Every month for the last eight years I have crossed the width of California, from Santa Cruz to Auberry. That's from the coast to the foothills of the Sierras. One part of my journey is across the San Joaquin Valley from Highway 5 to Highway 99. It's not that long a section...75 miles maybe, but it is very straight and very flat.
For a long time, I yearned for something else to look at but almond orchards and cornfields. Don't get me wrong, the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains can be incredibly beautiful, but too often recently the valley has terrible smog and you can't see the 10,000 ft. peaks ahead.
There are some features of the journey that I do love...
Who planted this alternate pattern of Mexican Fan Palms and Date Palms? This occurs for at least five miles along this road on both sides of Highway 152, south of the town of Chowchilla.
Dairy Barn on Turner Island Road
It is simply amazing to stand inside such a large structure that is built with little sticks of wood.
Thank you to the unknown owner of this place for having fun!
I owe a great debt to Professor Kenneth Helphand of the University of Oregon for turning me on to the idea of Landscape in the bigger sense, and for having me read the great Cultural Geographers - John Brinckerhoff Jackson, Yi-Fu Tuan and Pierce Lewis.