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Posts Tagged ‘driving in California’

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There is a lot of road in California and I was lucky enough to travel on what is probably only a tiny portion of it.  But still, the occasional endlessness of it was so inspiring, like anything seemed possible.

After climbing out of Death Valley we were plunged into another valley and the straightest, longest road I have ever seen, with mirage-like layers of salt flat and brown rock, climbing towards a mountainous summit. We passed probably one car in that whole stretch of road.

On another road, driving towards Tecopa from Las Vegas, we didn’t see another car at all, let alone a house or settlement of any kind – for over 150 miles. To be so far from civilization was liberating but, I admit, also scary. Those days of long lonely roads stay with me – The Eagles on repeat in the CD player, the relentless sun and heat, the dust, the strange, crater-like landscapes, gradually becoming lush and tree-filled, the desperate need to pee, but most of all, the wonderful feeling of wanton adventure mingled with an electric fear of what was so unknown to me.

Road

Other roads we travelled were rather more ‘populated’, but it was the more unusual sights that made me dive for my camera. This water tower looked like an alien ‘Tripod’ about to clamber over and stamp on us.

Water tower

We passed many wind farms but this one was the most photogenic. I was mesmerised by the repetition of pattern that went on for miles and miles.

Wind farm

Seeing this wonderful big St Bernard dog in the back of a flat-bed truck really made me smile. It was one of the many times when I thought to myself ‘I love America!’

St Bernard

Joshua Tree National Park had a profound effect on me. It was again like we were the only humans for miles around. We hardly saw another living soul at all, apart from the funny little creatures that may or may not have been kangaroo rats that popped up everywhere during our hike.  I was, however, nursing a perhaps irrational terror of bumping into a rather less cute and cuddly animal, or, should I say, arachnid. Others might think that tarantulas (I can barely type and look at the word) are cute and cuddly, but not me. I actually asked a gentleman at the Death Valley NP visitors centre about the likelihood of coming across a t-word. He said that they are in their burrows under ground during the summer but that in the winter it is common to see them crossing the road. He didn’t notice my shudder and went on to ask if I had a ‘special interest’ in them…

Joshua Tree NP

The open road became so second nature to us that even when civilization really was limited to a handful of trailers at the side of a dusty road, we weren’t really that shocked.

Tecopa

From the blazing heat and dust we moved into altogether different territory as we crossed the Sierra Nevada. The dry desert valley roads  gave way to alpine mountain passes, complete with a large helping of snow which in places was still over 6 feet thick, even in late May.

Sonora pass

These roads, in turn, gave way to farming country – straight, Roman-style roads lined with trees and green fields that stretched to infinity. The barns, unusually shaped to me, really caught my eye.

Barn

So, on we went from farmland to Napa Valley, from Napa to San Francisco and from there to Los Angeles, via the Pacific Coast Highway. The cold grey weather could not dampen our spirits as we crept along route 1, the waves crashing against the shore to our right.

Pacific Coast Highway

Our road trip came to an end when we arrived back in LA, although the freeway driving obviously added to the whole experience. However, it is those human-free desert roads that I think of and remember when I want to get that feeling of freedom back. You would need only to have seen the delighted expression on my face as we zoomed along those roads, the wind in our hair, to know why…

wing mirror

Now, you might have been wondering what a blogger on interiors and architecture is doing sharing such experiences as these! Well, it is because my design ideas are informed by so many elements, and not least the natural world. I have indulged in my fond memories in the hope that it will inspire you in some way too.

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