We are off on a road trip for the next few weeks! It is so exciting to “get out of Dodge” and see other parts of the world, familiar and new. The morning of the 6th is when we slid out of town, stopping for a fast food breakfast just because we could. And then out to the I-5 to head up to Chico to stay at our favorite place there, the Goodman House Bed & Breakfast.
I always enjoy the drive up to Chico. There are so many changes in the landscape on the trip. Where we live, in the suburbs, we move into the congestion of Los Angeles to connect to the I-5, and from there drive through the craziness of the Grapevine, only to end up in the vast expanses of the Central Valley. This valley is one of the most productive areas in the country for crops, ranging from rice and cotton to stone fruits and nuts. Unfortunately, with the drought of the last few years, irrigation has become a problem as water is becoming more scarce and more stringently rationed by the state to farmers. Some crops require more water than others, which means some farmers suffer more than others. Fruit and nut trees take time to grow, as do vines, while other crops may be seasonal. I wonder, though, what the future holds for us as the planet continues to warm – what can we do as far as sustainable food production with more drought-tolerant crops? Some farmers are blaming it on Congress and the Democrats – there were signs posted along the roadside saying “Thank Obama and Congress for another dust bowl” or something like that. These days, water is power.
That said, the San Joaquin (another name for the Central Valley) is impressive! The closer we got to Chico, the closer the hills came, and the more the crops became fruits and nuts. Orchards never cease to draw my eye; I love trees, and lines of trees are endlessly fascinating to me. Chico is a college town, with a state university in its midst, as well as the famous Sierra Nevada Brewery. Walking around Chico is very pleasant as there are tall, old trees lining so many of the streets. It was rather sticky and muggy, but still worth the bit of sweat we worked up just to be able to enjoy another city.
At the very top of the Central Valley along the I-5, you move into mountains formed by volcanos, the most famous of which is Mt. Shasta. To me, that first look at that snow-covered ancient volcano is awesome – snow in the middle of summer, pointed, and unlike everything else around it. That, to me, tells me I am moving into new territory.