Saturday, February 18, 2012

California Sunset · 365 Project

California Sunset by Rondi Aastrup · 365 Project

California sunsets are vastly different from what I'm used to in Arizona. I don't know if it's a combination of smog and sun, but they are differently beautiful I think. I made the 5 hour trek from Phoenix to Loma Linda this afternoon to spend the weekend with my nice, nephew, sister, and brother-in-law. The latter three are coming out from Boston, so we'll have a nice little reunion for a few days.

The trip was uneventful. Usually I snatch photos (usually through a dirty window) of the scenery as I whiz by, but this time I focused on some of the funny signs I saw along the way. I didn't get them all (my favorite was "Sore Finger Road"), but I got several pretty good ones.

The pictures are shown backwards here, from Redlands, CA to Phoenix, AZ.  The first two show the sunset when it finally became comfortable to drive.  There were long moments when the road was aiming directly at that setting sun and the road was literally a river of orange and gold.  Beautiful, but extremely difficult to drive in.  What had been 70 mph traffic slowed down to 60 mph (thankfully for me!) until the road curved away for awhile.  Then it would pick up again until the next time we were in the direct path of that brilliant, but potentially dangerous, sunset.

The windmill picture is taken as I was driving through the "Palm" cities:  29 Palms, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs.  I don't remember now which one this is.  Doesn't matter.  Along the highway, they all have these windmills whirring at various speeds.

Depending on which part of which state you're in, you are either crossing "ditches" or "washes."  Many of them have funny names, like this one:  "Rubble" ditch.  Some are more descriptive than others, often recording disappointments or victories relating (I suspect) to gold mining.  The one that made me laugh out loud?  "Mud Ditch."  Nothing like stating the obvious.

I couldn't capture them while driving (and through my very dirty side windows), but in certain areas, you are bound to see dozens of little dust whirls.  I don't know what they are really called, but this sign warns you to be careful of the dust and wind.  I've not experienced any driving trouble from anything I've seen in the half dozen or so trips I've taken on this route (#10), but the little swirls of dust that zip over the desert are kind of amusing to see...and kind of cool, too, as you're actually seeing how the wind works--the invisible becomes visible through the dust!

I always stop in the little town (too small to be a city from my perspective) of Quartzsite.  It's about 25 miles from the AZ/CA border.  There's not much to it except it seems to be very big on RV vehicles and equipment.  There are several businesses competing with each other on both sides of the highway.  And then there are several campgrounds along either side as well.  Personally, these places do not fit my definite of campsite AT ALL.  One is right in the town, with RVs jammed one on top of the other.  I can't imagine who would give up their home space for that!  And then there are the others, where there is miles (not quite, but a lot) of space in between campsites...but the RV or tents are just sitting in the middle of nothing, with nothing to look at, nothing to give you privacy, nothing to do...  Boggles my mind...  Perhaps there is something I don't know, can't see from my limited perspective on the highway.

The picture above and the next two pictures here are from the town itself. They sell a lot of flags...not the state or US flag, but flags that advertise stuff.  And I don't know the appeal of salt-free water, or the need for it...never thought of water as having salt in the first place, but it seems like a big deal here.  Interested me...

Then there's the jerky.  For miles before I came to the town, there were signs advertising "Really Good" beef jerky.  Being vegetarian, I don't understand its popularity, but this town seems to have the answer to anyone's jerky cravings!

The first place I stopped is about an hour into my trip.  Yesterday, I stopped because I was so sleepy I thought I was going to need a nap.  Instead I got out and walked around and was surprised to see signs for poisonous snakes and insects!  I didn't see any that day.  Guess I'm glad, although it would have been cool to have pictures of such things in the wild instead of in captivity the way I've always seen them before.

I want to say the place is called "Burnt Mill" but that might just be my imagination or faulty memory.  It's a nice rest stop, though, with interesting information about the desert flora and fauna as well as maps and such.

The last picture in line comes out of Phoenix advertising a Tattoo Exposition.  I can only imagine what that might mean!!!  Alas, I will not be quenching my curious thirst for knowledge at this Exposition!  I may find myself at the Home and Garden Show in a couple of weeks, though.  Much more to my taste!

1 comment:

Trudy Johnson said...

Rondi, In Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas we called them "dust devils"! And Quartzite used to be a mecca for rock hounds. Trudy J.