Friday, October 23, 2009

California motor home tour part 8

After leaving the New Hogan Lake Reservoir
  • campground late, we ended up at bustling and prosperous Modesto California
  • and our overnight stop, in the long mall 'near' the 24 hour busy basic Walmart store. Ernest and Julio Gallo (wines) came to fame in this fertile valley. Modesto also was the home of 'young' George Lucas.

    Recalling his teenage years there, prompted him to do a film about his early environment. American Graffiti
  • was a hit. George Lucas became a hit. Harrison Ford ('Falfa', black 55 Chevy) became a hit. Many of the young actors and actresses went on to fame and fortune including Suzanne Summers as the mysterious blond in the white T bird. The song Green Onions
  • by Booker T and the MG's, became even more popular after 'the Race' scene. Modesto never let Lucas film there, he had to film in Petaluma. Modesto nonetheless in true California political spin, celebrate American Graffiti as their accomplishment.

    This pleasant overnight stop in the Kohl's parking lot, introduced us to the McCoy's. RV Full timers for 13 years. He is a former building contractor, businessman, self educated Independant
  • Preacher that is truly 'In the Word'. No 'feel good' (false) Emergent Church
  • preaching like so many popular celebrities of today. We spent the evening in fellowship and discussion at their motor home.

    McCoy told of his family burial plot at Kelseyville California. Ironic to followers of The Legendary American 'Family Feud' history
  • is the fact that the 'Hatfields' are buried right next to his MCoy family. Must have followed each other from Kentucky. :>) His wife's family is from our west Texas state line town, Tatum NM.

    McCoy told a story about the blacks that were getting shot in battle more than the whites. Whenever the order was given, to "Get Down", "they all got up and started Dancing". (American joke, not fully understood by all)
    Arizona side notes:

    The McCoys winter, dry camping 20 miles from the Colorado river in the Bureau of Land Management, Public desert near Quartzite Arizona
  • with many hundreds of thousands (millions?) of other 'Snowbirds'.

    The desert floor, covered in hundreds of thousands of motor homes and camping trailers, looks like white sugar cubes were strewn about, when viewed from atop the mile high terrain to the north, coming from tourist ghost town, Jerome Arizona
  • The main crossroads of Quartzite (I-10 and State rd 95) have a limited number of RV parks with full hook-up facilities. Reservations are a necessity to obtain one of these valuable seasonal sites 'in town'.

    During the winter, many specialized shows and entertainment venues visit Quartzite. It is NEVER lacking in things to do. The Quartzite 'Flea Market Faire' is well known for it's huge size and diversity of wares, food and services. This is also a reserved affair to get the best section of the 'checkerboard maze'. Take a set of two-way radios so that you can find each other after your feet tire of the miles of walking through these 'city blocks' of well plotted tent booths.

    The desert dry camping is basically free after paying a minor fee for BLM access recreational use. There are water tankers and holding tank (honey) pumpers to service the hundreds of thousands of 'Boondocking' campers on demand.

    Cultural Cuisine snacks are always available from enterprising vendors. This impromptu city of many hundreds of thousands (million) of temporary residents, disappears as soon as the weather starts to warm. The 'Snowbirds' then take flight back to their northern places of origin, from which they had fled at the first sign of winter. This mass exodus, leaving tiny Quartzite to return to it's basic population of around a hundred hearty souls. The flaming, desert summer heat will fry any human body into a piece of dried meat similar to Jerky.

    Leaving our interesting Modesto California overnight stop, not far from a great Goodwill store, and heading south from Stockton California
  • beginning of the amazingly engineered California Aquaduct
  • near Sacramento's 'reverse' (rare) Delta, then southeast onto California State Route 99
  • across endless irrigated, highly productive, valley farmland and countless miles of vineyards in various stages of precision management.

    This is a major North/South California interconnect between dozens of small towns, serving the agriculture communities, toward busy, industrious Bakersfield California
  • Turning East onto California State Route 58
  • This nations breadbasket is more like the produce capital of the world, providing over 25% of the nations food. A super market of unimaginable, year around variety and volume, without which our nation could ever survive.

    The story of this fertile, well managed area, was told and politically exagerated in Grapes of Wrath
  • by Steinbeck (Hollywood movie followed). Most of the desperate starving masses from The Dust Bowl
  • (a manmade ecological disaster) immediately left and went where the weather was warm enough to sleep with minimal shelter.

    A highly productive place where limited food and jobs were available. Smart move if you were tough enough. The inability of the farms to immediately assimilate 200,000 of the massive influx, was of course political reason to blame The Farmers for the conditions in the drifters and immigrants own 'Refuge Camps' (like the inner cities of today). Those that were talented, survived by their wits, and eventually became prosperous. Their descendants are among the 'Old Settler' families of today.

