Big Sur and Red Bluff; California, July 25-August 1, 2018 GPS Map

What a trip! We hadn’t been out to visit Jacque’s brother D.R. in three years. This time we also got to see Jacque’s cousin Karen. Our daughter Beatrix flew to Sacramento and joined us for the weekend, while Clara stayed home to take care of the house and the animals. On our way to Red Bluff we got to drive part of the Big Sur.

Best Western Plus Country Park Hotel, Tehachapi, California, July 25, 2018

By leaving before 5:00 AM, we beat the rush hour traffic through Phoenix.

I got a picture of the East Cactus Plain north of Bouse, then noticed the tire pressure warning light as we neared Parker. The fellow at the gas station said there was a tire repair shop in town. There we really lucked out: State Line Tire fixed the leak, quickly.

We crossed the bridge into California and went north to Needles on US 95, then west on I-40 to highway 58 in Barstow. I-40 was 109° and hazy, not good to stop for pictures.

The hill outside Needles figured in the great electric car race of 1968. Two teams, one from M.I.T. and the other from Cal Tech, raced each other 3,490 miles between Cambridge and Pasadena in their custom-made electric cars. But the M.I.T. team lost when their engine burned out on the hill outside Needles. They tried to climb it on a hot summer day, whereas the Cal Tech team crossed the Mojave Desert by night, in the opposite direction.

California 58 is a freeway near Barstow, then a divided highway, then a 2-lane highway with a notorious stop light that causes major traffic jams. We rolled into Tehachapi around 3:00 in the afternoon. Lots of windmills in them thar hills. The motel in Tehachapi was easy to find, cool and comfortable.

482.8 miles, 482.8 total.
Best Western Country Park Plus, Tehachapi, California:
:) Our room was comfortable and quiet, on the side opposite the railroad.
:) Tasty buffet breakfast included with the room.
:) Wi-fi was working fine.

East Cactus Plain, north of Bouse, Arizona.
Railroad and highway bridges over the Colorado River, joining Arizona and California.
Those black volcanic rocks are the north end of the Pisgah Crater.

Fairfield Inn & Suites, Santa Cruz, California, July 26, 2018

Hazy when we left Tehachapi, but the morning air was delightful.

In Bakersfield they’ve evidently rerouted highway 58. Seeing no signs, I went west on Stockdale Highway and eventually got to I-5.

After a long, hazy drive through the San Joaquin Valley on I-5 we turned west on 152 and the scenery improved. Highway 152 took us by the San Luis Reservoir and through the rolling hills of the California Coast Range over Pachaco Pass, covered with golden grass and patchy forest. Got in about 3:00, same as yesterday but we started later.

After a seafood dinner at HQ we went for a walk on Cliff Drive. Lots of people were out walking, some with kids and some with dogs.

301.8 miles, 784.6 total.

The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye.
Golden hills east of Pachaco Pass.
Flowers grace our passage:
white yellow
pink bee
The beach and the boardwalk at Santa Cruz.
Cliff Drive is popular for walking by the sea.
Play of the waves.

Fairfield Inn & Suites, Santa Cruz, California, July 27, 2018

We made it as far south as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, stopping to look around and take pictures at many of the scenic overlooks. There was coastal fog, which Jacque likes, part of the way. It burned off as we got farther south.

Then we came back to Santa Cruz on Highway 1, stopping for a Coke at Big Sur. Jacque and I had prawns for dinner at Aquarius, overlooking the beach.

179.0 miles, 963.7 total.
Fairfield Inn & Suites, Santa Cruz, California:
:| Small room, with no good place to put our suitcase.
:) Good buffet breakfast included with the room.
:) Wi-fi was working fine.

Don’t get your toes wet.
The Big Sur (California highway 1) hugs the coast.
The waves roll in and the waves roll out.
It’s a long way down.  Don’t fall over.
Hills on the east side of the Big Sur.
Colorful roadside vegetation.
The coastal fog started to burn away.
Land, sea, and fog.

