We left the Mojave Desert yesterday morning and ascended 4000-plus feet through the Tehachapi Pass, then descended into the brilliantly green San Joaquin Valley. Never have I seen the valley so green! A little rain fell as we crossed over the divide, but the valley below was full of sunshine and the huge cumulus clouds in a blue sky created shadows on the hillsides.
We drove through Bakersfield (home of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard of Country music fame) and could smell the garlic in the air. Turning westward on route 46 we passed almond, pistachio, and citrus trees all in blossom. What a beautiful sight! Further west, near Paso Robles. the vineyards bordered the highway as far as eye could see. How green was the valley!
Green indeed, with the exception of the area of Lost Hills, where the Lost Hills Oilfield cast an ugly scar upon the landscape for about ten miles along the highway.
At Paso Robles, we turned northward on US 101. The Salinas River was in flood stage. I’ve never seen that before in my 50 years of traveling to California. Over the last several years driving through some of these drought-stricken areas, there were signs saying: “No water, No jobs!” Some of the orchards of citrus and nut trees had actually been bulldozed down due to the lack of water. Yesterday, those bulldozed fields were full of new tree plantings. Rain has brought the green (new life) back to the San Joaquin and the Salinas Valley.
After 3,415 miles on the road, we have reached our final destination: Monterey. Our son, Paul and his wife, Helen, are also here vacationing. We enjoyed a nice birthday dinner last night on Cannery Row with Cher’s mother (93 years old this month) and with Helen and Paul (whose birthday is also in February). How green is my Valley? Very green!
|Coastal Hwy 1 in 2016--Now closed due to the heavy rains.|