SUMMARY: Thoughts and photos from a Friday afternoon drive.
Leaving at 2:30 on a Friday afternoon is quite different from leaving at 4:00 on a Saturday morning. For one thing, I'm awake. For another, traffic is already getting heavy. My drive to Turlock took me two and a quarter hours instead of one and a half. But the best thing is that I can see things and enjoy the ride a bit more.
(As usual, photos taken while not taking eyes off of traffic are of bad quality. Fixed what I could in photoshop.)
|It was a windy day. Going over the Altamont Pass, the thousands of bright white windmills lining the golden hill ridges spun at top speed. The gentle curves of the hills, the muted gold, the muted sky, all made a lovely picture. This photo can't begin to capture it. But it was something to look at while traffic stopped and goed.|
|A common sight in the golden California hills, since all that gold is made from dried grasses, which burns with great delight. Every summer, the blackened earth spreads across different places.|
|Turning off I-5 onto 132, the highway turns into a two-laner and starts out winding along the Merced River, which you can catch glimpses of from moment to moment. |
At the outskirts of Modesto along 132, the St. Stanislaus parish is building a huge new domed cathedral (no photo, will have to think about it next trip there in September). I didn't even know there was a St. Stanislaus; I always knew Stanislaus as an Indian name, among all the Yosemites and Miwuks and similar western Sierra place names. In fact, there are apparently TWO St. Stanislauses--neither of them Miwok--Stanislaus of Szczepanów (1030–1079) and Stanislaus Kostka (1550–1568). However, the Miwok Indian Stanislaus is apparently more commonly known as Estanislao and, at least according to Wikipedia, "many Californians believe that Estanislao was the real Zorro." (One of my lifelong heros--Zorro, that is. And one of Boost's new half sisters has a Zorro mask. I have video but no photo from this weekend.)
|As I arrived at the outskirts of Modesto, this double-trailer hay truck pulled out in front of me. Didn't go too fast after that. How about that lean to the load? I've heard of people getting crushed when one of these things overturned.|
|I read such signs wistfully. For most of my life when traveling, I'd go track down this historic sight (or site) and check it out. For agility, I bypass all such tempting tidbits and go straight to the agility trial or straight home. Sigh.|
|Amazing how many signs our brains can process and weed through for the relevant info without even thinking about it.|
|Blooming oleanders make a beautiful median along Highway 99 in Modesto. They used to line 280 up the peninsula, too, and many other stretches of Bay Area freeway, but they've all gone away due to lane additions or maintenance issues.|