17 November 2014

Across the U.S., Day 42 - Phoenix (AZ) to Barstow (CA)

After a brief section on I-10 to get out of Phoenix I took Salome Road & US-72, which travel peacefully towards north-west and across some open-range cattle area. This reminded me of the "five C's" Arizona is/was known for: cattle, copper, cotton, citrus and climate.

Sorry for repeating myself, but I'm fascinated by these amazing Saguaros and Mother Nature's creativity in terms of survival strategies. Saguaro cacti grow a shallow root system just below the surface of the ground to absorb as much water as possible when it rains. In dry periods the root system dies back partially to help the plant conserve water and extends again in the wet season.

Instead of opening their pores (stomata) during the day to absorb carbon dioxide required for photosynthesis, these highly adapted desert plants open their stomata at night. This reduces water loss  through evaporation. Some trees adapted to the desert climate even have green bark. When they shed their leaves to conserve moisture during summer they can continue photosynthesis via their bark.

Isn't this a type of Helianthus?


Right behind the small town of Parker (AZ) on US-72, my home state welcomed me with its famous state colors blue and gold. California's designated state flower is the California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) and I can't wait to see them turning my front yard into a sea of orange again in spring!

"California Popeye"?
(running gag between our dear friends Corinne, Dan and us)

I enjoyed to coast through parts of the Mojave Desert and its "heart" along US-95. To be honest however, such harsh environment always feels intimidating to me. Turning west again, I-40 would have been the fasted way to Barstow. The interstate brought up memories of our amazing motorcycle trip to various National Parks in Utah and Arizona last summer. I really did NOT like to ride my heavily loaded F650GS on windy I-40 though. Today, I did not stay long on that interstate either but took parts of the historic route 66 instead.

Famous "Mother Road"!
Celebrity comes with a price: $5.49/gallon diesel. ...

Unfortunately, several connections to US-66 were closed, which forced me back onto I-40.

One more day to come.

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