So the next morning, we woke up rather slowly in Oceanside. Let’s just say Mom had such a great time the night before that it lingered into the morning. Luckily, we would be on the road all day and she’d have the chance to recuperate before our next destination.
It might seem peculiar but this day driving from Oceanside to Fresno was probably my favorite during our trip. The drive was pretty long but the range of environments we witnessed was awe-inspiring. California is a massive state; while running the length of it you will experience cold and snowy, dry and temperate, windy, tropical sun and desert climates. It is ultimate diversity in so many ways.
To bypass L.A., we went through San Bernardino, taking route 15 to route 58. We spent a good amount of time in the desert, which was a bit different than in New Mexico. The foliage was just as sparsely scattered but it wasn’t exactly cholla; it looked a bit more like stunted succulent shrubs rather than cactus.
The last few days were overloading- trying to plan what we would do, how we’d get there, etc. Mom was pretty relaxed and I felt very comfortable cruising along this quiet road letting the landscape quiet me. It was a rejuvenating day. My anxiety would be nearly gone by the end of the day after several hours of clean warm wind and singing along to my favorite Gillian Welch songs, much to the likely chagrin of my mother and Roberta, my GPS. They both tolerated it well.
We ran into an interesting hive of small industrial towns like Boron, named appropriately as it’s the home of the world’s largest borax mine. The town only has a population of a little over 2000. I liked this section between Boron and Tehachapi. I’m drawn to these gritty small towns in what seems to be a well-hidden nook in the big busy state of California. These two towns looked like they belonged in Kentucky but with the welcoming bubbling dry terrain of South Dakota.
The desert ended pretty abruptly in this area. Just after leaving Tehachapi, we say the most beautiful hills covered in wind turbines, positioned like a complicated arrangement of choir singers swinging their arms rejoicing. The photo above, I believe is one my Mom took out the back window while I was still driving. I stopped quick to take a couple too but the angle of this one made it the most appropriately evocative. There was such a hope and history there. I felt a slight pull similar to what I felt in South Dakota, but it was not nearly as strong. Needless to say I suppose, that South Dakota burned in my rib cage that day and I longed for my friends.
By then, I was feeling pretty well cleansed of my anxieties I had collected over the past few days and I was feeling myself again. I was thrilled to be in the car traversing open land.
The rest of the trip, north to Fresno, was very nice. We knew we would be going through the San Joaquin Valley and we expected to see some large farms. I think what we passed far exceeded our expectations. It seemed the orchards were endless. The hills completely flattened out into fields of oranges, grapes, cherries, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts just to name a few we could actually verify. The amount of time and attention it must take to build and maintain these places was beyond what either of us could really contemplate.
It was a good mind-expanding warm and partly cloudy kind of day. What everyday one hopes traveling will be.