Literally the day before I started back to Oregon, I noticed for the first time how the trunks of the citrus trees lining one of the boulevards in Sun City West were all painted white. I’d driven by them before, but it’s always the case you don’t see something really obvious until it’s too late, right? Or nearly too late. I decided to stop on my way out of town.
I was telling somebody how the drive down to Arizona went by really quick…it’s about 1250 miles and I did it in 3 days. But I wanted to take an extra day on the way back at each stop to break it up a little more because I know how it starts to drag. And it gave me a little extra time to catch up with a few friends I haven’t seen in a while.
This is the town where I grew up. Highland, California. It’s the last town you go through as you begin the trip up the highway that leads to Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake. It used to be mostly orange groves. Now you can marvel at its pristine air quality.
This is Mrs. Vickers’ tree. She was an old lady in my neighborhood that used to give us candy when we went to her door. She moved out…died?…a long time ago, but my house was about 3 or 4 doors down from hers. And yes I’m on the freeway here. And no, that freeway wasn’t always there. When I was a teenager, it came through and pretty much devastated a lot of businesses in Highland. And definitely devastated my neighborhood. Which is why this is the only shot I bother to take of it these days.
The central California valley isn’t too scenic. It’s straight, flat, lots of agriculture lining the interstate, and that’s pretty much it. But years ago I worked in San Luis Obispo for 6 weeks. I actually commuted there on weekends from Riverside for the work week. I made the drive up and cut across on SR46 (the road that took James Dean) quite a few times, and always passed by this little town called Lost Hills, just a few miles west of Interstate 5. The only distinguishing thing about it, besides its name, is the oil field. It’s just kind of an odd place to see hundreds of oil rigs.
I think I’ve made this trip 4 out of the last 6 years. Every time I say its the last. And every time I thought about stopping, but it was always midday with flat light, so I never did. Well, I finally decided to take a few photos of the Lost Hills oil field.
Back on the 5 and this is pretty typical.
Always the random large object being transported on the highway.
I was happy to see Shasta Lake was full again. The past few years had seen it drop to unprecedented low levels.
And as is always the case, I end the trip just being happy I’m not that bug splattered on my windshield. I complain about it every time, swearing I won’t do it again, but I’m lucky to be able to make this drive. I always ask myself if I’m missing a lot of photo opportunities by not taking more time, but maybe that’s just another excuse I need to keep doing it over and over again.
Anyway, back in Eugene now. Had a beautiful start to summer yesterday, but it’s now supposed to rain for the next week. I thought I had timed my return perfectly, but the NW weather is notorious for holding out as long as it can.
It’s good to be back.