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HesperiaStar.com
  • Editor's Notebook: There's more desert than you realize

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  • The more I see of the High Desert, the more interesting it becomes.
    We met with some folks from Southern California Edison to talk about the proposed Coolwater-Lugo Transmission Project recently and after looking over the possible routes, I decided I needed to learn more about the areas that could be affected.
    So in the past week or so, my wife and I traversed parts of Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley and Barstow that we had never seen before.
    There is some beautiful desert out there, but also some areas that look like the surface of the moon, particularly in Lucerne Valley. It appears most of those areas are old alfalfa fields that farmers gave up on long ago.
    We drove Barstow Road (Highway 247) from Interstate 15 all the way to Lucerne Valley. There’s pretty much nothing along the highway but desert except for the Slash X Cafe and a few houses. There were pockets of the road where our cellphones wouldn’t even work.
    This route is an alternative proposed by the Bureau of Land Management for the Coolwater-Lugo project. The Edison folks don’t like it and I’m sure the residents of Lucerne Valley wouldn’t either. Even though there isn’t much on Barstow Road between the Slash X and Lucerne Valley, the thought of adding giant power lines along the road seems unnecessary when there is already an established route with giant towers and lines that runs all the way to Hesperia.
    We also happened onto a little area in Lucerne Valley called the Cove, which is nestled behind some hills to the north of Rabbit Springs Road. You’d never know it was there if you didn’t have a reason to look for it, but it was very peaceful and quiet, with a few homes scattered about.
    And now that Deep Creek Road has been paved almost all the way to the reservoir south of Hesperia, you can drive down parallel to the Mojave River (opposite from Hesperia Lake and even farther south) and get a good look at the power lines that come over the Marianas Ranchos hills in the county area of Apple Valley and cross the river into Hesperia.
    It’s a beautiful area that until recently, as I recall, was only accessible on a dirt road. And there are lots of dirt roads in the area. We drove some and finally gave up, as they were pretty rough. My hat is off to all the many residents who live up there and drive those dirt roads every day. The views are great, but I’m not sure you’d convince me to live up there given the condition of some of those roads.
    I haven’t decided how I feel about the Coolwater-Lugo project. On one hand, I’m sure the new lines are necessary to bring electricity from the Abengoa solar project north of Hinkley. From what I’ve heard — which the Edison folks confirmed — that solar project needs the Coolwater-Lugo project to be approved to be able to deliver all the electricity that it will produce.
    The tradeoff appears to be taller lattice structures and poles required to carry the higher-capacity power lines. Edison also would build another substation in the Milpas Highlands area.
    Whatever happens, there’s still plenty of unspoiled desert out there to explore and enjoy.
    Steve Hunt can be reached at 760-951-6270 or at SHunt@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevehunteditor.
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