Part 19: Crescent City, CA to San Diego, CA


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The Trip

We stayed the night at a "normal" RV part in Crescent City, CA.  The next morning, we headed south along U.S.101 to Arcata to see a long-time friend Mark.  We stayed a night and most of the next day and then continued down the coast.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

One interesting attribute of the coastal areas is fog.  It is "cool" in some ways, but it does block visibility.  And, if you are traveling at night it can create a white-knuckle drive out of an otherwise easy road.  We encountered patches of dense fog as we left the Crescent City area and headed south.

The road signs warned about elk, but I have leaned to ignore the warnings.  This time, the sign was right.  I have always wondered how they get teach the elk to do what the signs say.  There was a nice buck  close to the highway.

The herd was resting in the front yard of one of the houses in the area.

The side effect of the herd was that it caused a traffic jam of folks taking photos of the animals.

We encountered many bicyclists on U.S.101.  I fully understand the appeal of a bike road trip.  But, the concept of cars and trucks whizzing past you at 60 mph only inches away gives me the creeps.

The highway passed coastal lagoons that had nice reeds.  We stayed with our buddy Mark at his place in Arcata and had an awesome dinner at a local Italian bistro.  Late the next day, we motored south and then inland into the Coast Range.  We stayed at Grizzly Creek and then continued our trip to the east toward the central valley.  Passing over the Coast Range was very slow going and the road had steep grades.  Finally, we made it to the I-5 corridor and headed south into the Sacramento area where we stayed at a KOA.  KOA usually has nice facilities, but is always pricey.  This one in West Sacramento was no exception.

From Sacramento, we headed toward Mariposa to see our unimog friends John and Glori.  We took a winding route that took us through the communities along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  Outside of Sonora, we passed this cross-country team from the local high school hoofing it along the highway

Further south we passed this significant mine right next to the road.  The foothills area is sometimes referred to as "Gold Rush" country due to the gold rush of 1849 when gold was discovered near Sutter's Mill.  The Gold Rush changed the west forever.

Further south we spotted this sign.  Unlike the coastal areas, the foothills are nearly always dry and fire is an ever-present danger.

Why the burning permits were suspended.  This fire was clearly caused by a smoker tossing his lit cigarette but out the car window.

The foothills of the Sierra have real rivers that drain the winter snow melt.  Many reservoirs have been constructed over the years both to control flooding and to provide water in the dry months.  Above is a small portion of New Melones reservoir.

A number of bridges were constructed to allow passage over the reservoir.

Further south, we passed the Moccasin Powerhouse that is part of the Hetch Hechy project.

We wound our way through the hills on a steep narrow road.  CA 49 gave the truck a workout, but offered some great views.  Above is another reservoir we passed.

We passed a number of road construction gangs that caused us significant delay.

Near Mariposa, we passed yet another fire fighting base used by helicopters.  This base had 2 Sky Cranes and plenty of ground support equipment.  We spent the night with John and Glori in Mariposa and headed out the following morning.

We passed many, many fire engines south of Mariposa.  Some were oncoming, some passed us and others were at the side of the road.

We continued to see these rigs for several hours.

We continued south along CA 99, then east over the Tehachapi Pass.  The rolling grasslands were an interesting contrast to the oak tree covered hills we had passed earlier in the day.

Further up Tehachapi Pass, we encountered one of many freight trains traveling up the famous Tehachapi Loop grade.  The tracks cross over themselves in a loop due to the steep terrain.

In addition to the Loop, the Tehachapi area is also famous for its wind farms.  The wind blows strong and frequent in this area and the ridge lines of the hills were crowded with windmills. Note the very large mill in the center of the photo above.

Most of the mills were of nominal size, but they did come in small, medium and large sizes.

Most of the ridges of Tehachapi Pass were covered in structures.

Further east near Boron, CA we passed significant infrastructure associated with the borax mines.  U.S. Borax was sold to Rio Tinto mining, but they still use the Twenty Mule Team Borax brand.  From Boron, we headed south to Hesperia, CA to see another mogger, Norm.

We had a nice dinner with Norm and Mary and got a chance to see his current  projects.  The following day, we headed south along I-15 to San Diego.  Once we saw the V-22 Osprey aircraft, we knew that we had made it back home.

The V-22 training facility is run out of MCAS Miramar and we passed this bird doing go-arounds near the base.

We had a great time on this trip, but it was nice to return home.  We actually cut the trip short to meet the new owner of my 1300L and provide him a briefing on the truck's care and feeding.

My neighbor had been caring for the house in our absence, so things were in great shape.  The 1017 ran well and only had a few minor issues during the trip.  The primary issue, the clutch master cylinder, was a known problem before we departed and I had parts shipped "down the road" and we installed the parts at Rob and Erin's place.  The fuel issue we encountered at NWMF was simply that the primer pump had come loose and allowed air into the fuel lines.  The fix was as easy as re-tightening the handle.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2011, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.