From Gold Canyon, AZ to Eureka, CA

Lebec Dawn AU16-9

After spending the good part of a week in Utah and Arizona, it was time to return home, which involved driving from Gold Canyon, Arizona to Eureka, California, a journey consisting of 1,056 miles taking (allegedly) 15 hours and 45 minutes. The quickest route (at least according to Google Maps) takes one through Phoenix on Interstate 10 to the LA Basin, from whence one takes Interstate 210 to Interstate 5, then on up through the Grapevine to the Bay Area, and then up Interstate 101 to Eureka, as shown here via the blue line:

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It’s rather difficult to do 16 hours in a single day, so I broke up the journey into two days. Leaving at 2 PM on Saturday, I planned to drive to Lebec, spend the night there (near Ft. Teton pass), then drive the rest of the way the next day. In making this trip, I have generally tried to avoid the LA Basin, due to the horrible traffic, but I thought on a Saturday evening I could get away with it. I was wrong. Around Palm Springs I ran into horrible traffic, in which I found myself trapped for two and a half hours in the driving rain. Once I made it through that mess, the traffic moved quite briskly the rest of the way to Lebec. But because of that horrible traffic, I didn’t arrive at my hotel in Lebec until after ten (I should have gotten there before eight). That means I was on the road nine hours (add an extra hour for change of time zone).

I took a few pictures of a rather nice sunset while driving through the desert:

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And in image of traffic near Palm Springs:

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The next day I ventured forth at 7 AM. Interstate 5 was pretty crowded, even at that hour, although the traffic (mostly) moved fairly well. Nonetheless, I decided to avoid the Bay Area, opting to take the longer route through Sacramento to Route 20, then on up 101. This was a good choice. The traffic thinned very nicely once I go away from the 580 turnoff. I thickened a little bit north of Sacramento, around the airport, but thinned out real nice once I made it to the 101. Moral of the story: cities are evil, best to be avoided.

The morning at Lebec was beautiful. There was a dusting of snow on the mountains, and the sunrise was beautiful, as these images testify:

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