First, I want to welcome a new follower, OneStonedCrow, whose blog from Namibia I really enjoy.
Then, how about a little road trip? Yesterday morning, I had to run an errand in the small town of Mojave, California, about 20 miles away.
Ever since I moved out west, I have been fascinated with these strangely appealing small western towns. It started in a small Colorado or Texas panhandle town, where on my first trip out west in 1969, I had to use the bathroom. Finding a bathroom there was a very interesting experience. I have forgotten the name of the town, but I'll never forget the flavor and look of the place.
This being California, you don't see many people on the streets, but the buildings are the same, flat-roofed and ugly. The same signs are everywhere: billboards, gas stations, and motels. Driving through these small, almost abandoned-looking, towns, somehow appeals to my sense of adventure. Maybe because they are so very different from anything you see in Europe or on the East Coast.
The Mojave Desert covers a large part of southern California and parts of central California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. It is home to burros, California desert tortoises, sidewinders, Mojave rattlesnakes, scorpions and many other critters designed for a hardy life. Much of the Mojave is high desert country -- 3,000 to 6,000 feet -- but Death Valley, the lowest and hottest place in the US, is also located in this desert.
This was the only place I could stop on the freeway and it didn't have any good views of the desert. But something interesting is in the background. Can you see it?
I bet you never wondered where airplanes go when they die. Well, in the US, they come to the airplane boneyard in the Mojave Desert outside the town of Mojave. Acres and acres of planes, military and civilian, sit on the tarmacs here. Hopefully, you can see some of them in my photo above or click on it to enlarge it.
And if you're interested, you can read more about this boneyard here or you can always Google it, of course. How did we ever find out anything before Google?
I stopped again, not legally this time, and took this photo of our highway cutting through the desert, right before I turned on to it to drive home.
Here are some trucks coming from the weigh-station. They have this weigh-station for trucks going west and another coming up from the San Joaquin Valley, going east. Thousands of trucks come up from the desert or the valley and travel through Tehachapi every day. You can also see the wind turbines, a major industry in these mountains, on top of the mountain in the center.
When a turn-off came up, I pulled off to see if I could find something interesting or pretty to show you. I think I found both: Pretty colors of desert vegetation against a clear blue sky. And then this!
I wonder how long this advertisement has been sitting here. Someone stripped the engine, tires, and everything else that could come off this old truck.
Leaving the empty engine space as a nice-size flower pot for desert plants. I saw a truck like this that was used as a "real" flower pot -- by that I mean people had actually planted stuff in the truck bed -- on OneStonedCrow's blog from Namibia a while back. We have found other old abandoned trucks in the desert around here, but never one with plants growing in it. Read about our hike to the ruins and the old beer truck here.
Before I moved here, I would not have found this beautiful, preferring instead a greener landscape dotted with blue lakes. Now I love it. It's interesting what we can grow to love once we understand a little more about how it all works. And the desert works -- in unusual ways to me, perhaps -- but it works.
Just look at the many colors in this photo!
It's strange and amazing to me that plants and animals can survive and even flourish like this here.
Let's end with a rare sight in the windy mountains of Tehachapi: Wind turbines standing still!
I hope you enjoyed this little excursion to the Mojave Desert and the Tehachapi mountains that border it to the west.
Have a great day!