The long way home, Pt. 2 – from the So.Cal. deserts to SF – Kern River Canyon

From Mojave Ca, and then Red Rock Canyon SP, you continue north on Rt 14 ’til ya get to Rt 178 – then turn left.

Soon you come to the town of Lake Isabella. The town of Lake isabella didn’t look like much to me, but apparently it is quite a vacation destination:

http://www.lakeisabella.net/

“California’s best kept secret”

http://webcams.lakeisabella.net/

Lots of spectacular landscape to explore, both north and south of here:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia/

http://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/sequoia/specialplaces

After you leave Lake Isabella, you turn south (Rt 178, still), and soon you are following the Kern River. I like to call this the Kern River Gorge because it is such a fierce slash in the earth but it seems to be called a canyon by others. This is a drive like no other i have ever taken, no shoulders, no guard rails, you are on your own, drive carefully! – it winds down to the central valley, Bakersfield. You can feel mother nature at work.

In the the past, it probably worked much more fiercely, that’s what created the hills/valley/gorge. It must have been awesome to behold. There is also a tectonic fault line at work here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kern_River

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kern_Canyon_Fault

So here’s my pictures of the drive:

KRG_1.1FrameRuggedLand

KRG_1

KRG_3

KRG_2

KRGorge550

A minute or so after i took the last frames, i descended into the valley, & was enveloped in tule fog. Totally. End of trip, next the long drive home to SF, through America’s vegetable basket.

Here’s what it looked like on another day, another road trip:

070_KRgorgeCLR

KR_Gorge2

My road trips are always solo, and I have lots of time to think while I am driving. One of things that occurs to me as I am driving thru land like this is the whole topic of ‘how much of the land have we settled, *devoured*, to suit our needs’. There are two answers: ‘Yes, lots.’ .. and… ‘No, there is soooo much left we will never inhabit’ They are both true.

Just look at a road map of Nevada – it speaks for itself, there is still a lot of ‘nowhere’ out there.

Here’s what the landscape on the drive to Lake Isabella looks like:

059_HiDesertSnow

A lot of this land is just too harsh for habitation:…. except for a few hardy souls.

NoTrespassing

And a few tried, and apparently gave up:

DesertHome_61

The negs I take on my trips are raw material for montage prints. Here’s my ‘approaching the canyon’ neg:

KRG_1_1Frame.ToHave

and the montage it inspired.

2Have

I may talk a bit more about that in future posts, we’ll see…

I have been reading a very good book lately:

‘Blue Highways’ by William Least Heat Moon

I bought this book as a paperback at Goodwill. Never was there 2$ spent so well! A really excellent and entertaining read. I like Bruce Chatwin (Songlines, and others) for his brevity and sharp quick observations, but i can also like Least Heat moon for the his lengthy descriptions of every detail.

A ton of really interesting links this month…

This recent event and news stories remind me of my rule of thumb when traveling and hiking: Ask yourself this question – ‘if the worst that can happen, happens, is the result tolerable?’ The answer is also the answer to ‘should i continue on?’

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Point-Reyes-landslide-victim-ID-d-as-S-F-woman-6152798.php

“We certainly saw the signs, but they were warning about the fissure. It was saying where the crack was might be unstable,” not the entire bluff, she said.

Officials first noticed the ominous jagged crack Wednesday and posted signs warning hikers along the trail and in the visitor center, Dell’Osso said.

One of Blum’s close friends, though, said the park service should have done more”

Hello, what is it about ‘unstable’ that you don’t understand?? Duh!

We complain when government intrudes in our lives, and we can find a way to complain when they don’t babysit us. You can’t eat your cake and have it, too.

Follow my rule, it’s a good idea. You are the master and commander of your ship (life).

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/magazine/karl-ove-knausgaards-passage-through-america.html?_r=0

https://www.yahoo.com/travel/the-best-under-the-radar-road-trips-in-the-u-s-113734531202.html

Why anyone would want to drive pedal to the metal, and not stop to take things in is beyond me, but it’s an interesting way of doing it:

http://www.randalolson.com/2015/03/08/computing-the-optimal-road-trip-across-the-u-s/

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/11/travel/11-books-about-obsessive-searches.html?_r=0

http://news.yahoo.com/photos/world-s-grandest-abandoned-hotels-1426779179-slideshow/abandoned-hotels-photo-1426779153102.html

The Grand Canyon, under siege:

http://www.sfgate.com/living/mensjournal/article/The-Grand-Canyon-Under-Siege-6143259.php

“The Grand Canyon has never been exposed to so many threats at one time,” says Sinjin Eberle of American Rivers, a national nonprofit. “This should be one of the most protected places on Earth, and instead it’s going up for sale to the highest bidder.”

Read more: http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/outdoor/the-grand-canyon-under-siege-20150318#ixzz3Un8zvVgh

As long as I have mentioned (above) the topic of faultlines in Ca.:

http://www.livescience.com/50117-new-california-earthquake-forecast.html

California straddles the boundary between two tectonic plates — the North America and Pacific plates — that have been sliding past one another for 30 million years.

The San Andreas Fault was born about 30 million years ago in California, when the Pacific Plate and the North America plate first met.

http://www.livescience.com/45294-san-andreas-fault.html

This one has some excellent aerial photos, definitely check it out:

http://geotripper.blogspot.com/2015/03/driving-through-most-dangerous-plate_28.html

And check this out, it’s the main site from which the blog emanates.. if that’s the right way to put it:

http://www.all-geo.org/

Phew! What a looong post!

I think I’ll keep next month’s post kinda short – how ’bout just a day trip to Jack London SHP, Jack’s ranch, just an hour or so north of me, in Nor Cal.?

WhereToNext

Taking the long way home to SF – Mojave Ca, to Red Rock Canyon, and then down to the central valley – Pt 1

 Whenever I’m coming back to the Bay area from the So. Cal. deserts, i take a side trip. I am always coming from points east on either Rt 40, Rt 15 or Rt 247, which all intersect at Barstow, and you get on Rt 58 to continue west to Bakersfield.

I always plan the timing so that i can end the day in the town of Mojave Ca.. So that the next morning, instead of continuing on 58, i can take a right on Rt 14, and take in Red Rock Canyon SP, which is a photographers orgasm, and it’s a morning shoot, at least the parts that are easily accessible for a guy like me who doesn’t do wilderness/backpacking type adventures.
Most of the time, it’s been easy, but winter storms can wreak havoc, and make just the entrance impassable for anyone in a regular rental car. The last time i was there, that was the case.
The pictures below say it all.

RedRckCyn3

RedRckCyn2

RedRckCyn1

http://blog.sfgate.com/getlost/2014/02/21/red-rock-canyon-state-park-an-overlooked-mini-badlands/#20792101=9

Next month Part 2:
…….continue north on 14 til ya get to Rt 178, and hang a left.

We’ll go there next month, for sure. 🙂