    The story of those truly courageous, unbelievably tough and resourceful people, is told here. These are the people that 'Settled' this fertile land, and Made it a State, preparing it for the rest of the folks to come to, live and prosper. Their story is somehow forgotten in our 'Freedom and Equality for all', 'Taken for Granted' society. The California Trail

  • I sincerely doubt anyone of today's average intelligence could survive this Journey of Opportunity and Hope, through incredible risk and hard work..

    Today every imaginable type of food is grown here with the meticulously engineered water system, rationing the precious drops of water to each plant's and tree's root system. The huge canals, fed by Dams high in the mountains, alternately fill and drain as the life giving seasonal moisture is available.

    The countless millions of nut and fruit trees, vineyards included, are carefully removed when old, replaced with new, rotated and intermixed in a system designed to keep the land managed in positive financial productivity at each stage of it's use. The fertilizers are carefully monitored and rationed due to cost, to provide only the barest necessity directly at the plants root system. This food growing miracle has to be seen to comprehend. It would take a lifetime to just basically understand it's major engineering aspects. The California Central Valley

  • There are those in Congress and other Political powers including administrations appointees, that would raise taxes on the farm land, impose stringent regulations (water limits) on the farms, forcing selling of the land, promote housing and a huge population influx, at the cost of the fertile valley farmland, to obtain even more votes (political power) from the populace. All in the name of having more clear, fresh mountain water available to flush toilets with nice clean, clear fresh water, for the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    ANY Bloviating, Pandering, politician including his/her misguided political party, that tries to destroy this engineering miracle, is to be run out of office at election time. This fragile section of the USA which grows 25% of the food consumed in our USA, is crucial to your own life as well as future generations. Private enterprise, profit and constant innovation is what drives this amazing food machine.

    Leaving this immense fertile California Central Valley toward the east, on California State Route 58, climbing the pass through the mountainous Sierra Nevada's toward Mohave, Boron and Barstow California
  • is always a lower gear event for miles and miles (hours). These seasonally arid desert mountains are really a chain series of volcanic rock, uplifted rock hills covered with a thin, fragile soil and native golden grasses this time of year. The Golden State gets it's name from this picture perfect, golden landscape, stretching to the horizons.

    Barstow, also a major rail terminal, is at the junction of highways California State Route 58
  • I-15
  • I-40
  • Three Large shopping malls were developed on highway I-15 coming from San Bernadino. Their location is about 3 miles (4.8km) southwest of Barstow. Basically only Tanger, the latest one is left, It's parking is within the vast open 'C' shape of the store layout. This popular design seen across America, seems to be more attractive to the shopping public. The other two poorly designed layouts of Barstow Malls, are virtually abandoned.

    The huge vacant parking lots located far behind (poor design) the abandoned Barstow Malls, are sometimes used for overnight parking like we do when traveling from destination to destination. The red lettered signs posted, read 'No Trespassing'. This always makes my co-pilot navigator nervous, but a short prayer clears us of fret. No overambitious security guard ran us off on this night. The desert wind subsided after dark, we slept well.

    Morning gave us the opportunity to refuel at Love's Travel Stop
  • nearby, then drive the Jeep into town for breakfast at the big Barstow Station
  • fast food facility. McDonalds, Quizno's, Panda and Mexican food courts are busy serving bus loads of tourists. Interesting complex due to the several large, restored rail passenger cars used as dining rooms, built into and around the unique train station design. Barstow was and still is, a major rail hub. The historic Harvey House
  • is now a city complex and museum. My wife's 'colorful' aunt, was a Harvey Girl here and elsewhere, during it's famous past with movie stars and personalities staying in the hotel and traveling through.

    Needles California
  • is pretty sparse and summertime HOT, not a lot of action, other than the Colorado River, survival and replenishment services to tourists passing through. We searched for on the GPS, and found a small baseball park named after a distant relative.

    Fuel in California is higher in cost, than in Arizona. If possible, wait until you are across the state line to fuel up. Several times the cost was posted at way over $3 dollars per gallon in highly taxed, regulated and restricted California, while the national average was $2.48. Arizona fuel, was at $2.45 per gallon (3.8 L) in Lake Havasu Love's on I-40.

    Lake Havasu Arizona
  • we stayed at the old vacant shopping mall where Walmart used to be located. It's old site unoccupied, now is relocated 5 miles (8km) north in a new Mall, 12 miles (19km) south of I-40. The nearly vacant now Big Lots Mall was really quiet. The prayer worked for the previous nights stay, so we needed it again on this night. I walked a few miles around our overnight 'campsite' after dusk, checking out the area camping trailer and boat dealers. Lots of them in Lake Havasu area.

