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Wednesday, April 20, 2011


California Transportation Crews are out in force today laying new roadway surface. This is the final result...very nice, except no berm...that sand is like Johnson's Baby Powder...step into it and you sink...wiggle a bit more and down you go...

Please Click click. This plaque is repeated about 12 times throughout these California Valleys. Beginning in 1940, this entire area was transformed into Training Grounds for the U.S. Army Tank Divisions in preparation for World War II.

The first and probably most famous was the 3rd Tank Division- aka IRON MOUNTAIN DIVISION - which set up camp under the shadow of Iron Mountain at the same time as I, at barely 5 years old, entered First Grade in FEDERAL WAY, WASHINGTON.

Iron Mountain in the background. In the foreground one can still see - after nearly 70 years - the "maps in the sand" to help train the troops.

To support the CalTran roadbuilding crew, a large materials depot was set up along side Highway 62...Iron Mountain in the background...a totem pole giving direction, mileage, and sometimes appropriate comments to just anywhere in the world...all from this desert spot.

Please say HELLO to Kim. Kim stood the entire day (I walked past her coming and going this morning) in the hot sun on the newly laid macadam directing the flow of traffic through the Construction Area.

Shelly and Kim (the Driver) waited in line with all the rest. They may have been a bit more comfy than Traffic Controller, Kim, because their 60 foot road cruiser had, according to Shelly, no less than three (3) air conditioners.

Please give Shelly and Kim a big HELLO...and thanks for helping to keep our economy moving along.

The Pilot Car led vehicles through the Construction Zone all day.

I walked the entire Zone twice in my walk through this never-ending valley.

Yes, I walked to those mountains and BACK this morning. Having second thoughts on the wisdom of throwing away all those miles walked...BEWARE that'll eat swallow you down.

COMPACTORS rolled the crush stone into the newly spread Oil, creating a hard new surface.

This is the "Clear-up" Crew.

A big HELLO, please for Nathan and Daniel, who followed behind the Oiler and Spreader picking up globs left over and spreading additional crushed gravel on thin spots.

I suggested they were receiving great OJT (On The Job "Training) for the next Wild West Parade...picking up after the Horse Section.

Like everyone I spoke to - nearly all of the crew at one time or another - they replied that " least we have a job."

Things are not all that great economically down in the desert.

The Oiler driving off for a new load of hot Oil. the entire crew keeps on working until he returns and continues spreading that hot oil on the old road surface.

HOT work...but, it IS a job.

This is the crushed rock follows the Oiler. About 6 big dump trucks run a continuous shuttle from the Materials Stock Pile to this machine, where they dump their load of crushed rock into the hopper at the back. The machine conveys it forward and evenly spreads it onto the hot oil.

Then Daniel and Nathan come along with their shovels and brushes and smooth out the kinks.

After the new materials have sat for a few hours and been driven on a number of times by the COMPACTORS and Dump Trucks on their way to and from the Materials Storage Area, this machine BRUSHES the loose stone - about the size of a split-pea (like in soup) into a long pile.

The Sweeper is followed by the VACUUM Machine (White machine second in line). It sucks up the pile of split-pea-size-stones formed by the Sweeper (out in front). The Vacuum dumps the picked-up material into the following Dump Truck for return to the Material Storage Yard.

Again , the finished product...photograph taken at sunrise, looking West.

Still no berm for SAM & ME.

While A was walking East beyond the Construction Area, a long line of vehicles moved slowly past me...slow trucks in front...impatient angry cars stuck in the middle.

This new Toyto pulls out of line as if to pass and instead zooms across the oncoming traffic lane and plows into the soft sand with a cloud of dust.

When I finally get to the car, this little old lady is sitting calmly at the wheel, her Cihuwawa(sp?) sitting in her lap.

...You ok? Yes...but I think my car is stuck...(Oh, yes, it sure was !). Looked like you were trying to pass...slippery or something??? Oh, No, I guess I fell asleep.

6 of us tried to get her unstuck. The more we tried, the deeper her car sank into the soft sand until the entire bottom of her car was high-centered (the wheels not touching the sand).

A Highway Patrolman eventually arrived and shooed everyone away...much later, as I drove SPIA to a new parking spot, a tow truck went by in her direction.

Never have I seen such sand...more like Johnson's Baby Powder...stand still & its OK...move a bit and down you go...just like quick sand.

No way to drive - or walk - on the side of these roads.

DAILY REPORT: No rides today. Walked clean across that valley TWICE for 38 miles.

Count 19 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 19 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.38 for the day.

Another Hot Day in the California Desert.

Have a remote parking spot (Route 41 & Hwy 62), with one VERIZON, photographs will not load ...perhaps later tonight.

Awoke to a bright Sun filling a long Valley running North and South...but also about 20 miles East and West...the route I must walk today. Began by walking WEST - I know, it is the wrong way, but had to make up the miles I drove last evening to find a safe place to pull off the road for the night.

Walked West-up hill & against the wind - for 5 miles and back down...did not stop at SPIA, but kept walking East into the endless valley. Shocking, I actually walked clear across it - TWICE - as I received no rides today.

This valley is Historic. It is the training site for the World War II Armored (TANKS) Combat Divisions, beginning the the 3rd Armored Division (IRON MOUNTAIN DIVISION). I entered first grade (at barely 5 years old) when the 3rd Armored set up shop out here in 1940.

Gosh, guess I did most things EARLY in my life...Well, I'm making up for it now by doing much MORE thanks late in life......kinda like the Boss saying...So, Mr. Maynard, late again this morning...Yes, Sir, but I'll make up for it by leaving a bit early.

The California Transportation Department - CALTRAN - folks were out in force today laying new pavement for Highway 62. I walked the construction area both ways, meeting and chatting with nearly every worker in the blistering heat putting down hot oil and crushed gravel.

To a man (and woman), each said...Yeah, but I got a job ! ! Things are NOT economically good out here in California.

I moved SPIA three times today. During my second walking leg, I witnessed an accident. A elderly woman drove off the road into the soft sand...she was OK, but her car - a new Toyoto - was stuck, with the drive wheels hanging in the air; i.e., the car was bottomed-out. A told her I saw her seemed she was trying to pass, being one car in a long line of cars and trucks exiting the construction zone - they were escorted by a Pilot Car.

She, I just fell asleep !

When the CHP arrived, I did NOT tell him what she said. I tried to give her some Ice Cold water from SPIA's refrigerator, but the Policeman would not let me go near her after he arrived...said she was ok and that the Wrecker Truck was on it's way. I should have ignored him, but instead returned to SPIA, and drove to our next parking spot.

Have also decided that longevity was the better part of valor. I now move into the soft stand, stop, and watch the "angry" motorists speed by...some are going well over 100 mph on this desolate - but well built Highway 62.

Hopefully we can upload the photographs later...NOPE...waited 5 upload.

Tried a new walking schedule today. Yesterday, I got nauseated about 3:30 pm, having walked all day without a break. Today, QUIT at 12:30 am. Ate lunch and slept for 1 hour. Started walking again at 3:00 pm and put in another 2.5 hours - 10 more miles...feel much better this evening.

Now 2:30 am. After 5 minutes, still no photograph upload...must wait for civilized signal.

FINALLY, at 2:30 pm on April 21, stopped at an RV Park in PARKER, ARIZONA...have electricity, so here are the photographs.

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