November 4, 2008 — Long driving day today — we don’t like to drive after dark mostly because we miss the scenery, but we seemed to have no choice tonight. We either had to stop at 3 in the afternoon or we could stick with it and get through Los Angeles and stop on the other side. I don’t think either one of us expected it to take so long to get through L.A. and then once we did, we couldn’t find a hotel. Basically, there are no exit numbers on that section of I-10 in California, so when there was a billboard with upcoming hotel information, it would give the exit name/not number with driving directions. Right, we could remember those after a long day of driving. Right about this time, our GPS went on the blitz. Double whammy. And, in the dark I couldn’t read the map, which when I finally looked at it at a rest area, showed that the road ahead was going to be very dark — we would be passing the Joshua Tree National Park. See this is why we don’t like to drive at night — you can’t see anything! So we ended up driving all the way to Blythe on the border of California/Arizona before we found a place for the night. It was 9:30.
I was so tired when I went into the hotel lobby to get the room. But, I was instantly awake and jumping around the lobby in minutes. Barack Obama was giving his acceptance speech — the American people elected him as our next president. Wow! I can’t ever say that I’ve been this emotional over an election.
O.K. I’ll back up to earlier in the day.
We woke up in Corning, California. The hotel we stayed at actually was set up as voting booth. Pretty cool. The sky was blue and the air was a bit warmer. We learned that it was snowing in the mountains — though we had a terrible day driving through in the rain, it was far better than snow. So it was a good thing we left the Portland area yesterday and didn’t wait. Anyway, this confirmed that we really did see some snowflakes when we passed Mount Shasta.
Anyway, blue skies and a nice drive ahead of us — and a new day of views. We took I-5 down through the central valley corridor where all the farming is done in California. We saw orange groves, and other groves, fields and fields of hay, a llama herding a flock of sheeps, lots of goats, fields of green, rice paddies, vineyards that went on for miles, bee hives, oil pumps, elaborate irrigations systems, lots of lumber on trucks and much more… It was one thing to see America’s heartland with all it’s corn and soy fields, but this offered much more diversity.
Basically the whole day’s drive was flat — no ups and downs, no curves, just one long straight road. Until we reached the start of the Los Angeles valley — quite obviously to get into the valley means that one has to go over a mountain pass, right? Can’t say that I had thought about this until I saw the mountains ahead of us. Awesome! Love these mountain passes. Only difference with this one is the SPEED at which the drivers go.