I didn't quite make it to Redwood City where I'll be staying for the next week. It got dark and I had to cross the mountains through the Pacheco Pass. There were high wind warnings for the pass so I decided to wait until the morning. I'm staying in Santa Nella, CA. It worked out good because I was able to eat dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's. This one isn't the original, that's located in Buellton down near Santa Barbara, but the pea soup is just as good. Sue and I ate at the original a couple of years ago when we were vacationing in Tehachapi. The original restaurant goes back 1924 when Anton and Juliette Anderson opened "Andersen's Electric Cafe". You can get the full story at http://www.peasoupandersens.net/history.shtml
The reason I didn't make it to Redwood City was that I stopped at too many roadside attractions. The first group was in Palmdale and Mojave. They were all aviation related as this area has alot of aviation history. Lockeed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell, and Edwards Air Force Base are in the area. The Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 has a collection of aircraft flown, tested, designed, produced or modified at United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. The Airpark has 17 retired military aircraft on static display plus a 1/8 scale model of the B-2 Spirit, an AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile and various components from other aircraft. A B-52 and C-46 are also on display. They expect to have over 40 retired military and civilian aircraft on static display when it's fully developed. It didn't open until 1100 so I had to settle for looking through the fence.
On the way to Mojave, I detoured off the highway to drive down the Musical Road in Lancaster. Honda cut grooves in a road so that when a car drives over them at 50mph it plays "The William Tell Overture". When Winnie drove over it, I could hear a song but it wasn't recognizable. I guess it works better in a car. Honda used it in a Honda Civic ad for TV. Check out the attached video. You'll have to listen carefully.
The Mojave Air and Spaceport is the center of civilian space flight. At the Legacy Center they have models of the rotary rocket Roton and a model of SpaceShipOne. Roton was supposed to be a reusable spacecraft, but never made it into space. SpaceShipOne completed the first privately-funded human spaceflight on June 21, 2004 and won the $10-million Ansari X-Prize after reaching 100 kilometers in altitude twice in a two-week period. It was financed by Paul Allen and developed by Burt Rutan. British billionaire Sir Richard Branson is expected to fund SpaceShipTwo through his company Virgin Galactic. There's also an airplane graveyard where obsolete or out of service commercial airplanes are stored. While I was trying to get a better vantage point for the graveyard, I drove Winnie down a dead end street. I tried to turn around at the entrance to BAE Systems hangar, but there wasn't enough room. Winnie was completely blocking the entrance. Lucky it was Saturday. I had to drive the car off the tow dolley, unhook the dolley, and then finish turning Winnie around. Once that was done, I had to hook everything up again. I'm glad is was cool out.
A more mundane attraction at Mojave was the Spare Parts Man at the Desert Truck Service. He's made of old truck parts and has a crown.
The next stop was Tehachapi. I stopped at the Apple Shed for lunch. Sue and I ate here in 2005 when we were on vacation at nearby Stallion Springs Resort. While in town I got to see the "Avenue of Faces". It's a series of "spirit faces" carved in trees with a chain saw by a local artist, Kent Holmgren. Tehachapi is famous for the Tehachapi Loop. The Loop is part of the Union Pacific rail line that goes through the Tehachapi Pass. It was built in the late 1800's and was considered one of the 7 railroad engineering wonders of the world. The tracks form a loop as they climp a 2% grade to the pass.
We passed the largest cattle feeding operation I've ever seen along I5. I smelled it over a mile before we got there. There were cattle as far as I could see from the road. I included an aerial view from Google Maps to give you an idea of the size.
There is a water dispute going on in the Central Valley between local farmers and the Federal Government. Much of the water used for irrigation in the Central Valley comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin rivers that feed San Francisco Bay. The Feds have choked off the water exported from the rivers to the Central Valley starting about 3 years ago to protect the Delta Smelt. Because the farms can't get enough water, much of the land is not under cultivation and lots of people are unemployed (up to 20 or 30%). There are signs up and down I5 and Ca Hwy. 99 protesting the situation and asking Congress to act to restore the water allocation. As a former fisheries biologist, it's amazing that so many people are being hurt in order to protect a small fish. I think the Bureau of Reclamation, USFWS, and NMFS need to worry about peoples' lives and turn the water back on.
Enough for tonight.