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San Joaquin Valley/USA

Introducing San Joaquin Valley

The southern half of California’s Central Valley stretches from Stockton to the Tehachapi Mountains southeast of Bakersfield. Through elaborate irrigation systems this arid basin has been converted into one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the world. Neat and tidy rows of crops cover nearly every rural acre between the Sierra to the east and the coastal ranges to the west. Most of the people who work these fields are Mexican. While some of the tiny towns scattering the region, such as Gustine and Reedley, retain a classic Main St Americana feel, many more, like Cutler and Lamont, feel almost entirely like little Tijuanas.

Traveling Hwy 99 - a road with nearly as long a history as the famous Route 66 - is the most interesting way through this part of the state. It connects the region’s most important towns, acting as a window into the valley’s - and the state’s - colorful history.

Keep in mind that in midsummer temperatures in the valley often hover around 100ºF or more.