Saturday, February 28, 2015

Red Rock Canyon State Park.

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Friday: (02/27) Leftover chili for breakfast. After our last unlimited showers we prepared for launch. Helen's son Jay stopped by and then Helen was off to a class and we were on the road by 1000. We stopped at Camping World to get a new plug for the sink and LPG. We also filled the gas tanks in the RV and Jeep then headed out Highway 58 to Tehachapi. Clear skies and nice weather. Lunch at the Apple Shed. Lou had soup and I had the soup and salad bar. Then we continued on to Highway 14 and up to Red Rock Canyon State Park. There were high wind warning signs for the highway as there seems to always be. No problems though. The campground was about 1/3 full. We chose a nice site next to the cliff with a view of the valley and no sign of water flowing through it recently like several campsites had. Chips and salsa for dinner. I have joined Lou with her cold. She thought she had an allergy attack this past week but I don't catch allergy attacks. We binge watched the TV show Weeds. (GPS:35.372222,-117.997144)

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Saturday: (02/28) Granola with strawberries for breakfast. We walked the campground then took a drive.

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We drove some Jeep roads East of Highway 14.

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The flora and fauna were abundant. A friendly hummingbird on the left and hills full of flowers on the right.

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We came to the end of our path where the road headed  up a steep bumpy rock. Some Jeeps more capable than ours coming the opposite direction wouldn't come down. Some ATV's and motorcycles made it with difficulties.

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Nice area, just a little to much jeep road for us.

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Above are more views of the difficult climb. We backtracked then drove around via another road to the other side then further out the roads until the road condition and threat of rain turned us around. Ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Roast chicken baked beans and broccoli for dinner. A little rain in the evening and overnight.

Sunday: (03/02) Granola for breakfast. Lou's hot and sour soup for lunch. Chorizo sausage and onions for dinner. A rainy day while we nursed our colds at home. Exciting! More binge Weeds watching.

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Monday: (03/02) Skillet chorizo eggs and potatoes for breakfast. We started with a short walk around behind the bluffs up the wash. Lou did quite well.

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After some tea at camp overlooking the valley I took off for a walk along the bluff edge. It was only a little over 2 miles but occasionally quite exciting because parts of it were on the knife edge of the rim and other parts just along the bluff edge.

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Good views! A quick hike for someone recovering from a cold.

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A nice high view of our camp above.  After hot and sour soup for lunch it was time for a nap. We then walked across the valley to the visitor center but it was closed. Seems like it should have been open. So, we headed off in the Jeep to Dove Springs then West through the BLM lands on jeep/ATV roads coming out on a paved road that took us North to Weldon. Along the way on the Jeep road we passed over the Pacific Crest Trail (above right). I should be walking through there in late April. We stopped to use the cell phone since we had signal. We continued East on Highway 178 to Highway 14, then South to our camp at Red Rock Canyon SP. Chili sizes for dinner. We listened to radio mysteries in the evening.

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Tuesday: (03/03) Granola with bananas for breakfast. After a walk around camp we hooked up and were on the road South. We headed over to Highway 395 via Randsburg, an old mining town. We took a walk around town but everything was closed. On to Victorville where we visited Walmart and had lunch at Denny's.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bakersfield Wrap Up

Wednesday: (02/25) Helen and Lou had an appointment. I relaxed at home most of the day. We did stop by the grand opening of the Bakersfield Sprout's Market in the afternoon. My laptop is sick so I was busy trying to get things backed up before loosing something. One of Lou's baked omelets for breakfast. Hot and sour soup for lunch. Steak and chili for dinner. A nice sunny day. We plan to depart Friday. I did check on weather trends and our next destinations seem to be cooler and wetter?

Thursday: (02/26) Another baked omelet for breakfast. Lou and Helen were off early to an appointment. I was busy hanging a wind chime. I also was working on the computer but no success. In the evening I bought a new drive and DVDs to backup and try to fix it later. Lunch at Lassen's Natural Foods. Helen and I had Reuben sandwiches. Lou some salad. Leftover chili for dinner. The laundry is done and we will pull out tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lou's Nosey

Tuesday: (02/24) Busy with a little more house cleaning this morning. Otherwise just relaxing. Lou, however has been attacked by either the dog hair or pollen and is under the weather. Speaking of weather, it was a nice day today. Clear skies. Granola and boysenberries for breakfast. Leftover ribs and chili for lunch. Ribs and hot and sour soup for diner.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Visiting Helen

Sunday: (02/22) Granola for breakfast. We visited Helen early. After a visit we headed off to tour Hart Park. Lou was hoping for more flowers on the hills. We also took a look at Kern River RV Park by Lake Ming. Doing all this worked up a hunger so we stopped at The Malt shop where I stopped the other day after my hike. We each had a peanut butter milkshake and shared some chili cheese fries for lunch. Another visit with Helen then we had dinner at Carrow's Restaurant. Lou enjoy's prime rib and they have it every day. Another visit with Helen in the evening. When we returned to Helen's house we spent some time with her lonely dog Iris. It was a rainy day today.

