Monday, August 13, 2007

Vanishing America hits the Road!


It's Sunday, and I'm finally on the road to Redding.

This officially marks the beginning of my Vanishing America Journey!

To kick things off, I had breakfast this morning with Monique Marvez from Jack FM's morning show in San Diego. She is stoked about having me call in from the road to giver her and her listeners updates on my progress. Monique has been a stand-up comic for over 10 years – most of which was spent on the road traveling the U.S. just like I'm doing. (That's one of the reasons she's interested in this project. We have some common ground.)

After breakfast at this cool old (and original) Hollywood hills café, I hit the road. In keeping with my vow to avoid the Interstates at all costs, I'm taking Hwy 395 so I can avoid the cities and swing by Yosemite on my way to Redding. It's a little out of the way, but that's what this trip is all about: seeing things I wouldn't normally see otherwise.

By evening I had made it up the Eastern Sierras as far as Lone Pine, a little town nestled in on Hwy 395 between Sequoia National Park and Death Valley National Park, about 3 hours northeast of Bakersfield. Apparently it's a stopover for folks on their way to Mammoth.

It took me about 7 hours and I passed through some very interesting scenery on my way up here. Most of what I drove through was desert scrub, with an occasional mining town thrown in to break the monotony. But, the most interesting part was on the way to Coso Junction Rest Area in Rose Valley, about 10 minutes south of Lone Pine. For several miles prior to reaching the rest area, you could see from the highway huge outcroppings of dark volcanic rock and red volcanic sand. It was an incredibly stark contrast to the smooth rolling scrub hills of the Eastern Sierras. This area, as I later found out, is geothermically active, helping to create natural wonders like Fossil Falls and Mono Lake.

I need an extra day to catch up on my writing, emails, editing, etc., so I'm spending the night at the Boulder Creek RV Resort -- a very nice, quiet campground right off the 395, about 5 miles south of Lone Pine. It's a very pretty place, for being out in the middle of nowhere, and it's extremely affordable -- $27/night with full hookups, a pool and spa, lounge with cable tv, a very nice general store, and a surprisingly pleasant staff. If you're camping in an RV, I highly recommend this as a stopover. Just be prepared for a lot of wind!

And, I'm glad it's out in the middle of nowhere, because you can see lots of stars, and even the Milky Way. And, that's a good thing, because the Perseid meteor shower is supposed to be visible tonight!

On a side note, the image and website on the RV seems to be generating buzz already! I have to admit, it was exciting when Don Goldberg dropped me a line after seeing me drive through the LA area on my way up here. His was the first contact I've had as a direct result of seeing the rig. Since then, I've received another email from a nice person named Loreto, who lives in Chile, who found my blog online!

While I'm flying under the radar, I still have time to answer emails from folks like Don and Loreto, but soon, after I get a few interviews under my belt and do a couple of segments for Fox & Friends, I expect to be so busy that I won't have much time to answer all my emails. But, I will try!

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