Monday, November 30, 2009

Trip to AU 2009

I started my travels to Autodesk University yesterday. I stopped by some of the notable sights on the way from San Luis Obispo County to Las Vegas.

First up is the James Dean Memorial Intersection where the State Highways 41 & 46 diverge. It’s the place where James Dean had his fatal car accident.

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After going over the hills I made a right turn next to James Dean’s last stop and drove down Petroleum Highway (State Highway 33). Petroleum Highway is named after the many oil rigs along the road.

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In Buttonwillow I came across a large cow along the side of the road. Buttonwillow is the “Heart of Agriculture”.

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Next stop was the famous Tehachapi Loop. There was a small crowd present to witness one of the 36 daily train trips. The Loop is famous because the train goes over itself as it goes through the loop. Here’s a picture of the tunnel.

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The loop is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Here’s the history of the loop according to the plaque in place near the loop.

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Here’s a picture of the train going through the loop.

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Next up is a place that I worked at for a time, the U.S. Borax Mine in Boron, CA. For a time in the late 1880’s borax was transported utilizing a 40 mule team. The visitor’s center has a display showing what the team looked like.

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While I was working there they where putting together a new fleet of shovels and trucks (the company I worked for at the time constructed the pad the equipment was assembled on). It was interesting coming into work each day watching the progress on the equipment. There is no real reference in the photo below, but the equipment is really large.

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Here’s a picture of the mine. It’s changed quite a bit since I worked there. The white material is the primary material they are mining, borates.

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Large overburden piles at the mine and a portion of the refining plant.

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On Highway 58 Caltrans appeared to be testing different slope treatments. Behind the fences is a funnel and piping system which appeared to collect the water for testing. Some of the treatments appeared to work better than others. There was also another site near Barstow.

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There was more sights to see such as the Baker Thermometer and the Bakersfield Sign.

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