Imperial Valley, California

Imperial Valley, California

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Imperial Valley, California

Places Visited:
California: Imperial Valley

We left El Centro, California in the lower Imperial Valley near the Mexican border and headed north to Borrego Springs, California.

Sunday, April 24 Oasis Inn & RV-Park Borrego Springs, California--- $20.00. Water & 30-amps, no dump station at all: dirt/gravel interior streets & sites N33° 15.417' W116° 23.496'.

Harvesting hay in El Centro, California along the Mexican border




The mountan in the background is in Mexico. Remember we are only a very short distance to the Mexican Border southwest of El Centro. Don't you just love that full moon over the mountain?


We transitioned the motorhome from El Centro to Borrego Springs today. El Centro is located in the southern portion of the Imperial Valley while Borrego Springs is located northwest of the Imperial Valley so we drove through the heart of the Imperial Valley this morning.

For us this drive was exciting. We made several stops along the way to watch farm machinery in the fields. I was fascinated at how mechanized these operations were. While we have seen hay being cut and raked into rows we have never watched the operation where big trucks with special attachments drive through field scooping up bales of alfalfa at 10 to 12 miles per-hour. The mechanism that picks up the bales of alfalfa is attached to the right side of the vehicle and contacts the ground on the right side. Once contact is made with the bale of hay it is yanked on a conveyor belt assembly that rapidly moves it to an empty collection spot behind the driver. As each new bale arrives behind the driver the bale takes it's place in a row until the row is filled. When filled, the row is mechanically moved to the rear end of the vehicle. As each new row behind the driver is filled with bales the entire row moves to the back of the vehicle, making room for bales coming up the chute. This process is repeated until the vehicle is full. Without slowing down the loader exits the field and heads down the road to the staging point where hundreds upon hundreds of bales of hay are being stored. The loader backs up to the huge pile already there. The whole bed of the truck rotates up like a dump truck but the hay is being firmly grasped so that when the hay is vertical the operator pushes it up snug with the huge pile he is adding to then releases the grip on the hay and backs away. Some of these staging areas have hay stretching for 800 or more yards. In one field we saw 4 of these loaders working at breakneck speed. Hay was disappearing from that field at an astonishing rate. I could watch this operation for hours but that ain't going to happen with Joyce in the car.

Carrot harvesting in the Imperial Valley north of El Centro, California




Another field was harvesting carrots. This was more than I could believe and I was watching it. The harvester was being pulled by a big tractor. A big attachment off to the side of the machinery was unearthing what looked like 6 to 8 rows of carrots that must be growing about 2" apart in rows 8"apart. We could not see exactly what was happening with the machinery directly in contact with the ground. But the assembly came up at a 45-degree angle for about 10-feet. We could see carrots riding up that assembly with the green top up and the orange "carrot" dangling out the bottom. Mind you there were 6 to 8 rows of carrots riding up this "escalator" assembly. When the carrots reached the top of the assembly the green tops were removed with the green stuff forcefully returned to the ground. As fast as this thing is moving there is a LOT of green stuff flying back to the ground.

Carrot harvesting in the Imperial Valley north of El Centro, California





The orange carrots that had been dangling down just like they had been growing dropped onto a conveyor belt that took them to an 18-wheel tractor trailer riding beside the carrot harvester. Carrots were flying into that trailer so fast it would make your head swim. In no time at all the trailer was full and the 18- wheeler was dragging the load of carrots out of the field heading to the processing plant a few miles up the road. Quick as a wink another 18-wheel tractor trailer pulled in under the moving harvester and started receiving those carrots. I could watch this operation for hours, but you know I didn't get to. I want to get a close up view of how that mechanism is unearthing the carrots and exactly how are the carrots individually grasped for their rice up the conveyor belt. Exactly how is the machinery removing the green tops from those carrots? This operation intrigues me.

Sugar beet harvesting in the Imperial Valley north of El Centro, California




Not many miles down the road we ran across a harvester in a sugar beet field. It took a minute to determine what they were harvesting since they appeared to be harvesting a barren field. Then we could see that the big tan root the harvester was digging out of the ground was sugar beets. I suppose they mowed the tops off the beets and saved them for cattle food or something. There was only faint evidence of green in the field as it looked essentially barren. The harvester had an arm that extended forward at a 45-degree angle until it made contact with the ground. Like the carrot harvester I could not tell what was going on where the arm made contact with the ground but a few inches above the ground we could see sugar beets moving up the conveyor belt in rapid fashion.

Sugar beet harvest in the Imperial Valley north of El Centro, California




At the top of the conveyor belt the beets dropped into a chute leading into another conveyor belt that delivered them to a big trailer being pulled along side. I thought the carrot harvester filled up the trailers fast until we watched this thing. Sugar beets were flying into those trailers so fast that the harvester was keeping a fleet of tractor trailers busy delivering beets to the processor. Before long I was being threatened with another shopping spree with me riding the bench all afternoon. Mercy, I sure have to pay a stiff price for watching this machinery.

Sugar beet before harvest in the Imperial Valley north of El Centro, California



Before we leave sugar beets look at the fields being harvested in the two pics above and note how the tops of those beets have been mowed prior to harvesting the beet. This is what a sugar beet field looks like prior to moving.


We continued on to Borrego Springs, California before stopping.

Until next time remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix

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