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Thursday, March 31, 2011


Please say HELLO to Frank. Frank works at the Nitrate Plant (Fertilizers, Explosives, Etc.) 6 miles South of SAN JOAQUIN, CALIFORNIA. Thanks for the ride this morning, Frank. This area has many small lakes...great for the birds...this Valley seems to go on forever.
Lots of Farm Equipment are driving on the roadway. The fields look to be around 500 acres or so.

Post Card Perfect. Crops bursting out of the Earth with the 5th straight day of Sun after Weeks of heavy rain.

An interesting Tree. I don't know what they are called, but are well cared for...

That Green Oblong Pipe is a Water Filter.. The water being pumped from the Canal is often full of sand, grass and other debris that will plug up the water sprinklers. The filters remove them.

Please say HI to TONY. Tony also gave me a ride today. Thanks loads, Tony.

FIVE POINTS, CALIFORNIA...SPIA, SAM & ME are staying here tonight.

This fellow is "Discing" the edge of his field.

All the San Joaquin Valley fields are maintained in pristine trimmed care...and there is virtually NO trash along the roadways...a good recommendation for the locals.

The Discs up close. There are two sets of opposing the other to cut the soil up quite small.

The field edge after the Disc has done it's job.

Well, well...another Crop Duster. This fellow flew directly over my head for over 15 minutes. The telephone poles where I walked were about 25 feet high. When swooping down across the road, the pilot had to be VERY careful not to snag his wheels on a wire...and NOT TO HIT PASSING TRUCKS.

He started actual spraying about 5 feet off the ground about 200 feet from me. The wind blew the spray away, so I did not get covered with it.

A good photograph of the spray squirting from several nozzles under the Crop Duster Wings.

He whizzed by VERY close to me.

An elegant Ranch.

A Motel-like row of small homes on the road heading East out of FIVE POINTS, CALIFORNIA.

This big tractor took up the entire roadway lane...and he was moving FAST.

A beautiful 18-wheeler loaded with Straw (the stalk of harvested Wheat), ready to roll.

This is a "Wading Bird". Do not know it's name. It has a mate. The Mate's beak is Red.

DAILY REPORT: Received 3 rides today. Walked 22 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 22 miles @ $0.092 per mile = $0.44 for the day.

In the morning, will drive East of FIVE POINTS towards RIVERDALE, CALIFORNIA.

We should be in BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA Monday or Tuesday...then comes the BIG climb up Tahachapi to the town of MOHAVE...with 2,000 miles of Desert awaiting us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Today has been a day of interruptions. My early morning walk from MENDOTA to TRANQUILITY, CALIFORNIA, went off well. Checking the Mini Computer, however, I received wild gyrations of the pages and it would not load VERIZON. Tried to reboot many times, but no change. So, off to MENDOTA. Found a Computer Savy fellow..."no one in MENDOTA can troubleshoot. Must go to FRESNO. So, the next 3 hours driving to and return produced...There is noting wrong with your works just fine !!! I believe it might have been VERISION system...heck, I don't know, but the Mini has worked just fine since. On the drive back to SAN JOAQUIN, CALIFORNIA, came upon this Helicopter playing like a Crop Duster right next to the roadway...could not resist stopping SPIA and take some photographs. The Helicopter, just like an ordinary propeller airplane, flies mere feet above the ground, spray flowing back into the slipstream (the air behind the aircraft), settling on the crops below.
Have more pics of this operation, but VERIZON Signal if very weak this morning here in SAN JOAQUIN taking lots of time to upload, have only selected these three. Here, the Helicopter is taking off after having his two spray-tanks refilled by the fellow in the foreground by using a long hose from that truck. Took all of 2 minutes to refill the tanks...and off went the Helicopter. It flew perhaps 5 feet above power lines directly over SPIA (and My) head as it made each pass down the crop field.

Quite exciting to see, especially as we were only 100 feet away from the landing spot.

Some Water Canals are higher than others. Here are three large water PUMPS lifting the water up about 10 feet to another canal on the other side of the roadway (behind the camera).

Had a photograph of the other canal, but with the slow upload, did not include it.

SPIA, SAM & ME parked for the night in a brand new EATERY in the town of SAN JOAQUIN. These kind folks, Veronica, Jake and Emilio, operate the new Restaurant, where I treated my self to a large - REALLY LARGE - salad and freshly-made Ravioli...both were excellent.

I was treated to a second bottle of water and a home-baked cookie.

Thanks, Veronica and guys...sorry I must leave before you get to work.

Across Highway 33 from the Restaurant is the town Grain Elevator. This one has seen better days and is no longer being used. I will try to get a tour of an operation Elevator, as there are such structures in nearly every town in the San Joaquin Valley.

