Monday, April 25, 2011

Travelin' to Aguanga, CA

Well, we  just missed all the excitement....on our last day in Indio, there was an earthquake! Magnitude of 3.0, nothing too serious...we had already left and were driving to Aguanga, about an hour and a half away. The San Andreas fault is not too far from Indio, so they are used to feeling the earth shake and shimmy, would be my guess....Well, I just had to ask Eldo, "Honey, did you feel the earth move?" and he said, "No, silly!"  I forgot to show the photos of the thousands of windmills in the Coachella Valley that we left behind as we made our way to Aguanga (love those California names--Cuyamaca, Chowchilla, chimichanga...(How did THAT one get in there? asks E). I think there are over 4,000 of them, (windmills, that is) and you can take a windmill tour and learn all about them. The tour is expensive, so we didn't take it. (30.00 a person) There are so many wind turbines because of the high winds in the Coachella Valley, which are stronger in the spring. It was exceptionally windy the entire time we were there at the Indio fairgrounds according to what the locals said.....The wind is what drives the weather across the rest of the country, but how that all works is a mystery to me. I need to take a meteorology class some time!
Not the best photo-it's through a dirty windshield, they are actually quite beautiful!
Here's a little info about the windmills...They cost around $300,000 each.  Almost all of the currently installed wind electric generation capacity is in California. One of the wind farms in the San Bernadino Mountains, the one in the San Gorgonio Mountain Pass, has more than 4,000 separate windmills! They provide enough electricity to power Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. The blades are more than half a football field long. When you see some of them spinning like crazy, and then some are standing still right next to a moving one, it has to do with "microcells" of wind moving across the blades. Microcomputers monitor the wind speeds and direction and shut down the blades if needed to fine tune  maximum efficiency. Some of them are mounted on towers (which are more aerodynamically efficient) and some are mounted on latticework towers, to appease environmentalists who bemoan the windmill solid towers interfering with the beauty of the landscape and being able to see the mountains. Eldo says, in so many words, this is an ugly desecration of the landscape. To me, they are kind of beautiful, knowing that the wind is generating clean electricity and not smog and pollution.
photo courtesy of the web
Back to the drive today....The scary part was driving highway 74 to Aguanga. This was the route the GPS told us to take to Aguanga. As we started out, it immediately became one of those twisty, steep climbs up the mountains, with hairpin curves and very narrow lanes. I really got scared. I thought we weren't supposed to be on this highway with a motorhome towing a car. I did see a sign that said "truck route" which made me feel a little better. But we only saw ONE semi coming the other way the entire trip over and through the mountains. We kept worrying about tunnels, but I did a truck atlas check and there weren't any cautions for this highway heading to our destination. Eldy did a magnificent job of taking his time, pulling over on the pullouts to let faster moving traffic go by. Once I got over my fears of the highway, the views were incredible! We climbed to over 6,000 feet up before the highway leveled off, and came back down towards a valley and the town of Aguanga. The highway number changes as you make your way to Aguanga. I was too rattled to remember the number changes, but I know we ended up on highway 79 eventually, and the elevation came back down to somewhere around 2100 feet. Eldo was a little stressed, to say the least!

one of the park's views
But we're here in Aguanga, at the Escapees Park called Jojoba Hills. It's on a hillside, it's beautiful, reasonably priced (20.00 for full hookup) and wait till you see the photos tomorrow! Here's an early bird one above....We'll be here for five days so see you at Jojoba Hills tomorrow!

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