Monday, October 24, 2011

The Long & WINDy Road

Driving from San Diego to Oakhurst, just outside Yosemite National Park, was a long, hot day! Although we tried to leave early enough to avoid traffic congestion, we still got stuck in Los Angeles in the heat of the day. And just when we thought we had escaped LA to the north, we saw a traffic warning sign saying that there was more congestion on "The Grapevine". While driving in The Mustang was a great way to see and enjoy all the amazing sights on this epic road trip, we didn't avoid scares along the way due to it being an older car.

The first was a hubcap falling off on The 101 just north of San Francisco. On that incident, the hubcap bounced down the road about 100 meters and then over a road barrier to another road below. By the time Toby realized what had happened and walked back to where it should have been, another driver was picking up the hubcap and was about to drive off with it. Toby then yelled at the top of his lungs and they guy heard something, looked up towards The 101 and saw him waving his arms and saying, "That's my hubcap" while pointing at his chest. The guy got the picture, opened up the car and met Toby halfway up the hill to return the expensive car part (especially when it's just one). The guy said, "It's a good one and I was gonna keep it." Whew, that was a close call.

Anyway, the second scare happened after we got through the Los Angeles traffic in 100F weather with the car barely not overheating. When we saw the traffic warning for The Grapevine with warnings that it might be two hour delays, we decided to take the long way around for it would keep the car cool. Otherwise, if we got to a place where we were going up a pass in similar heat as LA and then having it "stop and go" traffic, the odds of overheating were very high. So....we went through The Mojave Desert. After hitting the small town of Mojave and then heading west again, we passed over the Tehachapi Pass and through one of the largest wind farms of the world, the Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC). See pictures below.

It was both eerie and exciting to drive through these wind farms. According to this Wikipedia article on AWEC, this particular project will reduce up to 52 million metric tons of CO2 or the equivalent of almost 1/2 million cars off the road. Wow!! It's also pretty cool to read this article about company, Google, being it's biggest supporter/investor. Go Google, Go Wind, Go Earth!!

In our next post, we'll arrive in Oakhurst and visit with a few cousins, 5 cats and one dog while stargazing and enjoying some more good Mexican food.

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