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Monday, January 6, 2014

Rear View Mirrors and Bakersfield

What does one do in Bakersfield for eight days?????

Well, since we leave here tomorrow for Pismo Beach, it is as good a time as any to answer that question….

We did a hour long walk, several bike rides of 11+ miles along a great trail system, many trips to stores and restaurants, watched some great college and NFL games (one more college one to go tonight!), drove out to an orange farm for a resupply (you can’t beat fresh picked oranges!) and just hung out.

20 years or so ago, I used to say that Bakersfield was best appreciated in your rear view mirror.  It wasn’t the greatest place to go and I was always happy to move on to where ever.

But today, Bakersfield is different.  There has been a lot of growth in the city with many stores including all the major ones.  Likewise for restaurants.  In fact there are a few more we’d try here on our next visit.

Bakersfield also works for us as we can stock up and resupply point before going to Pismo where prices are higher, probably just because it is the beach. 

The bike trail that I mentioned earlier is called the Kern River Parkway Trail and extends some 30 miles of which we have ridden about 22-23 or so.  The trail is paved, two lane, and very wide.  Carol noted that there is no glass strewn along the path either, which makes it a safer ride.

A funny thing happened on our ride today.  I needed to put a new battery in my bike’s speedometer.  So I did that before we left the RV.  When we started riding, I noticed that the miles were really accruing quickly and that our speed was 20mph or better.  Now I knew that the trail wasn’t that much downhill and we didn’t pedal that hard.  Once when we stopped for a minute, I saw the problem.  The unit was set to report kilometers and not miles.  Once I figured out how to change the setting back to miles, the numbers started making more sense.  Though it sure felt great leisurely pedaling along at 23mph.  I could have gone on at that speed a long time!!!

Our ride today was to the southwest and we quickly left civilization.  We did get out to an oil well field (Bakersfield has many wells, most of which are pumping away).  The oil well below is in the middle of a farmer’s field.


Along the path, I stopped and took pictures in three directions.  First to the east, was a farmers field that seemed to go onto the eastern horizon!


In the opposite direction, there was barren land with wild weeds and bushes growing.


There is actually a river here, but it is dried up most of the time, like most SoCal rivers.  But this one is used to store water for farmers.  There are spillways and small dams that allow for storing water until needed.


As you go anywhere these days, you may run across weird looking colored emblems of one kind or another.  This particular one was along the trail.  These are actually pipeline markers and the different colors and patters can mark the type of pipeline and the owner of it.

Back in 1972-73, when I was learning to fly, I was able to earn free flight hours by flying pipeline contracts.  Basically I flew at 500-1000 feet following these coded signs looking for any activity like construction, or digging in the pipeline route or even major leaks.  In all the hours I flew these routes, never did see any problems.


Another interesting thing on the bike path is call boxes.  About every hald mile, there is a concrete bench to rest at and a call box so you can report problems.  Nice touch!


We had lunch at Chik-Fil-A today because it is probably the last one we will see for a year or so.  Their founder is a devout Christian and keeps his stores closed on Sundays.  This allows his employees to enjoy that day of rest!  Yea for him!


As I said, tomorrow we make the 134 mile journey to Pismo Beach.  We are really ready for the beach and our 2+month annual visit!


Russ Krecklow said...

Thanks for the current insight on Bakersfield. We found it to be interesting when we were there last. You guys have a safe trip to Pismo Beach, and we'll hope you see lots of sunshine, and warm sand. We have occasional sunshine, but it's anything buy warm. Below 30 degrees again tonight. Highs in the 40's aren't very warm, either.

Donna K said...

I've never eaten at a Chik-Fil-A but I will if I ever have a chance - mainly to support the owner. Glad you're having a good time and pedaling 23 MPH!!