Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Space Travel, Wind and Trains in Mojave, California

April 24 - 30, 2013

We arrived at Sierra Trails RV Park around noon, and squeezed the rig into a campsite, a spot very hard to maneuver into with all the trees, shrubs and sidewalks in the way.  It is a nice place though, but a bit tight.  After weeks of boondocking, it is a novelty to just let the water run, turn on all the lights and take many long showers.  We have even brought the electric coffee pot and the toaster out again after being packed away for a couple of months.  Also no more bone jarring, dusty washboard dirt roads to get to the campsite.  

The town of Mojave is yet another railroad town, we can't seem to get away from them?  It is also another depressed old town on the down slide, dirt poor, but with a high tech side.    

It is reminding me of a Mary Gautier song lyric;  
It's another night
In another town
And I'm another blues traveler headed down.  

The distant view to the north west is really strange, there are hundreds of huge wind turbines, maybe a thousand, all turning like a giant robot kinetic sculptures. 

I watched part of the Ken Burns special "The Dust Bowl" last night, a very depressing show.  I feel like we went through a bit of this at Borrego Springs and Joshua Tree and we now have dust everywhere.   The plan for the the week is to get the truck and the RV cleaned up again along with some hiking at Red Rock Canyon north of here.  

Downtown Mojave doesn't have much to offer anymore, but I did find a nice coffee shop that looks like a breakfast/lunch spot and we ate dinner yesterday at "Primo Burger" which was surprisingly good and way more than burgers.  The big deal in town is the Air and Space  Port, the nations first inland civilian space port.  This was the base for the "Space Ship One" which was the first privately funded spacecraft to reach space and go into orbit winning a 10 million dollar prize.  The Port was originally a WWII training air base.   

If you go about 10 miles west you come to "California City" which is relatively new and fast growing, but butt ugly !  The "pants falling down" look is still alive a and well at California City.

If you go about 18 miles west you come to the beautiful scenic town of Tehachapi with many nice shops, restaurants, famous Apples and much culture.  It is also a historic railroad town with the famous "Tehachapi Bend" a few miles north.  The Tehachapi Pass outside of town is covered with massive wind turbines that are quite spectacular.  This is another very windy place, perfect for the wind turbines and I read that one day last week they recorded their highest output ever. 

We have found "Daves Killer bread", really good stuff and inspiring story of goodness overcoming evil.  

We were back to hiking on Friday at Red Rock Canyon State Park. We did a couple of short but satisfying trails on the Hagen Canyon loop and the Red Cliffs loop trails.  We also checked out the Visitors Center which had good exhibits.  Lots of old classic western movies have been done at Red Rock Canyon.  We were a little disappointed with the quantity of hiking available, most of this area seems to be dedicated to the OHV (Off road vehicle) crowd.  We stopped at the Jawbone Canyon Store just south of the Park which is the OHV crowd hangout, it's a small store with a front porch and a outside patio area.  It took us a while to figure out how the system works, you buy your beer in the store then sit on the front porch and drink it.  There were several riders coming in, hanging out, getting beer all dressed up in their finest Darth Vader looking riding apparel. This OHV stuff is really big and popular in California, we have been seeing it everywhere we go.   

Saturday we went to Tehachapi, I checked out the railroad museum while Twinkles checked out the two quilt/fabric shops in town.  We then had an excellent lunch at the "Red House BBQ", might be the best BBQ ever !  The railroad museum was also excellent, the attendant there gave me the whole story on the famous "Tehachapi Loop" which is an impressive sight and will be another adventure.

Sunday was a another solo day for me to observe the technical and engineering marvels of the area.  First to the Mojave Space Port to see the Space Ship One replica and the place where private space travel is being developed.  

Next to the railroad town of Tehachapi to check out the famous "Tehachapi Loop".  The ride to the loop goes through a beautiful mountainous area to a roadside viewing area.  It is a remarkable sight when you see this huge freight train winding around the loop with the front of the train passing the rear of the train.

 Then to the Tehachapi Pass to the "Pacific Crest Trail" to take a short, very windy hike through the Wind Turbine area.  The Pacific Crest Trail goes for 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada and this section has to be one of the most interesting.  This area was responsible for much of the early development of wind power and it is awe inspiring to walk through.

Monday was spent cleaning the RV slides and seals, putting my regular wheel/tire back on, stowing the spare tire and repairing a broken bolt in the Landing Gear drive shaft connection.

Sir Richard Branson was in Mojave on Monday for a critical test flight of his Space Ship Two rocket plane.  Don't know why he didn't call me ?  The test flight was a huge success with the plane reaching supersonic speed, up to an altitude of 55,000 feet. About 580 people have already paid  $200,000 each for space flight tickets to date.  They expect to make a space test flight with this plane by the end of the year.  

On Wednesday we are off to Three Rivers, California near the south western entrance to Sequoia National Park.  It's finally time to move out of the desert and into the land of the big trees. 

Until then, keep cruising,
Twinkles and Slick 

The famous Tehachapi Loop

The Jawbone Canyon Store

Terminus of the 20 Mule Team Borax wagons in Mojave 

Tehachapi Water Tower

Wind Turbines on Tehachapi Pass

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon
Sometimes a painting is worth a thousand photos
Air mail mural in Tehachapi
Apple growing mural in Tehachapi
Mojave Air and Space Port entrance
Freight cars in Mojave with wind turbines in distance
The Tehachapi Loop with train in the Loop
View from the Pacific Crest Trail
Red Rock Canyon view
Another Red Rock Canyon view
Wind Turbines near Tehachapi

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