I was worried about driving the length of California on a holiday weekend, both because of the traffic and because the various charging stations would be crowded. But it turned out well. In northern California and around Sacramento and Stockton, the traffic was lighter than it often is, perhaps because it was Sunday morning. And south on I-5 through the great emptiness of central California, it was no worse than usual and actually more cooperative than it often is, with less pushing and shoving at 75 mph. We finally hit heavy traffic around Wheeler Ridge, where CA-99 joins I-5 for the trip over Tejon Pass and into LA. But even coming into LA, most of the traffic was outbound late Monday morning.
The charging stations were pretty full, but at only one did we have to wait a few minutes for a slot to open. Two of the stations that had been closed when we drove north on this route in March were open despite not being paved yet. One of them, next to an unfinished Shell gas station, had a rest room on a trailer brought in to serve the multitude.
With the lighter traffic, I wondered if most people had gone to the mountains or the beach, but Monday afternoon heading from LA to Palm Springs we could see that a whole lot of people had gone to the desert for the weekend.
A lot of the highway signs were programmed to warning about the severe drought and urging us all to save water. Northern California looked more like September than late May. The Wyoming ranchers would talk about getting “greenup” – enough spring moisture to turn the grass green. A spring without greenup meant a hard summer. California did not get greenup this year.
Central California appeared even more dry except in the orchards and other cultivated areas. We did pass a couple of orchards that had been left to dry out and die, but most of them were dark green, in sharp contrast to the dead-looking grass beside them.
We got to Palm Springs late afternoon yesterday. We’ll head north to Nevada tomorrow.