2725 Highland Bluffs Dr., Red Bluff, California, July 28, 2018

Foggy when we left Santa Cruz, and it lasted until we got to the top on highway 17.

The Computer History Museum is a fantastic place! The have exhibits covering the whole history of computers, up to now anyway, and an amazing collection of obsolete computing equipment through the years.

We drove to Sacramento, suffering a major traffic jam on 680 in Fremont. Then Jacque and I walked around the state capitol in Sacramento. Beatrix was right on time getting to the airport, and the three of us went from there to Red Bulff. D.R. and his dog Oscar are fine. All is well.

310.5 miles, 1274.3 total.

“Computer” was once an occupational title.
Herman Hollerith used punched cards in the 1890 census.
“We asked Univac.”
Jacque and Ted heard a talk by Grace Murray Hopper at SUNY Potsdam College.
They don’t make hard disks like the used to.
Early Macintosh computer, and Lisa.
The Cray-1 supercomputer.
Let’s start a revolution.

California state capitol in Sacramento.
If you can bear with me for just a moment ...
Don’t get carried away.
... and that ain’t no bull.
The great seal.

2725 Highland Bluffs Dr., Red Bluff, California, July 29, 2018

We went out to breakfast in the smoke. It’s from the Carr fire that started from a car on fire, I’m told. The waitress at Denny’s has a son who is fighting the fire.

Later, D.R. took us sightseeing in the rolling, grassy hills south of Red Bluff. We got to see a part of California that few people see. Then we all went out to dinner. It was too smokey for pictures.

6.3 miles, 1280.6 total.

2725 Highland Bluffs Dr., Red Bluff, California, July 30, 2018

After breakfast at Shari’s we went looking for the remains of the Vestal Bridge. Didn’t find it, but we saw some more of California that most people never see.

In the afternoon we had a delightful visit with Karen, Jacque’s cousin, then we all went out for an Asian dinner.

D.R.’s dog Oscar, a black pug, is sure lively. He likes to give me a lickin’. I told Oscar that he can lick my cheek, my neck, and my ear, but not my mouth. And no nibbling on my finger. He comes into the bedroom at every opportunity and jumps up on the bed. When I put him out and close the door, he barks and growls and scratches on the door, but I won’t let him back in. What a dog!

55.9 miles, 1336.6 total.

Ted and D.R. by the house that Dave is building.
Ted, D.R., Beatrix, Karen, Jacque
License plate honoring Auntie Margaret.
“Hi there,” says a friendly horse.

Best Western Hi-Desert Inn, Tonopah, Nevada, July 31, 2018

Smoked out. You could see the moon when we started, but the smoke lasted almost all the way to Tonopah, making us cough and ruining all the pictures I was going to take.

The good news: we got started before 5:00 AM and beat the rush hour traffic in Sacramento. After leaving Beatrix at the Sacramento Airport we turned east on I-80. I was surprised to see how far east metropolitan Sacramento extends. It sure wasn’t that way when Jacque and I drove to Reno on September 20, 1974, to get married in Carson City the next day.

We arrived in Tonopah in mid-afternoon, walked around and had dinner before turning in.

504.0 miles, 1840.7 total.
Best Western Hi-Desert Inn, Tonopah, Nevada:
:) Our room was comfortable and quiet.
:) Good buffet breakfast included included with the room.
:) Wi-fi was working.

Emigrant Peak rises above the salt flats.
Colorful hills west of Tonopah, Nevada.

6414 E. Elmwood St., Mesa, Arizona, August 1, 2018

Our long drive home began with miles and miles of the Great Basin Desert—God’s country—along highway 95. Pretty soon we saw smoke ahead. The smoke lasted all the way to Las Vegas.

By noon we were in Arizona. We went through a messy construction zone in downtown Las Vegas, and then a confusing construction zone in Boulder City. With stops in Kingman for gas and Wickenburg for dinner, we got home just after 6:00.

536.5 miles, 2377.3 total.

  Arizona Hike Pictures updated August 2, 2018