425 miles across the desert
After touring the Hearst Castle & having lunch (hamburgers from Hearst ranch cows, uck! I could not eat mine) we leave the small coastal town of Cambria, starting our trip across the Mojave desert to Las Vegas. It is just about 425 miles away, with a driving time of about 6 hours & 48 minutes.
The clouds are stretched across the blue sky like clean white sheets hanging out to dry on a clear day. I can smell the Ocean. I watch it for a long as I can, twisting around in my seat for a final look. I embrace it like a lover I may never see again. The ocean is in my soul. I love the way the waves playfully nip at my feet as I walk on the velvety sand. How the tide can balance my moods & restore me. The crashing waves keep time with the beat of my heart. The sweet, salty, breeze caresses me & sings me a lullaby that soothes me to my very core. I am at peace & filled with joy. Even when I can no longer see it I can feel it & hear it whisper to me......
Highway 46 East is ripe with vineyards & soon we discover field upon field of almond & pistachio trees lined up like soldiers in rows so straight you could part your hair with them. There are orange & fruit groves flourishing on one side of the road while the other side is deserted & bleak. We cross over Bakersfield which is partially surrounded by three mountain ranges, Temblor Range to the West, Tehachapi to the south & Sierra Nevada to the east. It is also about this point that the landscape starts to change.
There are oil fields......
No more green rolling hills, fruit & nut trees or vineyards, the landscape is now dry & barren & the road seems to lead straight to no where. In the distance we see brown rolling hills with what looks like row upon row of crosses, realizing as we get closer that they are wind farms.
The Mojave is more than 25,000 square miles of barren mountains & flat valleys, it is different from most other deserts due to the fact that there is such a diversity of habitats. Sand dunes in one area, creosote flats, salt encrusted playas, lava fields, Joshua tree forests, & underground caverns. There are a few small towns along the way & of course Edwards Air Force base where the shuttle lands if for some reason it can't make it to Florida. In the city of Mojave there is a parking lot for unused & old commercial airliners which is interesting.
Other than that, there is not much to see.
The sun is a pink puddle in the sky & we are still a long way from Las Vegas!