My original plan was to visit a cousin in Berkeley, California. A lot of factors drove me to skip this portion of my trip, not the least of which was the Kincde wild fire burning in Sonoma County. I stopped to write my last blog post in Ukia and to contact my cousin to finalize plans for a short visit for lunch or dinner. I also tried to do some troubleshooting of a computer issue that I’m having in Saco, ME. That problem is going to have to wait until I get back.

After contacting my cousin, we decided that the visit wouldn’t work. Traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway was already jammed up at lunch time; Berkeley is downwind, so air quality necessitated that we try again on my next time through California. I headed back north to catch state route 20 and get over to I-5 and travel the central valley. I hit Sacramento at rush hour. That was no fun, but eventually managed to make it to Bakersfield and found a state park to stay at in Ripon. I saw the smoke rising from the hills south of me as I cut across on Rte. 20.
I didn’t really take any pictures of the drive through southern California. There wasn’t much to see. The Central Valley, the source of 11% of America’s food, is very flat –  mile after mile of factory farms growing a lot of different things, plus orange groves. My point was to get through it and get to my next destination in Phoenix, Arizona. I was routed around fires in Southern California and ended up passing through San Bernardino and Palm Springs. San Bernardino is nestled in the hills and is pretty. I got there at sunset and the smoke from the fires gave the sky a lovely hue, but not something that could be caught on camera. By the time I got to Palm Springs, it was dark. The brown mountains west of Los Angeles are very beautiful, but I can truly understand why southern California has a wildfire problem. It is very dry.

I pushed on and I arrived at my friend’s house in Gilbert, Arizona around 11:00 pm. I’m checking out the job prospects here. Nothing is really standing out – this is a “mcjobs” recovery, even in my field. I’ll be moving on tomorrow.

The original plan was to travel eastward on I-10. It would be warmer, for sure, but my next visits are in Texas and Oklahoma then Georgia as I travel on the east leg of my journey and I-40 makes more sense. Having gotten a late start on this trip, cold weather has certainly become a factor in my decision making for sure.