Exploring California, In Pictures Part I


Of course, I have taken way, way too many pictures of California to squeeze them all into one post, especially with slow wi-fi, so I’m breaking this post into two parts. Today we will focus on the desert, mountains, and agricultural regions, and my next post will feature  the coast. I know, that next part sounds like a lot more fun, but the mountains have their own beauty, so hang with me.

When we first entered California, on I-40, which runs along the edge of Death Valley itself, we weren’t so sure this place would live up to its name. California has a reputation for great beauty and abundant food. Instead, we were just seeing miles of endless mountains and desert. And traffic. And heat.


We got stuck in a horrible traffic jam full of cars with lewd expressions written on their windows in shoe polish. Each of these cars had one slogan in common: “EDC”. After miles of being stuck between these EDC cars in stop and go traffic, we googled ‘edc’ to find out what it meant. Judging by the drawings on the car windows, we knew it wasn’t exactly a church retreat…

It turns out that edc stands for electric daisy carnival, a multi-day party for young people in Las Vegas. Well, that certainly made sense. There were lots of drug arrests and hospitalizations at the event. That probably also accounts for the questionable wardrobes that our eyes are still recovering from….

Let’s put all that behind us. We are now safely tucked far, far away from Death Valley. We have been exploring the coast of mid/north California. It is a place of great beauty and abundant wildlife.

And it’s cold.

Yes, you heard me right. Cold. Mark Twain once said, “My coldest winter was the summer I spent in San Francisco.”

With our household goods in storage until August, I’m going to have to buy each of my little boys a couple of warmer outfits for when they arrive!

It isn’t cold all day long. You have to wear layers. When the wind blows, or your sitting in the shade, you put your jacket on. Then when you step out into the sun, you have to take your jacket off. This happens over and over again.

It’s pretty glorious, really. You get to go to the beach, without drenching yourself in sweat, yet when you are standing in the sun, it’s probably around 75 degrees, and it’s quite glorious!

Pictures of that to come soon. For now, more desert, mountains, and farm land. After all, there is more to California than just beaches and national parks. 😉


This was a giant field of solar power.


“Gateway to Death Valley” Baker, California


Cool, huh?


California Inspection station

Can someone explain to me what this is for? You drive slowly through this thing, and an officer of some kind says, “Keep going” or “Have a nice day” or something, so what’s the point of this station??  My first thought was that maybe it’s to catch illegal immigrants, like the ones we saw in the past, in Arizona and Texas (on I-10), but I didn’t see any Border Patrol agents. Instead it said something about Agricultural Inspection?? This was new to me.



These trees are called Joshua trees, named by Mormons that settled the west, after the Old Testament Joshua.  Our boys learned about this tree in their Cat in the Hat I Can Name 50 Trees book, so I had to take this photo for them!! It’s Joshua’s favorite, obviously.



Windmills against an airline striped sky. 🙂











Does anyone know what plant this is, in the above photo?




This ground is fertile in more than one way. There’s something really good down in the ground, too!  Oil? Gas? Anyone? I haven’t bothered to google it yet.

Okay. See if you can guess this:

This is Picture A:


This is Picture B:



Guess which one is actually Afghanistan and which one is California. I’ll post the answer in the comment section.

Do you think we could grow grapes and drill for oil in Afghanistan if we shipped them some water? Just kidding, sort of.







The Californians up here are really into these giant cardboard people. They are everywhere!


The closer we drove to the coast, the greener the land became, and the more the temperature dropped. Hurray!



Ah, now this is the California we were looking for!!

Beautiful photos of the CA coast, to include sea lions, on the next post!!




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