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.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit California is February and from May to June
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
Golden Gate Bridge
The first thing I did on reaching the city was borrow my cousin's car and experience what San Francisco has been known for- the Golden Gate Bridge. And it was the most remarkable drive and even a better view, for the driveway from the City to the Marin County and back was not merely any highway road trip but a drive along what was once the longest suspension bridge. Today also, when I look back on that drive, it seems to be one of the most fabulously designed architectural masterpiece!
Far away from the chaotic streets of San Francisco lies an island usually called as "The Rock" and houses a prison which anyone will never dare to escape from. This beautiful island of Alcatraz also having a magnificent light house offshore of California is a famous and wonderful attraction of San Francisco. The famous prison and the lighthouse are historical landmarks and engineering marvels in the history of San Francisco and is now maintained by the National Park Service.
‘The most crooked street in the world!’ goes the moniker. I bet some crafty settler decided to throw this, probably because he knew it would become a historic quirk a few decades down and just get incorporated into the cityscape façade, earning itself the unique and generally meaningless distinction of being a tourist hotspot that signifies nothing and yet stands for something. At least, plenty of tourists stand and pose for pictures.
Once I reached the much talked about Fisherman's Wharf, it was difficult for me to decide where to start exploring the hidden experiences of the City of Bay. Truly called a tourist spot, one day seemed just too short a period of time. From the extraordinary view of sea lions at Pier 39, to the world famous statues at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, were the kind of sights I got to see. While the food was mouthwatering, I couldn't resist from choosing my favourites in the world fmaous clam chowder, fried fish and the well-known San Francisco sour dough. And this was just the beginning of my tour at Fisherman's Wharf. Later came the international hotspot Musee Mechanique, 1980's arcade games and Ghirardelli Square.
Ferry Building, Pier 39... These are old edifices converted into lovely centres for indulging in some good grub. The Slanted Door is highly raved but I found it just about average. It wasn’t bad but it is nothing to rave about; unless you are a stranger to great food. But there were other places but I doubt if they are aiming any higher. Mama’s (a bit away) is a good brekkie place.
Chinatown became my favourite lunch spot whilst my stay at San Francisco. While each and every structure reeled of being the oldest Chinatown in North America, the souvenir shops and little takeaway hideouts spoke of the authentic oriental essence for which the place had stood for since the 80s. with a friend, I explored and checked out the representation of its fascinating history in a Chinese Heritage Walk.