Thursday, September 12, 2013

I-8 Rocks

After a brief stay in Tucson, we headed north on I-10 and then picked up I-8 on our way to Santee, CA. Very soon after crossing the border into California, we passed the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide
The electric towers and poles among the dunes appear as residents standing watch over the solitude.

As we drove along the highway, we had the sense of traveling through a kaleidoscope.
Each turn seemed to bring a different set of shapes and colors into view. With the large number of the wind turbines that are part of the Ocotillo Wind Project, the sense of an ever-changing picture in a kaleidoscope was only magnified.
Just one giant is impressive, but seeing a "wind farm" is mesmerizing.
And then we move into vast tracts of unpopulated farmland and sparse desert browned by the summer sun. Nora Burba Trulsson at, describes the route through southern Arizona and Southern California as being, for the most part, "a hellish road; the long miles of nothing are occasionally interspersed with signs of civilization in the form of off-ramp gas stations and mini markets."
Along the same lines, the title of today's blog is not a simple subject-verb sentence; instead it is an adjective-noun combination.

Some of the mountains seem to be simply piles of rocks.
However, others are serious mountains. I-8 passes through El Centro, which is 45 feet below sea level, and climbs to over 4,000 feet above sea level to cross the Cuyamaca Mountains.

We had some guesses about the function of this structure (below), but no answers.
Even this small array of shrubs (below) along the interstate was a welcome change of scenery.
Gradually, signs of people--thousands of people--began to emerge as the drive took us from the stretch of thousands of rocks.

One of our first stops in San Diego was at Gaglione Brothers for an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak. I go with a simple basic cheesesteak;
Kate prefers a "kicked up" version--the mushroom cheesesteak--the best cheesesteaks west of Tony Luke's, on Oregon Ave. in Philadelphia.
We also enjoyed lunch and conversation at Red Lotus in Santee with Dick and Karen Allsing and Dick's brother Paul and his wife Cindy. All were spared the "paparazzi effect" of being photographed.

1 comment:

DennyG said...

That's Desert View Tower in your photo. In conjunction with the adjacent Boulder Park, it offers a big view and some nicely decorated rocks for climbing. Plus it has interesting history and a cool owner.