Jurupa Mts Feb 2020
Wayne's Word Index Noteworthy Plants Trivia Lemnaceae Biology 101 Botany Scenic Wildflowers Trains Spiders & Insects Search
Jurupa Mountains Road Trip
W.P. Armstrong, 22 Feb 2020
Cameras Used On This Trip: Nikon D-3200, Sony HX-60, Sony T-10, iPhone 6
The purpose of this short road trip to Fontana, Claremont & Cajon Pass was exercise for my foot drop, anting & photography. The exercise included the Jurupa Mountains, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden & Cajon Pass to study geology, look for ants & photograph freight trains. The train highlight was a chain of 11 engines, a record for my train-watching database! The ant highlight was all black native fire ants in the Jurupa Mountains. The usual color is bright red head and thorax with black abdomen (gaster).
Jurupa Mountains, Riverside County

The Jurupa Mountains are a small range in Riverside County, California. They are part of the Peninsular Ranges that extend from Banning Pass south to the tip of Baja California. The East-West Transverse Ranges are north of Banning Pass and include the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains, extending west to Mount Pinos and the counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara. The majority of granitic outcrops in the Jurupa mountains are composed of tonalite, a light-colored, fine-grained granite that is also common in San Diego County. There are other types of plutonic rocks and minerals including black tourmaline.

In addition to some interesting geology the Jurupa Mtns are home to the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center, a fascinating nature center and museum. In 1977, UC Riverside Professor William B. Storey summarized his research on sex determination & genetics of the fig (Ficus carica) in an excellent publication entilted The Fig by the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center. A lot of his complex information is summarized in my Wayne's Word page "The Sex Life Of Figs."

Another interesting preserve on the north side of the Jurupa Mtns is the Mary Vagle Nature Center. It has a visitor center and hiking trails amidst a sea of urbanization consisting of dense housing developments and enormous industrial buildings (UPS, Amazon, etc.). Luckily this natural area has been set aside for future generations. This is where I found a population of the all black fire ants (Solenopsis xyloni). I previously found these in Arizona. Most native populations of this species in California have the typical bright red head and thorax with a black abdomen.

Cajon Pass Trains (20 Feb 2020)

The BNSF Tracks at Cajon Pass are a great place for freight train watching & photograpy.

Freight Trains On Cajon Pass With 5 - 7 Engines

Depending on the load, it takes 5 - 7 large 100 ton engines to pull a train with 100 cars up this 2.2 percent Cajon Pass grade, each generating 5,000 to 6,000 horse power. The trains are over a mile long and weigh thousands of tons! This area is along the San Andreas Fault. One track has a section with a 3 percent grade which is the limit for long freight trains. Numerous very long freight trains with 120 cars or more go over Cajon Pass each day. Some trains have 7 large engines, 5 in front and 2 at the rear. With a conservative estimate of 5,000 horsepower per engine, each train generates at least 35,000 hp. With engines that weigh well over 100 tons each and freight cars with load capacities of over 100 tons, the trains have a potential total weight of almost 11,000 tons. I doubt if 35,000 horses could pull this load up the Cajon Pass grade! [Note: The GE AC6000CW 6 axle locomotive that resembles the engines in some of my images generates 6,000 hp and weighs about 200 tons!] See Following remarkable images:

Eleven engines in a chain! In my train-watching data base this is the record for the number of connected engines on any track. Considering 5,000 - 6,000 hp per engine, this is roughly 60,000 hp! Unfortunately, I was too close to the tracks to get all 11 engines in my photo. I had to wait until they were farther down the track where the lighting was poorer.

With multiple tracks and so many frequent freight trains running in both directions, it is very important to look both ways on roads that cross these tracks! With double stacked cars, one 100 car train is roughly equivalent to 200 tractor-trailers on the highway. With nearly 100 trains per day, this translates into literally thousands of semis (tractor-trailers) on the highway.

A Few Images From Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Most currants (Ribes) have red-purple flowers. This California native species is called golden currant (Ribes aureum). It has bright yellow flowers and typically blooms in early spring. Another white-flowered chaparral species (R. indecorum) blooms in late winter.

Otay Mountain Lotus (Hosackia crassifolia var. otayensis): A rare, endemic species native to Otay Mountain in southern San Diego County.

Ceanothus cyaneus (Lakeside Ceanothus). Native to San Diego County, CA.

Sunrise From My Window At Comfort Inn In Fontana, CA