Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mendocino to Las Vegas

So, we left Mendocino and headed south to Oakland, to avoid the fires burning in the Sonoma Valley.
It was a little rainy when we started out, but the skies cleared some as we drove, and we began to see some really vibrant fall colors.  Fortunately we didn't have any trouble on our route from the fires, but it is so sad that so many people lost houses.  Apparently this fire, like so many of the others that have hit this area of the country, was started by lightning.  With the severe drought conditions and heat they've been having, it's been so hard to get these fires under control.

Spent the first night in Patterson, CA--we found a lovely little RV park right close to the highway--a big plus when we're just stopping for the night.  There was even a nice Mexican restaurant just across the road, so we could walk to it for dinner!  The next day we drove through the Mojave Desert, and spent a night in Boron, CA.  Boron is home to the world's largest borax mine--those of a certain age will remember the TV series, Death Valley Days, a western sponsored by 20 Mule Team Borax and hosted by Ronald Reagan.  Borax was hauled out of Death Valley by wagons pulled by teams of 20 mules from the 1890's until railroads took over, hence the name 20 Mule Team Borax.  There's a museum in Boron all about the borax mining, but alas, we got in too late to go see it!  Other than that, not a lot to see in Boron--the RV park where we stayed was right by a big open field, and, as we sat down to supper that evening we thought we heard someone singing the National Anthem, though not particularly well.  Went outside to investigate and discovered that across the big open field there was a football stadium and a Thursday night game going on--small town America at its finest!  I could see the stands and there was a a very, very small crowd.  For some reason that just struck a chord with me, and for a moment I thought about driving over to watch, but decided against it as we would have had to unhook the tow car and it had been a pretty long day of driving.  Got on the internet and learned that it was a JV game, so likely would not have been too exciting.  Anyway, some pics of this leg of the journey:

Coming out of Mendocino

Pretty hillside cluster of homes on the outskirts of town

Driving through the redwood forest--so gorgeous!
Beautiful house we saw along the way

Starting to see some lovely colors!

We had been concerned about running into heavy traffic coming through Oakland, but it turned out not to be bad at all--whew!
Passed a horse track here, near Oakland

In the Mojave Desert
Saw trucks and trucks of these small tomatoes--wondered about how in the world those at the bottom of the truck could avoid just being crushed into mush, but Trisha's surmise is likely correct--these were destined for processing into tomato sauce or paste.  Just truck after truck, each carrying double trailers full of them.

Here you can see where there had been a fire.

And then we ran into lots of fruit trees.

Amazing what irrigation can do to an otherwise dry landscape, huh?

Saw lots of windmill farms along the way, too

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