This (and corn) is what goes into the Grain Elevators...guess what it is ???

RIGHT: Winter Wheat.

Winter Wheat field have been photographed and up loaded in many of our San Joaquin Valley Blogs...must admit, I was not certain what it was, but here, the growth is advanced enough that the actual grain has developed to easily see.

Also photographed along our walk down the Valley are large Orchards. As the blossoms come out, they must be "pollinated" (male pollen transported to female blossoms). Normally the wind helps a lot, but most pollination is done by BEES.

Here are a number of BEE Hives (click click) clearly showing BEES at work.

I was standing about 15 feet from the hives. The BEES swirled around me taking a real close look, but did not threaten or attack me. As I walked on, BEES actually followed me, flying along and around my Head for over two City Blocks.

I have worked around BEES, and have been stung several times. Apparently, I am somewhat resistant to their stings, because have no serious reaction...Of Course it hurts !!

Click click this photograph of the MUSTARD PLANT Blossoms...a crop I have followed since the beginning of the Mendocino Valley in Northern California. MUSTARD is even planted between rows of Wine Grape take full advantage of available land.

Look Closely at the enlarged pic...there is our friend, the BEE busy at work. Look close at his legs...they are covered with the flower nectar which after processing back at the Hive, is inserted into the hundreds of "Chambers" in the Wax Cone...the chambers is where the baby BEES live and grow.

We all know the Wax Cone as "HONEY COMB". The place where Honey comes from.

So, be nice to BEES...They are really one of our best friends.

A larger view of the MUSTARD PLANT.

A residential street in SAN JOAQUIN (town), California...a couple blocks from Veronica, Restaurant.

Further up the street is this brand new Shopping Center...totally EMPTY...the recession has hit the Valley especially hard.

A train coming at me from about 100 feet away...actually, I was standing within 5 feet of the tracks to get the old Grain Elevator as a background.

Got a Toot Toot.

DAILY REPORT: Received 2 rides today, including one from an 18-wheeler. Walked 22 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACTORG: Credit 22 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.44 for the day.

In the morning (it is 7:20 am as I write this blog), with the Sun again rising into a cloudless sky, I will walk South on from SAN JOAQUIN (town) to the town of HELM, CALIFORNIA.

We are very near BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA...should reach MOHAVE (town), CALIFORNIA, where I plan a BIG Surprise...if I can pull it off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This morning started at 6:30 am parked on a street outside the city limits of DOS PALOS, CALIFORNIA. We were greeted by Ol' Sol rising in the East behind some homes still shrouded in darkness. At 7:00 am, started walking South on Highway 33 toward the town of FIREBAUGH, CALIFORNIA, 19 miles away. 30 minutes later, received a ride from a Lady and her Husband...her first words were...I saw you on TV a few days ago...Yes, Mam, you probably did...thank you for mentioning it. They drove me South for 10 miles. I walked back to SPIA in just under 2 hours 20 minutes. I have put my walking into "overdrive" today...just to see how it feels and if I could keep it up at top speed all day. I felt fantastic all day. I was walking close to 5 miles per hour for over 9 hours today. A bit bushed when I called it quits, but still felt blisters... Well...not EXACTLY accurate...later in the afternoon, my mind started a bit of risque' daydreaming and left knee twisted for no apparent reason...but we know the reason...Pay attention, Brucie the day dreaming for the end of the day...she is not going anywhere ! These interesting balls are found along Highway 33 together with pipes and pumps. It appears that irrigation water is drawn from deep wells - or from distant canals via pipelines; the balls appear to contain nutrients which is introduced into the water pipes as they carry water out into the vast fields found here-abouts. Another option is Crop Dusting by Airplanes or driving tractors pulling big tanks through the fields... The Ball n' Pipe method certainly seems efficient and reduces labor later on.
Sorry this is not a close up...please click click the green field. Found today that this crop is "Winter Wheat". I have been walking by dozens of large fields of Winter Wheat ever since entering the San Joaquin Valley.

Many attractive homes are found along Highway 33.

Please say HELLO to Steven. Steven stopped to give me a ride into the town of FIREBAUGH, CALIFORNIA. I had parked SPIA where I previously started walking early this morning, and with Steven's ride to FIREBAUGH, I did not have to walk double; i.e., back to SPIA.

Thank you, Steven.

All day, Crop Dusting Airplanes flew over and sprayed numerous crops along Highway 33. These four (4) are missing the fifth, which flew over my head at least 10 times this morning.

This business is found along Highway 33 way out in the dingleberries (way out yonder). It supplies seeds, fertilizers, and liquids - including fuel - to nearby ranchers.

These tanks are part of the "Seed" and Supply of the previous photograph. I include this Pic to take a look (click click) at the high wall surrounding these tanks.

