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Reno-LA-Reno Loop - 11.09

Tourism trip to see the far west coast and LA areas.

INLAND CALIFORNIA
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(left) dockside along the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento.

(right) Delta King river boat from the 1880s.

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(left) Main Street in the old town tourist area near the riverfront.

(right) strange newage structure, directly across the river from the Delta King. Scenes from "The Mentalist" have been filmed from the balconies.

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Sacramento [2] has a very pleasant downtown area just east of the riverfront. Too bad the smog from here and the San Francisco Bay Area extends for 50-miles up into the Sierra foothills, blighting the landscape and views.
(left) gutworks of the massive 1935-era Tower drawbridge, just south of the riverfront area. See here for a better pictures of the entire bridge [2].

(right) pleasant scene along the river a few miles south of downtown Sacramento.

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The Sacramento River Delta [map] extends for 50-miles south of the city, and contains dozens of separate islands with 100s of miles of waterway. Driving down Rte-160 and hoping to find some nice wetlands, we discovered the land on the west side of the delta was largely cleared and converted to farmland more than 100 years ago.
(left) driving along the top of the levee on Rte-160 south. Orchards and farmland to the sides.

(right) another cool drawbridge, near Courtland. Considering we hadn't seen even one ship on the river for over 50-miles, the drawbridge operators probably spend a lot of time reading the newspaper. However, ships have the Deep Water Ship Channel [2] to the west for trafficking.

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(left) another cool drawbridge, across the main Sacramento River channel at Rio Vista.

(right) windmill farm on island just south of Rio Vista, with at least several-hundred turbines. One of 3 humungous windfarms [2] between here and the Tracy/Altamont area to the south. In all, maybe 1 in 20 or 30 turbines was actually turning in any of them - our green dollars at work.

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COASTAL CALIFORNIA
(left) the beautiful and pleasant village of Monterey, as seen from across the bay at the village of Seaside (converted from old Fort Ord).

(right) the old wharf at Monterey, as seen from the new wharf, or maybe the other way around.

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Monterey [2] has a very pleasant and small downtown area.

A lot of people think of Carmel [2] on the steep hillside, going down to the sea, as the ultimate tourist town.

(left) the coast at Carmel Highlands, a few miles down Rte-1 from Monterey and Carmel.

(right) heading down Hwy-1. 120-miles of this, from Monterey in the north to Morro Bay in the south.

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(left) looking south, about halfway down, the road goes on seemingly forever - and it really does. The road everywhere is mainly cut into the cliffs a few hundred vertical feet above the surf.

(right) looking back north, from whence we came. Think - turn, turn, turn. The state color of California (bleached-brown) is unmistakable.

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Somewhere, up on the wuthering heights in the previous two photos, is the California Coastal Trail [Monterey southern section] [San Luis northern section].
(left) Morro Bay and Morro Rock, down past the end of the long and winding highway.

(right) heading east from Morro Bay through the Los Osos Valley towards San Luis Obispo.

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Morro Bay is a nice little town along the coast which hasn't seemed to have gone the way of the rest of California, as yet.

Pismo Beach, a few miles south south of Morro Bay, is more like southern California culture.

(left) looking down at the coastal valley west of Lompoc.

(right) along coastal Hwy-1 between Oxnard and Malibu, quite possibly the only place in LA with hardly any people.

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INLAND TO VEGAS AND RENO
(left) coming into Victorville on the PearBlossom Highway, Rte-18.

(right) Mohave Desert, east of Barstow along I-15.

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Route-95 is the only major north-south highway in western Nevada, and runs for 400 mostly-empty miles from Vegas to just east of Reno. The scenery is somewhat better along Rte-395 in California east of the Sierras.
(left) Mt. Charleston (elev, 11,915'), on the northwest outskirts of Las Vegas.

(right) wide-open spaces, just north of Vegas. The sign says Beatty 96-miles ahead.

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(left) coming into the tiny town of Goldfield, smack dab in the middle of the wasteland. Think - summer temperatures in the 120-degF range.

(right) heading north up the grade into Tonopah, snow-chain area ahead.

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Tonopah (elev. 6030') is literally the only non-tiny town in all of central Nevada for 100s of miles.
(left) the good-sized Sea of Gallilee (actually Walker Lake) just north of Hawthorne, and the only standing body of water in Nevada south of Reno (save for the impound at Hoover Dam).

(right) just north of Yerington, and certainly the most fertile place we've seen yet in Nevada.

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