The Central Valley
Long story short.
I "had" to drive to L.A. (not really but any excuse to get out and drive around California.
I took the PCH down. It defies description so I won't try.
L.A. at midnight is beautiful and pulses energy, the 101 outbound backed up for miles and miles. I was glad I was going the other way.
But I've seen all that before.
The real surprise came last night on the way back from Palm Springs.
I took I-5, which is elevated on the side of a mountain range/ridge for most of its course, away from anything urban and completely remote.
For two hundred miles I drove past the endless, unbroken, panoramic expanse of the city lights of the central valley.
There just aren't words.
It's je ne sais quoi to realize there are millions of people out there in all that beautiful farmland.
It may not have the immediacy of impact that Manhattan or downtown L.A. have but it more than makes up for it in scale.
It was a cold, dry California night last night and all those city lights just sparkled off and below on the right. To the left, black, dark, empty mountains with every single star visible.
This is a glorious part of the world, isn't it?