The Southern California Tour
When it comes to Southern California I just adore living here. San Diego has beautiful beaches, and LA has the big city life, but when it come to where to live, I prefer the Inland Empire. There are some great communities around here such as Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Big Bear, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga, and Loma Linda just to name a few. I prefer the locations where there are still a few orange groves, beautiful Victorian architecture, and sidewalks for walking. Some of us are lifelong pedestrians and never plan on driving, so living in a community with great sidewalks is always a plus. People say it is impossible to get around without a car, but I am living proof of how people can travel to and fro without wheels. Take the bus for longer trips, and walk for the shorter ones! Even a three miles or so walk takes around an hour, which is a great way to save on a gym membership. The last time I even went to a gym was in college when the fees were taken out of our tuition. Personally I just prefer to be outside where I can be taking pictures of scenery, and not worrying about the claustrophobia or using an inside treadmill. I love my little section of the Inland Empire, and from time to time I like to take pictures of some of my favorite places.
The Beauty of San Bernardino Valley
My three mile walk home is always enjoyable during daylight hours. I love looking up at the San Bernardino Mountains and occasionally taking pictures of things I find interesting.
This slightly overcast afternoon made for some beautiful photographs. I love the shapes of the trees, and the shadows they cast in the late afternoon.
One of my favorite photographs I have ever taken was simple, and captured with my cell phone. I live near orange fields and one day I just happened to see a 1930s car drive by. My cell phone in hand captured the image that reminds of California of yesteryear, and the Route 66 Car Show is a must see for those who enjoy these things. My hope is people will no longer cut down the orange fields because these are a true treasure. Every spring I love the heady scent of the orange blossoms, and there is actually a special Orange Blossom festival for these in Riverside. Walking past the orange fields is much more enjoyable than walking past industrial complexes, which is one reason I am glad the Inland Empire still has a rural charm in some places.
So You Think It Never Snows In Southern California?
I always chuckle when people from the Midwest and the East Coast think that Southern California never gets snow. Admittedly we get much less snow than we used to up in the San Bernardino Mountains due to climate change, which has reeked havoc on our natural environment. The heavy snowfalls used to be essential for freezing the bark beetles and preventing droughts, but many winters there are only a few heavy snow days in the year. Kids still have snow days as they did when I was young, but I remember more frequent snow falls in those days. However, in the early 2000s I began to notice many of our evergreen trees were turning brown when I had been away from the mountain for awhile. The bark beetle and the drought weakened and killed many of the evergreen trees, which then had to be removed. Unfortunately the naturally occurring fire also used to clear out the brush, but today that no longer happens. Sadly the bark beetle ravaged trees and other overgrown brush have not helped the situation when it came to fighting forest fires.
I am outraged to hear some people think Californians do not take care of our land. However, the truth is our state happens to be ahead of the game when it comes implementing environmental standards, and to clearing brush for fire prevention. You truly have to admire the hard working men and women of the US Forest Service that are diligently trying to keep a balance between clearing the brush, and maintaining the balance of mother nature.
Many of these fires have been set by evil arsonists, but some of these fires are naturally occurring because of high winds sparking outages on power lines and trees. Fires during windy weather create firestorms with sparks jumping from one group of trees, and missing others. Many houses are nestled among the trees, which resulted in hundreds of structures being destroyed in the 2003 and 2007 fires. When fires are raging they do not burn everything in a clear path like a bulldozer, and the flames jump from location to location. Thus, many people were surprised to discover after the evacuation how a few houses could be perfectly standing when just a few feet a way a several homes burned to the ground. I commend the fire fighters and the Forest Service for helping to save as many homes as they could, and fire fighters literally have one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I love the mountains, but it is a very scary place to live with the continuous fire danger. On the front and mid-side of the mountain you can still see many beautiful evergreen trees, and I took a picture of Grass Valley Lake nearby. I used to love walking down to this little lake and just admiring the reflection of the trees and sky within. Southern California is filled with many beautiful treasures, and back during the economic boom in the eighties and nineties some tourists came all the way from Japan just to spend time in the San Bernardino Mountains.
On the back side of the mountain going down Highway 173 we have fewer trees and more brush, which is actually very beautiful. The Pinnacles are a group of rocky hills with large boulders surrounded by many types of bushes and other desert like plants. In the spring it is beautiful to see the yucca and the other desert flowers blooming on the back side of the mountain. I will always love the San Bernardino Mountains and many of the other beautiful spots in Southern California. Here are a few videos I have made of the scenery in Southern California.