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Today was also focused on energy because of what the California landscape had to offer us. Driving along back-country roads through California’s central valleys, we passed through a town called Lost Hills, which seemed to be nothing other than one large oil field. Oil rigs littered the landscape as far as the eye could see, north and south across the pancake-flat valley floor. It was a harsh and uninviting landscape, but what seemed most odd about was its proximity to rich agricultural lands. The oil fields were surrounded by almond groves and dairy farms, which gave way in each direction to other crops such as cotton, leafy greens and vineyards full of wine grapes. In some areas, mounds of freshly harvested almonds seemed literally piled up alongside oil wells – something to think about next time you bite into a plate of almond-crusted halibut.As dramatic as the oil fields were, so was California’s next big display of energy. Just east of Bakersfield, on the mountain pass into the Mojave Desert, lies hills littered in wind turbines. Thousands of them dot the landscape, twirling away in the breeze while providing a hopefully cleaner alternative to the State’s energy needs. We were joined on Twitter at the time by Tom Gray, who informed us that the two distinct types of wind turbine we were seeing represented varying stages of technology. The smaller, meshed looking turbines have been in place since the 80′s, while the larger, more cost effective jumbo-size turbines are the industry standard today. Somewhat ironically, the contrast between these two forms of energy was reflected in the environmental health of the State’s ecosystems we passed through. Whereas the clear and sunny day on the Monterey Bay revealed forest-covered hills, rich marine life and unpolluted skies, the air above and around Bakersfield was the exact opposite. A thick smog hung over that city like an evil gloom, and the entire ride through smelled of fumes and toxins. And then in the end we escaped that foul air, into the crisp, dry and mystically beautiful wilderness expanses of the Mojave, where we sleep tonight. Resting peacefully, looking forward to more of Big America tomorrow.October 16thToday was a day of crossing deserts and state lines. Parched, dry landscapes and obscure Americana dominated our voyage east on this leg of our cross-country journey. Escaping California offered little relief in terms of change of barren landscapes, although the appearance of giant solar farms was a welcome first. From the Mojave to the Hoover Dam, and finally the Grand Canyon, some of the south-westernmost stretches of the United States are as filled with historic iconography as they are beautiful expanses of desert wilderness.
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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
The beach which is also know as the broad walk beach justifies its name. It is called so because there is an amusement park that spans the length of this beach on the Santa Cruz, California waterfront. It one of the most happenings beaches I have ever been to.I wanted to go to Santa Cruz only because I found out that it is quite famous for its kayaking . But all that was happening there was an icing on the cake. It was a Sunday and there people all over. Some were dancing salsa, some were busy with beach volleyball, kids were just have fun at the rides and what not. But for me the highlight was the kayaking.While we were on our Kayak we could see sea lions so close to us. Initially it was scary because we were completely on our own but as we got comfortable it was one of the best adventures I have had.
Aquarium of the Pacific
A visit to the Aquarium is a perfect rainy-day activity as most of it happens indoors. It is more like a big zoo actually and gathers both underwater species and earth animals such as parrots, birds, penguins, sharks, fishes, and weird things or plants. You’ll need minimum ½ day if you want to go through the shows, aquariums and outdoor entertainments. Of course, you won’t be the only one attending the place so I recommend you to get there early if you don’t want to be queuing forever. Also , I warn you, the entrance is not cheap. What we really liked was the fact that the aquarium building is located next to the sea and the Long Beach harbor. You can walk along the sea and get some fresh air while looking at the Queen Mary parked next to the Light Tower (phare). There are also available boat tours for the ones in need of historical facts J. Regarding lunch options, there are a lot of restaurants on the sea walk as well as many different snacks available inside the Aquarium building.