Destination Hyatt 2012 : Page 398

90 7&/563*/(  065 8*/%1"3, One of the windiest places in California, the Gorgonio Pass, between California’s tallest peak, Mount San Gorgonio, and its third tallest, Mount San Jacinto, is the perfect location for a wind farm. Unlike their squat Dutch ancestor, the desert power turbines stand like a giant army of sleek soldiers guarding the entrance to the Coachella Valley. It’s one of the most photographed sights in the area. There are more than 3,000 turbines on 41 wind farms that make up the San Gorgonio Wind Park. Like pawns, knights, rooks and kings on a chessboard, rolled steel turbines of various sizes rise up behind lattice-tower windmills, and two blade versions face off with their three-blade counterparts. The largest of the rolled-steel turbines are so immense that a man can stand upright inside the blade. You can drive around the Wind Park on your own, but taking a guided tour will help put things in perspective. Ken Huskey, who conducts most of the wind-mill tours for Best of the Best Tours, identifies himself as a “naturalist,” but comes across as equal parts historian and science geek. During the two-hour tour, he describes the history of the Valley, the geothermal conditions creating wind, the engineering advancements in wind tech-nology, limitations of the electrical grid and the economic impact and “green” job potential of wind energy. Entertaining banter, the use of props and the opportunity to get out and listen to the wind howling through the turbines makes it a family-friendly activity. © Marla Holden / Alamy

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