Monday, July 11, 2016

Flagstaff, AZ to Los Angeles, CA

The Journey

Two days for travel and sightseeing

The Route 
Flagstaff, AZ Route 66/I-40 to Hwy 95 to Lake Havasu City, AZ > Hwy 95 to Parker, AZ Hwy 62 to Joshua Tree National Park > Hwy 74 to Palm Springs, CA Hwy 79 to Hwy 60 to Los Angeles & Hollywood

Historic Route 66 piggybacks on I-40 west of Flagstaff for about half the distance to California.  While on the interstate, you will make quick work of the distance at 80 mph, but occasionally the "mother road" will detour through a town, veer off and follow a train track, or otherwise leave the fast lane.
 *Paul Bunyan makes many cameo appearances along Route 66

 *Neon signs are numerous along Route 66.  As with many others, the neon on this sign may or may not work completely.  You only know for sure at night.

As the road shuttles you toward California, you begin to see the southern offshoot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  These peaks were formed by, and stand as evidence of, one of the several fault lines that run like arteries through California.
*Watch your step in the desert.

Near the border to California, in Lake Havasu City, AZ you can take a ride or stroll over the London Bridge; yes, the real London Bridge.  From the 1830s until 1967, the bridge stood over the River Thames in London, England.  Then in the late 60's, after a new bridge better suited for modern traffic was constructed in London, the founder of Lake Havasu City purchased the bridge, had it deconstructed  and shipped to Arizona, then reconstructed stone by stone and placed across the Colorado River.

We entered California from Lake Havasu City and drove south of the Mojave Desert to Joshua Tree National Park.  

Joshua Tree NP is an impressive amalgamation of gigantic smooth boulders, Seussian Joshua Trees, and breathtaking views of the Coachella Valley.  The boulders appear to have been randomly piled up around Joshua Tree by some prehistoric giants, but in fact they are the result of a unique geologic process, combining volcanology, water, wind, and time, which you can read about here.
*I couldn't push them apart 

*My wife in the nostril of the aptly named Skull Rock

It is believed that Joshua Trees were named by migrating Mormons after the Biblical Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of Moses.  Fleshy, spiny, and snaky, never fully horizontal nor vertical, Joshua Trees appear to be blindly and jealously searching for water in this arid landscape.
*When driving through Joshua Tree NP, these passing trees' branches appear to move like tentacles in the blurred edges of your vision.  It is not much of a stretch, in the recesses of your mind, to sense that the trees which have now passed fully behind your line of sight have begun to uproot and crawl... toward you... fodder for a nightmare...
*This one appears to be pulling my wife in with one of its tentacular branches.

Keys View, on the peaks of the Little San Bernardino Mountains in Joshua Tree NP, provides panoramic views of the Coachella Desert Valley.  Coachella is home to Palm Springs, CA and hosts the world famous annual Coachella music festival.

The Coachella Valley receives strong winds that rush over the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass (in picture above, top right near the bright spot in the sky).  As we drove down from Joshua Tree NP into Palm Springs, we passed the massive turbines of wind farms which receive these winds and convert them into electrical energy for mass consumption.

Visiting Palm Springs is like taking a step back in time.  The abundant mid-century modernist architecture beneath the tall palm trees gives the city its unique flair.
*Elvis' 1967 honeymoon home with Priscilla Presley

From Palm Springs, we climbed through the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains then descended into San Bernardino.

From San Bernardino, we fought the Los Angeles traffic into Hollywood.

Stay tuned as we enjoy some time in the City of Angels.
 *Santa Monica Beach

*In-N-Out Burger!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. When can I sign up for your pay-as-you-go online travel-the-US service? :)