In the event of a leak, the high wall, which forms a kinda "tank", catches the spill and keeps it contained and away from Mother Earth and the Rancher's crops.

All petroleum tanks in the USA are required to have such "catch tanks" .

Yesterday, we included a photograph of an "Oval" plate which the Rancher lowers into his water canal to control water flow. This photograph shows another type of water control device...I call it a Dagger can be lowered and adjusted to allow the exact water flow desired.

Another of the many water canals cris-crossing the San Joaquin Valley. The Mountains in the back-ground are bordering the Pacific Ocean on their far side. We are looking West in this Pic.

Click Click, Please. The small dot in left-center is a Crop Duster Airplane.

At extreme camera telephoto range, managed to catch this Guy spraying the crops...

Click Click for a close-up.

Please meet CHRISTOBAL, tending a de-watering project for land about to be planted.

Christobal says only Christ is called "Christo". All the rest of us must add "bal" if we choose to use "Christo" up front.

Really interesting what one learns from saying "Hi" to a complete stranger.

By the way, Christobal expects to plant either Cotton or Corn this year. He pays close attention to "Crop Rotation". Planting the same crop year after year depletes the soil of certain nutrients. Alternating crops each year puts the nutrients back...but also takes away different nutrients...a never ending demand on the Rancher to choose the correct crop each year.

Colors DO get response.

It is 8:15 pm just now. A few moments ago, the Sun went down...I was fortunate to have SPIA already parked for the night in the town of MENDOTA, CALIFORNIA, and caught ol' Sol saying "Night Night".

Brightness comes from reflection off the underside of the clouds. Ol' Sol is already below the Horizon.

Kinda dramatic, Huh?

Back to the walk. Came upon these four (4) buckets sitting in a driveway. Some youngsters were sitting on car hoods so I asked if they would play a game of Soccer (Football to the rest of the World).

They did. I photographed.

"G O A L" down at the other end.

Thanks, guys...great game.

A bit further on, I came upon this fellow playiing Horseshoes by himself. I was on the other side of the Highway 33, so crossed over and invited myself to throw a few shoes with him.

Never did get his name. He was pretty good. But, I been playing this game all my life. After a few rounds, he simply walked away...returned with a cold 7-UP for me, but did not offer to continue playing.

Lesson Number Three: Never beat the Host at his own game !

When Red Shirt handed me the 7-UP, he brought along his friend.

Please say Good Afternoon to the nicest fellow anyone could want to meet: MANUEL.

Manuel and I talked about "Self", "Others", Growing Old(er)", and the urgent need to be pleased with one-self to be liked by others.

Damned handsome Man is Manuel. We hit it off immediately. Manuel is, by the way, 55 years old...20 years my junior.

Gosh, am I really THAT old ???

This Kitty Kat started to run from me...I started talking to stopped and came quite close...I could read it's mind: What kinda Human ever talks to a strange cat...we hit it off right away, too.

This rig has many names. At CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA, where I worked in the USAF MINUTEMAN MISSILE (ICBM) Project Office on the Cape from 1959 thru 1962, this piece of equipment was called a CHERRY PICKER. (ICBM = Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile)

The Cherry Picker was the quickest way to get to the top of a missile...which in the early days of the Cape, was all too often.

In fact...historical point: At the same time our team was developing the MINUTEMAN, the US Navy way perfecting the Nuclear Submarine Missile POLARIS (IRBM). The Navy had lots of many, in fact, that the early POLARIS was called the IBRM = In The Banana River Missile (the Cape is on an Island separated from the Mainland by the "Banana River"). Seems the POLARIS often wanted to go it's own way instead of out over the Atlantic Ocean as programmed. (IRBM = Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile)

Oh, Yes, I played with Missiles and Missile support systems for many years...including systems for the APOLLO Lunar Rockets which took many Americans to the Moon and Back.

Yes, I will talk about it, if asked.



Very impressive: Our National USA Flag and the Flag of The State of California.

Highway 33...a nice road on which to walk.

A Water Tower from another Era. The Ranch has moved on to modern irrigation and deep water wells.

This old tower stands proudly...our reminder of how it once was.

DAILY REPORT: Thanks to 4 rides today, walked 27 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 27 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.54 for the day.

SPIA, SAM & ME are parked beside a local MENDOTA Food Market. JESUS, the owner has even kindly allowed us to plug into his electricity for the night.

Tomorrow morning, I will walk South on a new road...called the Santa Fe Grade (for the old railroad tracks) heading for the town of SAN YOAQUIN, CALIFORNIA.

After reaching SAN YOAQUIN, we must change maps...we are getting close to BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA and the beginning of the MOHAVE DESERT...the first of many Deserts continuing until we reach the MISSISSIPPI RIVER, some 2,000 miles to the East.