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Saturday, April 9, 2011

DAY 86: TEHACHAPI - MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA

Spent a restful night with a dusting of snow and nothing like 20 degrees...even tho, kept the propane furnace cycling all night...was very comfy. Awoke to the Sun lighting the TEHACHAPI snowy Valley. Pretty to look at...especially because the roads were clear and dry...no snow...no ice.
SPIA and SAM received a dusting as well.



Just after Sunrise, drove SPIA back to the top of the curvy steep hill we climbed last evening from KEENE, CALIFORNIA after leaving I-58. It was about 8 miles up to the TEHACHAPI VALLEY, gaining nearly 3,000 feet elevation.


This morning, I will walk back DOWN that same hill and if no ride, walk back UP to SPIA waiting at the top.



Ol' Sol broke through the overcast to light the distant snow-covered hills as I began my descent.



A look back into TEHACHAPI VALLEY from where SPIA was parked.


This valley is about 5 miles wide and perhaps 15 miles long. It is surrounded by snow-covered mountain tops reaching another 1,000 feet or so.


This afternoon, I must climb those hills to reach MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA to the East about 20 miles.



Starting my descent, the valley is cloud covered many hundred feet below. It is a very steep road with tons of tight curves and switch-backs...not a guard rail in sight...and no place to turn around.



Rugged, these TAHACHAPI Mountains.



Don't stray off the pavement...no berm...just a few hundred foot drop...



Must admit, tho, that the scenery is breath-taking.



That roadway Center-Right is the I-58 Freeway...the black curved line in the Center is the Railroad Track.



A snow-covered Pine Tree caught my attention...



A surprisingly large number of Ranches hang on the steep side hills leading up to TEHACHAPI.



Those distant hills is where SPIA is parked waiting for my return. Yes, I did walk a long way down and back up this morning.



Looking back down on my way back up...the road goes down through that valley.


I really do not know why I have the ability to descent and climb such steep long hills...again, I did not even work up a sweat or get short of breath.


Guess that is what comes from sleeping alone for so many years.



A mile or so from the top during my walk back up, Frank came to my rescue.


Please say HELLO to Frank, a life-time resident of KEENE and TEHACHAPI.


I felt kinda smug about my walk this morning...until Frank told me as a Teenager, he lived in KEENE and his friends lived in TEHACHAPI...so, every weekend, he walked up "my" hill to visit them and then back home again.


Maybe he, being 16 years old...and me being 76 years old gives Frank a little something to shoot for in a few years.


Thanks for the ride, Frank...and "HI" to your wee Daughter (in the back seat).



This broken down Wind Mill got me to thinking ... there go I if I don't take good care of myself.



Walked by a number of smaller Ranches on my way back into town.



Tehachapi Trains are Storied the World Over...for the steep right of way built over 100 years ago by 3,000 Chinese Laborers from Canton, China...and the many Water Towers along the climbing railroad tracks...in those days, the engines burned wood - then coal - to heat water to power the massive Steam Engines. Needed lots of water to keep the steam coming.



Stopped in at the Apple Shed for a bite of Breakfast before crossing the rest of the Valley and tackling the Peaks leading to MOJAVE.



What a "Shed" looks like after lots of elbow grease and a vision. This was obviously once a Warehouse with truck platforms and doorways.



Walking across the Valley Floor, the Windmills of TEHACHAPI MOUNTAIN awaits me.



New marketing twist...Land Zoned for "Wind".


Without exaggeration, I would say I saw at least 2,000 windmills during my walk to MOJAVE.



These are the "old" design "SMALL" Windmills. They line the West (windward) side of the Mountain Top.



A look back down a Ravine into the TEHACHAPI VALLEY...funneled by Windmills.




A later version "Medium" sized windmill.



A modern-day windmill. I described these giant machines in much detail in Blogs during my walk last Summer to Oklahoma.



I rather think this should be made into a Post Card. Nearing the Top of the Tehachapi Mountain Pass between TEHACHAPI Town and MOJAVE, CALIFORNIA.



After walking 6 miles of so climbing the West side of the Mountain, I drove SPIA over the top and down the other side for another 4 miles. Hitched a ride back to the top and walked back DOWN to SPIA.


This is the top looking East. The distant hills are beyond the town of MOJAVE.




Click Click. We should have a contest to see who correctly counts the number of Windmills in this photograph. For me, it is not possible....and this is only a itty bitty slice of the whole Windmill Pie stretching in all directions atop the Tehachapi Mountain.


I have walked by many Wind Farms across America; but Nothing to compare to Tehachapi.




This is, I believe, a Joshua Tree. I stand to be corrected. Have much to learn about Desert Plants and Animals over the next 2,000 miles before reaching the Mississippi River in 4 months or so.



Finally, I drove SPIA to the Town of MOJAVE and parked her. I walked 4 miles back up the Mountain on this road. The wind was so fierce, I could barely stand ... walking was a real challenge...and no rides.


When I returned to SPIA, the wind was so strong, it was knocking me all over the road. I was concerned that SPIA might get rolled over in the gusts...well above 50 miles per hour. I drove into town, found a RV Park and took a space between two big Motor Homes - to try to shield SPIA from the winds...a real rock and roll evening.


It is now 7:50 pm, just dark, and the wind has finally let up a bit.


I am VERY tired this evening. Climbed three steep mountains...the first much steeper than SAM and I climbed yesterday, the second over the Windmill mountain tops, and the third from MOJAVE back up to the base of the Mountain in near hurricane force winds.


DAILY REPORT: Received three short rides today. Walked 32 miles; count 24 miles.


SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 24 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.48 for the day.



In the morning, am going to try to get in to see the new SPACESHIP II. Then, will prepare SPIA for our crossing of the Mojave Desert. Will stay in MOJAVE town tomorrow night to make certain everything is taken care of...do not want to find 50 miles out in the wilderness that I forgot something. We will head East on Highway 58 to "4 Corners". Then South on Highway 395 to VICTORVILLE, CALIFORNIA...then East on Highwsay 247 via Twentynine Palms, etc.


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