Drive to the Sea

Sunset at the Oasis

When we left Furnace Creek in Death Valley, at six this morning, it was 93 degree. The temperature would climb whenever we sank in altitude and dive again whenever we climbed the next hill. We crossed two lesser mountain ranges, before we eventually exited the park and ran straight into the wall that is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These mountains forced us to detour south to Bakersfield, home to the movie, American Graffiti.

There is a canyon that runs from Mojave in the high desert down into Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. 58 runs through it and along it are hundreds of windmills. I drove this route fifteen years ago. There are way more of them now than then. There were also more solar farms than I’ve ever seen before. I am hearten by this.

“Maude! Is the sun out tonight? Was the wind blowing today? Because, I’d like to watch TV tonight. If the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing, how am I going to be able to watch TV?”

“Harold, you stupid twit, there are these things called batteries. Now shut up and hand me the remote, there will be no Fox TV tonight. Bless you, Jesus!”

After Bakersfield, we soon rejoined our regular route from LA through the valley to Monterey, past a construction jam around Lost Hills, where there are no hills. I guess that’s why they’re lost. We mourned James Dean’s demise, at the intersection of his crash. I hung a right at Paso Robles and ran up the 101 to Salinas, then west on 68 to Monterey, Dad, Chris and home.

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