February 20, 2009

Southern Cal

Well, I imagine you might be tired of seeing snow, so I'm sharing a different climate with you. Here you are in Souther California, just a scant few miles from Arizona and Mexico.

California is a diverse state when it comes to geography. I suppose that is easily attributed to its size. I can stomach everything from say Bakersfield north and call it pretty and might would even consider living there (as a last resort). However, everything south of Bakersfield....well I might would still call it pretty in its own unique way, but the only way I can imagine living there is if I was dead and they buried my body there. Just not my type of place. These pictures show a nice evening in the desert with temps in the 60's, but let me assure you, we've passed through plenty of times in the summer with scorching temps well over 100 degrees.

Yeah....I'm ready to pack my bags and move....right!

Apparently one of the big entertainments down here, especially on the weekend, is to pack your super expensive RV, or in a few cases your antique barely held together camper, and go camp at random places in the desert. There doesn't seem to be designated areas.

You ought to see the weekenders. They gather by the hundreds and park in circles all over the place, roll out their canopies, even put up flag poles with various types of meaningless flags (at least meaningless to me). The big sport here is taking your dirt bike, dune buggy, or four wheeler out into the desert. We see them by the hords roaming the dunes and hills. California is making the truckers lives hell over air pollution, but hey, who cares about the desert eco system right?This was a Thursday. Desert traffic was at a minimum. Now here's what gets me.

Maybe I have an exagerated idea in my head, but it bothers me that all of this is taking place on the border. Interstate 8 runs literally yards from the border. I've sat and watched "the fence" for miles. At one place you can even see a little Mexican border town not so far off in the distance. To me, it seems really cruel for all these afluent (or horibly in debt) Americans to go park their big RV's and go zipping around the desert in their expensive toys right under the nose of this little Mexican town. I can't see much of the town, but what I can see....well it looks like the typical image of what most Americans imagine Mexico to be like. You know...little stucco houses and not much going for it? So maybe I'm over reacting, but I would have a hard time going out in the desert and riding my four wheelers up and down the fence line for fun. And I've watched them do just that!

This is the west bound agricultural inspection station. California has one on every major, and some minor, roads entering their state. They stop everyone and ask if you have any ag products in your vehicle. I've seen house plants stacked on the shoulder, and boxes of fruit, etc. And for us truckers, if we're hauling ag stuff, they have to inspect out paperwork. Honestly the whole thing seems like a joke and I'll tell you why. First of all, I could hand them bills from anything, but they hardly EVER look in the trailer. For all they know I've got 300 Mexicans back there. Secondly, they hardly even look at the paperwork. Some look harder than others, but here's an example of what a joke it is. One night I handed them my stack of bills. I had had them stuck in the pocket of the door, and when I grabbed my papers to hand over for inspection, I accidently handed them our expired South Dakota over-weight permit as well that I had put down there and forgotten. You'll all be releived to know that the state of California approved my outdated SD over-weight permit and stamped it big and black good to go! What a relief! Glad they approved!

Well thats California for you, and like I said before. They get their very own Trucking 101 blog entry, coming soon in the near future. ( It will be more of venting, soap box type lecture, but you'll still learn some about the wonderful world of trucking.)

This is a poor picture, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. One of the neatest things they do out here, mostly in the southwest, is decorate their overpasses. This one I think is in Arizona just across the line. Its just gravel. I keep wanting to get pictures of the overpasses, but never get to it. But just to give you an idea:

Texas has cowboy themed overpasses. In Dallas all the columns on the overpasses have giant stars etched into the concrete. In Amarillo the overpasses have the word "AMARILLO" on them, and the L's are cowboy boots. In New Mexico the overpasses have designs painted on them in beautiful shades of turqoise and terra cotta. In Arizona they have painted southwestern designs on them. In Salt Lake City, all the overpasses have Olympic themes painted and carved in them and the barier walls have mountains etched into them. And I'm not talking like graffitti type stuff. These are artistic and beautifully done! I wish all states did them.

Despite the sandy geography, the warm temps have been nice. I go down there and get a good case of spring fever. Then I come back to what I'm looking at right now. We're about 60 miles from Billings and down to one lane and 1/4 mile visability and a lot of white stuff in the air. I checked the weather. We're supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow today at home.

1 comment:

Meagan said...

WOW... I coud never live somewhere like that! I had a friend, Casey, in high school that was from Arizona and spend every summer in Arizona with her mom. She had told me stories of haging out in the desert! So funny!!