand we also saw locally grown apricots, plums, almonds, pistachios, English walnuts, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, yams,  - I am sure I am missing something. The fields were beautiful and where the watering stopped plants died.  The irrigated fields reached  to the base of  the mountains – can’t push the water uphill so there is a stark change from the cultivation to the brown grass and trees.  We passed through Bakersfield and headed north to Valencia. 
Citrus Grove - one of many!

Truckload of oranges
 Here we departed from the Butterfield Trail to reach Three Rivers at the southern entrance to Sequoia National Park. There is a huge lake which is full to the brim with snow melt – however the people say it is less than in the past few years. 

We are at an odd little RV park.  There are several groups of kayakers here,  as well as a German Couple, a gentleman next to us has been here a week – just traveling around the country. There are also some permanent families since I saw at least 3 children get of the school bus. I am guessing there are 30 campsites fairly close together but not too bad since maybe 1/3 are empty. We have power and cable TV. We are right next to the bath house and laundry which is good since it is laundry day!  The temperature is in the 80’s but there is a slight breeze and we are under a huge tree.  Just an interesting feel to this place – not 100% touristy like some places and for some reason people seem more  friendly than in a huge park.  

This community has a few gift shops, a small market, several type accommodations and a couple restaurants. There is more here in Three Rivers than we expected. However we have not explored – we got here about 3 and it took us about an hour to get things back in order from having stayed 3 nights in motels.  Then we got into doing the laundry and with only one machine and 10 days worth of dirty clothes it took a while!  We are now settled after eating dinner for writing the blog and watching American Idol Final Competition. There have certainly been some great young people performing this year !

We are only about 5 miles from the entrance to Sequoia National Park so tomorrow we drive through Sequoia and into King’s Canyon National Park. We will have great mountain views and see the giant trees.  We come out somewhere on the north end and will find a place to camp there. 

Nine o’clock and the temperature is down to 72 – so nice….

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