Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Commuting - Part 2: Oak Creek Pass

Part 1

Oak Creek Pass To The Freeway - Color
Highway To Hope - Mojave, California
The next segment of my daily commute to work is from Tehachapi, California, up and over Oak Creek Pass, and across the Mojave Desert to the California Highway 14 freeway. This takes about 30-35 minutes to traverse, depending on how many slow trucks are on the road. Many people's entire work commute isn't this long!

Tehachapi can be described as mountain prairie. The valley is fairly flat with tall grass that's brown (except for in the spring when it is green). The soil is good for agriculture and the area is known for its apples. But soon I leave that behind and tackle Oak Creek Pass.

Despite the name, there aren't all that many oak trees in Oak Creek Pass. In fact, the creek isn't really a creek, but a wash that's usually dry (although when it floods this wash can turn into a raging river). The area is mostly known for the large wind farms that cover the hillsides. The pass will close for days at a time in the winter after a snowstorm.

The road climbs and twists up towards the top of the mountain pass, and then sharply drops to the desert below. It's typically about 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in the desert than in Tehachapi.

The Mojave Desert is a dusty and harsh place. There are remnants of many old mines along the route. There are tons of abandoned structures, including many old homes that no one has lived in for years. It is easy to spot these places as I drive down the road.

I make a turn onto Backus Road and 10 minutes later I arrive at the freeway. There is very poor cell phone coverage for most of this section of the commute. Once I reach the freeway I finally have a couple of bars should I need to make a phone call. The radio stations also have improved reception here. It's a metaphoric hill that's been climbed.

I've photographed most, if not all, of the abandoned structures along this part of my commute. Most often I've done this while commuting, usually taking a moment on my home to pull out a camera and capture these sights. It amazes and fascinates me that so many have left their homes and dreams to decay in the desert.

There are some interesting landscapes that I encounter through this area and have on occasion photographed. In the spring the desert pops with colors as wildflowers blossom. The wind farms can make for a good photographic subject. And, of course, California sunrises and sunsets are some of the best anywhere, and I've experienced many of them while driving to and from work.
Wind And Nature - Tehachapi, California
Better Days Behind - Tehachapi, California
Purple Beretta - Tehachapi, California
Blue Chair - Tehachapi, California
Do Not Disturb - Mojave, California
Forgotten Ford - Mojave, California
Hitching Post & House - Mojave, California
Brake Design Color - Mojave, California
Girl Roller Skate - Mojave, California
Forgotten Doll - Mojave, California
Fame - Mojave, California
Boarded Up Window - Mojave, California
Old Broken Hinge - Mojave, California
Dips In Pavement - Mojave, California 
The Compaq Desert - Mojave, California
Desert Peek - Mojave, California
Electric Dawn - Mojave, California
Morning Joshua Tree Silhouette - Mojave, California
The Yellow Desert - Mojave, California

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