Bright and early rise today, off to California. After about an hour driving West on I70 to get over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, I noticed it getting colder. WAY colder! At the Donner Pass summit it was 34F. Now this is serious cold weather riding for a motorcycle. Who knows what kind of windchill this creates. I noticed that the highway department had worded a sign very clearly: Bridges may have ICE even though the roadway is clear. Congratulations on a clear sign. Most of these signs simply say 'bridges ice before roadway' which does not make sense to a person who has never driven in a colder climate. I noticed 2 of the bridges had dustings of something that I guessed was to reduce the ice buildup. I guess at 7800 feet elevation this is a normal occurrence, just not expected by me.
I left the interstate and headed West on California 20 for the next several hundred miles. This route takes one through the foothills of the mountains from where so much gold was taken in the late 1800's. The mining area was in the area now known as Grass Valley.
The interior valley of California is a HUGE agricultural region. Get water to the soil and it can grow just about anything. Nut and fruit trees, vegetables of every variety. Marysville, CA is the main city through which I drove in this agricultural region.
What a contrast between the rich vegetation with the dry California foothills. Aqueducts and canals bring water from several rivers to the fields.
Note on Rice farming: Huge tracts of land have been leveled and flooded for rice production. Then the rice is mechanically seeded into position. We have seen so many rice paddies in Asia with so many people hand planting and care taking that these California fields seem abandoned.
Crop dusters add chemicals to control the pests and weeds.
The dry hills of California are always catching fire. Old oak trees manage to hold out in these upper temperatures. While waiting for road construction on a hot black road, the temperature reached 94F.
What a relief to get over the hills and drive next to Clear Lake on the way to North US101
Redwood trees are amazing, old, tall, large at the base and valued for their color and resilience to weathering as used in decks and outside wood on homes. The next 100 miles of so of coastline has many locations of dense Redwood forests.
Imagine the base of a tree that is as wide as a school bus