Please say HELLO to BABARINA....hostess of DENNY'S last evening as I was putting together yesterday's Blog.
Stayed overnight in DENNY'S parking...leaving at the crack of dawn for the 30 miles to KRAMER JUNCTION.
Many has been the time I drove this route with my Mother, Leona (Deceased some 15 years) driving between her two homes...one in YUMA, Arizona...the other near SEATTLE, Washington. Often think of her expression should she know I was walking her old route - for the second time -.
A last glimpse of the town of MOJAVE as I walk out old Highway 58. Was disappointed, however, to find that the new FREEWAY has gobbled up most of the old roadway. Prohibited to walk the FREEWAY, so this morning's trip to KRAMER'S JUNCTION was by car...arriving at 7:30 am.
It is possible that this hangar at MOJAVE Space Port may be where SPACE SHIP TWO is being prepared for flight. It sits apart from other airport buildings...and near the end of one of the runways.
A last look at the forest of WIND MILLS of MOJAVE.
Arriving at KRAMER'S JUNCTION, California. From here, I leave US Highway 58...pick up US Highway 395 for the walk to VICTORVILLE, some 30 miles South.
To my great surprise, US 395 was packed with traffic...both commercial and tourists, making walking especially dangerous, as they travel much too fast for the 2-lane road...and nearly always "TAILGATING" " DRAFTING"...drafting by far the most dangerous.
DRAFTING = driving your vehicle in the "dead-air zone" within a few feet behind the vehicle in front. This saves tons of gasoline because there is no air to push out of the way; but, driving so close precludes the possibility to see what is happening up front...much too little time for the drafting vehicle to avoid any danger...like ME walking within INCHES from the speeding vehicles.
US 395 climbing out of KRAMER JUNCTION. About 8 miles to the top of the distant ridge, I chose to walk to the top and another 4 miles beyond...into a stiff "BROAD REACH" wind.
I pushed the envelope today because I was cheated out of walking US 58 - together with it's "20 MULE TEAM" Road...and EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE...where advanced aircraft are tested...where many Space Shuttle landings were made...and where the famous VOYAGER round-the-world-on-one-tank-of-gas landed...after taking off from MOJAVE Space Port many (9) ? days before. JEANA YEAGER, who co-piloted that flight once lived and worked (2 doors down from my offices) in BELLINGHAM, Washington.
A small glimpse of MOJAVE DESERT up close. Promise to make some forages into the solitary reaches of the desert...and share !
The desert is a virtual garden of flowers...they bloom nearly over night and stay only a few hours. A good soaking rain always helps to turn the desert into a myriad of colors. Perhaps we will get lucky.
MEXICO is not far South of those most distant hills. We will have many day's walking next to the RIO GRANDE RIVER with MEXICO a stone throw away.
This is the top of the mountain above the valley containing KRAMER JUNCTION...a tiny dot about in the middle of the valley...YES, walked up that earlier this morning. Now some 4 hours later on my return to fetch SPIA-2.
Same valley...looking this way and that...
All day walking, kept hearing AND FEELING large HOWITZER GUNS firing. Return down into the valley, was pleased to discover the "BOOMS" were actually a "DOUBLE BOOM". Being a bit more than interesed in aviation, I automatically look UP into the deeep blue empty sky...to discover the culprit... a high-flying "CON TRAIL" producing jet - probably out of EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE...breaking the Speed Of Sound...something like 700 miles per hour (depends on lots of variables).
As the aircraft approaches the Speed Of Sound, it's forward motion "COMPRESSES" the air into which it is flying...as the airplane actually passes the speed of sound, the compressed Air "EXPLODES" into a twin "BOOM" which reaches the ground with a mighty shaking. This "SONIC BOOM" always happens. It was the reason the SUPERSONIC Commercial European Jet was not allowed to fly Supersonic through American airspace...if it did so, it's passing would leave a continuous trail of twin booms hitting the ground shaking ... and likely breaking ... windows as it passed overhead./
I often feel like this JOSHUA TREE looks:
Honored to be chosen to be - of all life - the ONE to stand proudly in a seemingly desolate place. We will be meeting many JOSHUA TREES in the next few weeks.
IN THE MIDDLE DISTANCE STANDS WHAT LOOKS LIKE A LAKE.
It is actually an VERY LARGE ARRAY of SOLAR PANELS, producing electricity.
Two years ago, I visited - the front gate - of that installation...and was not allowed any closer...even shooed away beyond photographic distance.
Hope our first day in the Desert was enjoyable. I pass each place only once...and quickly at that. Not nearly enough time to dwell. The Desert is actually ALIVE with surprises...perhaps I will be fortunate to discover - and share - some.
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Have been fortunate to be invited by BURGER KING, KRAMER JUNCTION, to use their WI FI...AND to park the night. Tomorrow, will drive / walk out 20 - 30 miles on US 395 toward the growing city of VICTORVILLE, California...where we hang a LEFT on Highway 247, leading deeper into the MOJAVE Desert.
Be assured, MELISSA...I am paying close attention...will not let you down !!!