From Fallbrook, CA to Corvallis, OR

Tonight I’m sitting on a very promisingly soft bed at the Hilton Garden Inn by OSU in Corvallis, OR.  This will be the last time I’ll see my daughter for several months, which is a heartache I just can’t get used to, but that’s a mother’s plight.  The trip took 9 hours yesterday and 7.5 hours today.  My hinder is quite angry with me.

We traveled Hwy 5 the entire way.  Because of the late rains, the hills and mountains through Southern California were covered with

Velvety mountains

a green velvet that accentuated their worn contours.   

Up through the Angeles National Forest there were clouds touching the hills, and we could see some snow on the Tehachapi Mountains from Tejon Pass.   This was big deal for San Diego residents like us.  If only we knew then what we’d be driving through later!  Of course the bright yellow Runaway Truck Ramp signs, 

Runaway Truck Ramp

 made large enough one would suppose for truckers who are desperately tugging at their emergency brakes on icy, twisty mountain slopes to see with one wild glance, give drivers of small cars a wonderful feeling of adventure.

Hungry Valley

Once over the Grapevine we entered the long stretch of Central California where mostly almonds and wine grapes are grown.  There are many other crops as well, such as olives and rice, but these are the most evident. 
Grapes
At first we passed some oil wells, 
Oil rigs
with the monster bird-like  extractors tipping up and down.  Then there were miles of crops.  Miles upon miles upon miles of crops.  Acre upon acre upon acre of crops.  It is an awe-inspiring sight.
All the waterways, ponds, rivers, ditches, etc. were filled with water, which was a very good thing for these farmers desperate for water.  I couldn’t help but think about how permaculture could help with the fields of nut and fruit trees and vines.  The ground under the trees were almost bare dirt; I can’t give it the name soil.  Having them clear allows for machinery to get through the rows to spray and harvest. 

Almonds

 What if the trees were underplanted and not crowded?  A harder time of harvesting, and not as many trees per acre. However the lessening cost of water as the soil deepened and the lack of need to purchase and apply pesticides and herbicides must balance it out.  We did pass one plantation where there were lots of weeds under the trees, but whether it was organic or just not seen to yet I don’t know.  It still didn’t practice permaculture.

We made it past San Francisco, just getting a glimpse of the towers of the city.  I attended school at UC Berkeley back in the early 80’s and visited the City several times and have wanted to go back.  Especially back to the bakeries in Chinatown where they had these incredible steamed buns filled with a green melon-flavored jelly that was – obviously – memorable.  We drove until just before Mount Shasta, which we couldn’t see because of the clouds.  Stopping for dinner at Black Bear Diner in Willow, we decided to go across the street to the Travelodge and make it a day.  Tired, headachy and eyesore, there was no way at 7 pm that we were going to drive another seven hours that night.  And, no reason to.

More on the trip tomorrow, for tomorrow morning will be an early one to begin the trip back. 

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