Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Spaceplanes and windmills

Didn't really notice the trains hooting through Mojave in the night but we looked up as we drove out of the motel and saw a cluster of wind turbines. Down the road we saw a rocket; we turned down the road to the Mojave air and spaceport and it turned out to be an experimental single stage to orbit used as the sign for Rotary Rocket. Dozens of planes mothballed in the desert with a train thundering past in the background. Somewhere in the sheds labelled Scaled Composites is the Virgin Galactic spaceplane, getting accustomed to being somewhere ruddy cold. Up on the hills are a mass of wind turbines, looking spare and elegant and beautiful on the slopes. Rows of turbine blades line up in a field and a jack rabbit hops away under them; a flock of quail stagger back and forth in the wind, flowing past the capsule. The sky is a different pale blue in each direction and deep blue overhead (where it isn't full of snowclouds). Sage brush and joshua trees and snow covered trees fringe the hills that aren't already fringed by wind turbines. As the sign says, this is California with four seasons - the edge of the High Sierras. We see four freight cars overturned on the tracks and stop at the Keene Café just outside Tehachapi for roasted tri-tip with cheese and grilled red onions on grilled sourdough. After lunch we'll look for the Tehachapi loop where the engine of a freight train passes 77 feet above the line of wagons it's pulling.

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