    Mostly high performance Hot Boats with 'devil may care' names like 'Hell Bitch' along with numerous deck and party boats. This is a devil may care, destination for the sexually active, 'alcohol soaked', young and reckless, during spring break from schools. The summer heat will burn away the top layer of skin on the human body leaving a layer of wrinkled old leather to last the rest of your life. Winter, early spring and fall are the only humane times to come here for recreation.

    Morning started our drive across the desert climb toward Flagstaff Arizona
  • This desert is, at times covered in brightly colored blooming cactus. Fuel economy really suffered on the climb through this scenic mountainous desert. Williams Arizona
  • is the site for catching the trains to the Grand Canyon. Never miss any opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon. Now 'that' is a massive ecological disaster with totally uncontrolled erosion decimating the landscape in every direction. Some previous government administration, really dropped the ball in preventing this scar exposure of the most ancient core rock on this earth. Places where The Great Unconformity
  • is exposed. 1.2 Billion years of earth's geologic history, 25% is missing? Flagstaff topped out at 7,300 feet altitude with snow already capping the mountain nearby. Sam's Club fuel was at $2.40, so topped off for final run to Albuquerque.

    As you drive along this modern I-40 and Cal I-15 to San Bernadino, watch for old pavement to either side, much narrower than the interstate, going over hills and down through dry arroyos with old narrow bridges. This stretch of I-40 and southwest on I-15 is also parallel to the old Historic Route 66
  • stretching from Chicago, through St Louis Missouri like The Song Rt 66
  • On through "See Amarillo, and Gallup New Mexico", "Winslow Arizona, don't forget Winona", Barstow, San Bernadino. Many access points are posted so that the true history explorer can drive on that historic pavement and view the remains of long lost and abandoned gas stations, with hundreds of old decaying roadside attractions, all across the western half of this nation. Experience this historic ambiance before it all disappears into the mists of the past.

    Do not miss the scenic desert loop highways. Highways featuring Meteor Crater, off the highway near the colorful Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest with it's giant solid rock logs strewn about. Volcanic cinder is mined from ancient volcanic cones, to mix into the highway topping. This accounts for the reddish tint to many Arizona highways featured in magazines, still seen today.

    One more overnight at the newest Walmart in Gallup New Mexico
  • Old one is still on the GPS, (need latest update from Garmin).
    While there, we ate some good McDonalds wrap snacks, for late afternoon and breakfast. We could count on our one hand, the number of non-native Americans shopping and working in that huge store. Gallup is truly 'The Indian Capital' of America. Nights sleeping fine, not noisy, no 'boom boxes', but a few dozen long trains rolling through, across the I-40 from where we parked. Large trucks and motor homes totaled about two dozen vehicles near our area that night. Fuel economy averaged over 10 mpg from Flagstaff on the trip into Albuquerque. Not bad for the trip totals we experienced climbing through the incredibly scenic, mountainous western states of the USA.

    Home in ABQ and one last fuel fill with additives to store the vehicle in the 'ready state'. We had stopped and drained the holding tanks at the Flying J outside ABQ. While there, we gave a heavy shot of soap water into the black water tank to 'slosh flush' it clean on the drive home for storage. Drained and power rinsed it into our own dump tube into our home system. This finally cleaned and freed up the internal tank rotating power sprayer.

    Removed the anode plug and flushed out the hot water tank deposits with a self designed cleaning wand. With the navigators help, blew out the water lines with compressed air for winter storage. Unloaded the coach of all clothing and food. Now the oil change and lube I do myself. Next I do the wash and wax for the winter. Next trip is in the spring, so we will be ready after the weather warms up in Texas. Looking forward to the next trip now. Planning options already underway (Motor Home magazine) no matter where or when we eventually go.

    At home now, sorry our 'reality show' is ended. Great trip of 5 1/2 weeks and 3,700 miles, across our (western portion) great nation. 24-7 worth of countless long trains, double stacked with huge containers, and 24-7, endless thousands of big trucks also loaded with whatever we consume, rolling like a chain of ribbons, across the.... 'always under construction'....interstates.

    Everything is still functioning as it always has.... "So long as no one tinkers with the controls"..., This fantastic free enterprise nation has an 'auto-pilot' that is always visible whenever we travel. It throttles itself like a well engineered machine.

    California efficiently grows everything for the hungry masses and the transport system delivers the goods. People are not starving, matter of fact we saw happy fat people on this trip just like always before. Times are still great, We will survive the 'politicos' like we always have. The USA is worth keeping and fighting for. This years 'Research' trip is done. Spring trip is just around the corner (winter corner) Hang in there.

    Turn off the 'mind altering' TV. Read between the lines in your daily news Spin. Contact your Senators and Representatives often to remind them of your concerns. Travel and see our USA first. The rest of the world can wait.........and wait......and wait..... :>)
    "One Nation Under GOD" The United States of America.

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