Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Road Tripping, Part I

Pauls version of our trip was lacking in details - other than pointing out that the highlight of the drive down to San Diego was the rest stop on I-5. Let me provide some more color and romance.

Things he failed to mention about the trip south:

We passed Famous Daves BBQ, where a recent food reviewer said: "I don't really believe vegetarianism has a place in modern society, much like communism or the recent films of George Lucas. Anyway, it's a barbecue place." I'm pretty sure we'll go eat there one day.

Right before the turn that takes us up and over Pacheco Pass I was mid-sentence about something and did not stop and blurt out "Look! A goat!". I'm easily distracted and since I'm a Capricorn I totally dig on goats. It was looking at the cow in the shared space with it with disdain, I'm pretty sure he was about to put his horns down and ram the back end of the cow just for the heck of it.

Did you know that Casa de Fruta has a Pick and Pull? No kidding, they have everything!! Petting zoo, train rides, wine tasting, cup flipping...pick and pull. Ok, I made that last part up, but it's been about 20 years since the last time I passed by there and I do not recall there being rusted out, dilapidated, worn farm/other equipment lining the perimeter of the property up by the RV park. "Cool".

Alongside the road to our left as we made our way up to the reservoir a coyote was trekking by. He looked like he was having a pretty cool morning jog.

We peaked and rounded the bend where you get the first glimpse of the reservoir and yep, it's pretty low. Not like I remember it from the early 90's at all. Still impressive and when we got around the bend and started south I got a great view of the bright blue sky and deep blue reflection of the water and our now vibrant green hillsides behind it all. I actually wondered if the hills would be brown by the time we drove back, it seems like it happens overnight.

Paul admitted having camped at the other side of the dam, I asked him why, "was the water treatment plant all booked up?". It's bleak, and ugly, unless you really dig on fantastically huge power lines, and lots of them, surrounding the landscape.

Highlights on the drive south on I-5 were the numerous orchards in bloom. To my right all white blossoms, many of them dropped leaving the ground between the rows blanketed in white, very pretty. On the left, some new trees blooming in bright pink, they were so small compared to the mature orchard.

We passed some grape vines that were like none I've seen before. I've heard about and seen pictures, but never really saw them in person until this trip. So bizarre to see them trained for mechanical processing. Paul pointed out another vineyard that was on a different trellis, but mechanically pruned. They looked wiry, like a crazy old womans head of hair. Frizzy and out of control.

I watched a crop duster do laps across a plot of land. On the west bound pass he had a sharp uplift to avoid power lines, but as he came back across toward the east side, he had a long leisurely ride before swinging back around. When I was a kid I had always thought that would be a great job, I had loved flying with my dad so much that it appealed to me.

We passed a poop farm. I mean dairy. Happy cows definitely do not live on a dairy or stock yard. How could any living thing enjoy being surrounded by that much methane? Whoooweeee. Ripe.

There were some other luckier cows on another plot of land roaming around at their leisure and I'm pretty sure they were feeling a lot happier about life.

Oh, and sheep. It's lamb season! Yahooo. I asked Paul what our upcoming plans are for this weekend and he said we're free. Fantastic, I'm going to rotisserie a leg of lamb! And just up ahead on the road, the next agriculture was citrus trees. Lamb marinated in lemon and lime juice (and garlic and rosemary if you really want to know).

Bla Bla Bla, over the Grapevine, bla bla bla, LA BASIN. Oh wow. Yuck. We decided to take 5 all the way to San Diego. I'm certain the locals down south will tell us 50 different ways that are better that we could have taken, but after 5 hours of road time, the fewer interchanges to navigate the better.

It wasn't too bad. Mostly I was discouraged by how grubby it was. The air quality was the pits, turgid doesn't begin to express it. There were sections were I could see there was some really cool architecture and history, but it's been developed all around so haphazardly that it's lost any charm it may have once had.

Some of the new freeway sound walls were so fancy that I was wondering where the money came from to pay for it. I mean really, there were sections with these artfully crafted painted squares that were inset along the concrete. Like, why bother I wondered...but that's the cynic in me. I'm glad there is some beautification plans in the works. It caught my eye.

We didn't actually go all the way in to San Diego, we were staying in Del Mar, about 25 miles north of SD. It was gorgeous.

And that was Part I of Road Tripping: SJ -- SD, mileage count forgotten, but 7 hours almost to the minute, not bad....

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