Part I: Getting There
We left without incident in the early evening along the well-worn path of the famous US 101. In Ventura we went east.
Did you ever wonder where those big potted trees you find in malls come from? They're not dug up out of the jungle soil, they're from Sunny Southern California.
A little further, and now well into the Mojave Desert (right outside the eponymously named small town of Mojave in fact) we came across an airliner graveyard. When old airliners become unairworthy (airunworthy?) for whatever reason, they're flown out to the nice dry desert to sit and be picked apart as their good parts become needed.
There was some unusual scenery as we made a (low) mountain pass at Red Rock Canyon State Park
By now it was dusk, and we were far removed from the hustle and bustle (and wall-to-wall people) that is stereotypical (but certainly not typical, as this trip showed us) of California. As I drove, Melissa took this shot out Ludwig's rear window toward the southern terminus of the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains.
After getting a last tankful of even remotely cheap gas at the windy desert outpost of Olancha, it was too dark to take any pictures. Really, about a half-hour into the park it was too dark to see anything. The road was winding and at times pretty scary (but fun, of course).
After a steep climb up from Panamint Lake (dry) to Towne Pass (4956 ft above sea level), we plunged nearly one vertical mile into the overwhelming darkness of the Valley itself, sometimes at speeds exceeding 90mph, which is as fast (actually, about 15mph faster) as I'd ever care to drive Ludwig again.
(to be continued...)