San Joaquin Valley
English and Spanish are both spoken in the San Joaquin Valley. It's helpful to know a little of each, as many people speak only one or the other. Punjabi and Tagalog are also widely spoken by Indian and Filipino immigrants in major cities.
Fresno and Bakersfield are the largest airports, but Stockton and Visalia also have some flights. The airports in Los Angeles and the Bay Area have flights to many destinations.
The Amtrak San Joaquin route goes from either Sacramento or the Bay Area with stops through the middle of the valley and ends in Bakersfield. Amtrak Thruway Bus routes cover the gaps in train service. The California Rail Pass allows you seven calendar days of travel in California over a consecutive 21-day period for only $159 per adult in 2018.
Several interstate, state and local highways can be used to enter the valley. I-5 and CA 99 are both major north-south highways.
Greyhound, Orange Belt Stages, or InterCalifornias are ways to reach the towns.
The Central Valley can get very foggy in winter, making driving extremely dangerous with visibility of 100 feet and less. On the faster highways such as Interstate 5 and State Route 99, the fog can turn small accidents into smash-ups of dozens of cars.
Gang activity is quite common in the larger cities. Avoid being out alone after dark, and avoid wearing solid red or solid blue, as these are gang colors and may make you a target.
San Joaquin cities such as Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, Merced, and Modesto have very bad air quality. In fact, all of these cities rank among the top 15 smoggiest cities in the U.S. Summer temperatures can soar above 110°F (45°C). Drink lots of water, heat strokes and dehydration is very common during the summer.