I rarely do a road trip.
Roads for the sake of roads… NO I go on roads all the time, but I want to GET somewhere. I don’t want to BE on the road. Roads make me soporific. If someone else is driving it is all I can do to be polite enough to keep my eyes open. It’s like the car seats have tranquilizer darts that shoot a constant dose of directly into my blood stream. If ever there is a drive that makes me soporific, it’s this one – between Kettleman City and Paso Robles, California. My goal is to GET TO THE BEACH!
East of Kettleman City I should be more soporific than I am. The road goes right THROUGH Tulare Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Or at least it
WAS a lake. There is nothing very interesting about driving on the bottom of a shallow lake that has been drained and now grows mostly cotton. NOTHING. But that is not the part of the trip that makes me soporific. Maybe the canal keeps me awake. I do like water.
As you head west after the light to get on I 5 South, which is also a VERY BORING road, by the way, you head towards the foothills of the coastal mountains. This is where I do my best sleeping in the car, usually with my mouth open and my head back.
This time when I got to that part of the trip, however, something was very different. I was driving. It is really NOT a good idea to get soporific when YOU are the one driving.
So I decided to make a road trip out of my goal of getting to the beach to have fun with my friends.
You might notice a pattern happening here. BROWN. I grew up in the Midwest where brown scenery was not considered beautiful The only scenery in the Midwest are the trees, and brown trees are not a good look. Do you see any
TREES here? NO
It takes a while to develop an appreciation for the beauty in brown scenery when GREEN is the default beautiful color. But get past it folks. Look for the beauty here.
Are you still awake?
We’re not there yet.
We still have more than an hour to go. So you know how I stayed awake? It was partly the fact I was driving, partly the shadows in the arroyos, and partly the clouds.
The hills were amazing. I would go around a corner and think, “WOW, that would make a beautiful picture. I should STOP. I keep going. Still beautiful, no place to pull over. Still beautiful. Oh here’s a place to pull over.”
By that time the scenery totally changed. The scenic pullover spot – blowing grasses and, on this fortuitous day, clouds. I took a picture of my shadow because the wind was blowing so hard that I could hardly hold the camera. Cal Trans, what are you thinking when you design the pullouts for the scenic views?
Interestingly, as I snapped the picture the wind magically stopped making the picture totally worthless and uninteresting. Maybe my new friend, Leanne Cole, the photographer that makes boring pictures more interesting, can do something about this one.
As you go farther and farther west, you can start to see green. The robles (Spanish for oaks) suddenly appear on the south side of the road. Still BROWN on the right side, but a hint of trees on the left. Notice that as the scenery starts to improve, the clouds go away.
The GREENER the scenery, the less soporific I got. Additionally the temperature by now was up to 93, and I was getting hot and sweaty when I got out of the car, so I got soporific about the prospect of pulling over and taking more pictures.
So here’s my final question. If I lived here, would I still have insomnia, or would the scenery make me soporific?