Monday: (02/23) Granola with strawberries for breakfast. Lou was busy dusting and I was busy vacuuming to clean some construction debris in Helen's house. She's had some drywall and masonry work done recently and the dust went everywhere. Lou also went looking for a part for her sewing machine, and found it. We had lunch at the Chinese Buffet nearby then headed to the hospital to see Helen. She was released after dinner. Nice that she is back home all better. I enjoyed a PBJ sandwich for dinner while Lou had peanut butter and apples. Today was mostly overcast. It was also special because there was a full fledged tornado west of Bakersfield near Buttonwillow.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Wind Wolves Preserve Hike

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Saturday: (02/21) On the way into Bakersfield last week on Highway 166 I spotted a sign to the Wind Wolves Preserve which I hadn't herd of before. In my search for  more information I noticed an entry about today's hike by the Southern Sierra Hiking Club, a Meetup group. I signed up for the hike. I was up early, had breakfast at Jack In The Box and met some fellow hikers at Starbucks to carpool down to the preserve. We drove 35 miles South of Bakersfield to the Wind Wolves Preserve in the hills above the valley near Maricopa. Wind Wolves Preserve is a 93,000 acre preserve of mostly grassy hills and steep rocky mountains but it is wonderful. Oddly and something most preserves don't have to contend with, this preserve doesn't own the oil under the preserve so there will be drilling on or under the preserve. I was told the dirt road through the preserve up into the mountains was the original path of the road from Los Angeles to San Francisco through these mountains. We climbed about 1830 feet up the grassy mountain and returned along the San Emigdio Trail by a creek. I was hoping that the campground might be appropriate for a stay in the RV but it is a walkin campground. We had about 22 hikers in our group, hiked 11.3 miles with a climb of 1830 feet. Here is the GPS track for this hike.

One of the things I do when hiking in the outback is to place my phone in "Airplane" mode to help extend battery life. That means I can't be contacted by phone both because of the location and because the phone is effectively no longer a phone but a GPS device. For that reason I missed a call from LOU saying that Aunt Helen had to go to the hospital. Lou was busy all day with Helen. We visited with her in the evening.

Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, Soup and salad at the Black Bear restaurant for dinner.

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A fine group of hikers

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Only a few trees but lots of sheep.

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Lots of green grass to taste. Our troupes almost stepped on the snake.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Busy, Busy

Lou was busy with the shop vac cleaning the patios and the garage. I fixed a few things. The vacuum, checked and reset a "Check Engine" light on the Jeep, cleaned windshields, and most importantly, watched Lou work. Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. A late lunch at the Golden Corral Buffet.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Where's The Trail

Thursday: (02/19) Sausage and pineapple cake for breakfast. Lou was off to spend the day with her friend Anita. Helen dropped me off at the mouth of the Kern River Canyon. The Kern River Parkway Trail supposedly runs from the mouth of the canyon out to Interstate 5, over 30 miles. I biked or hiked everything from Hart Part West to I5 but haven't made it out to the canyon. Even though it's described as going from the canyon to the Interstate the trail map only shows it going to Hart park. Today's effort was to see it there was a trail, even if not a bike path. Helen dropped me off at the mouth of the canyon and I headed over to the river and started west. It didn't look good from the start. Even though there were no "No Trespassing" signs I started the "trail by stepping through a wide gap in the barbed wire fence. About 1/2 mile brought me to a 16 foot tall concrete flue that brings the water further downriver to a powerhouse. I crossed the flue at it's origin, probably not a wise thing but there still were no signs to prohibit it. I then tried to find a trail beside the river but couldn't locate one so I walked the dirt road by the flue. I continued to check beside the river regularly by walking out to the edge but there was no trail. I continued about 3.5 miles further downstream beside the flue to the powerhouse where I did my last check beside the river. There was a "No Trespassing"sign there facing the river about two feet from the edge of the river. If I'd have approached from that direction I'd have felt more guilty. To get back out to the highway I had to circumnavigate an orange grove. At the road there was another sign. Fortunately I was still a free man. I walked the side of Highway 178 for about a mile to Rancheria Road. I didn't know that it crossed the river so I walked down it to the river to check for the trail. There was a public parking area there and river access but still no trail. At the bridge I was only 1/10 mile further downstream from where I'd started to exit back to the highway. I had walked 1.5 miles to go 1/10 mile. So, I confirmed there is no trail, yet. I had to return to the highway and finished my 12.5 mile walk back to town. On the way I stopped at a gas station and found something I've never seen before. A Rockstar horchata energy drink. I stopped my walk when I found the Malt Shop at Fairfax and Auborn Streets. They made a wonderful peanut butter milkshake. Lou and Anita had lunch at Famous Dave's BBQ.  I called Lou who had just finished her visit with Anita so she came to pick me up. We had leftover Chinese food for dinner.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cousin Cusine

Wednesday: (02/18) Biscuits and gravy for breakfast. We visited some more thrift stores and other shopping around town. Mostly looking. Lunch was deep pit BBQ at Milt's Restaurant. I really like deep pit BBQ. We made contact with my cousin Judy and her husband Don and arranged to have diner with them at the Rice Bowl Chinese Restaurant. There isn't anyplace with better Chinese food than Bakersfield. After dinner we stopped by at their house to talk. Judy prepared a wonderful pineapple cake for desert.

Into The Smog

Tuesday: (02/17) Another foggy morning. We were up early, enjoyed some oatmeal for breakfast and then finished packing up to roll. We took care of the tanks and hooked up the Jeep and were on the road at 0910. We even had some rain sprinkles once we were on the road. That or we knocked some water out of the air with our windshield. We took our usual path to Bakersfield via Highway 166 from Santa Maria through Cuyama. Cuyama is from a Chumash Indian word meaning To Rest or To WaitThe hills were nice and green. A few miles up the road the skies cleared and we finally saw our shadows. We stopped in New Cuyama for lunch. Lou made ham sandwiches. We walked around "town" and noted that the restaurant was nicely remodeled but a little higher priced than we like. Maybe next visit. Of course, as we crested the mountains on the far side of the Cuyama Valley we were looking down at a horrible blanket of smog that covers the Southern San Joaquin Valley and Bakersfield. That does shorten our visits recently. Since Aunt Helen was busy when we arrived Lou and I stopped in at a giant Walmart and a Lowe's for a look around. Hardware stores are one of our most common entertainment locations.  We all went to the Chinese Buffet a few blocks from Helen's for dinner.


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Long And Short Of It

Monday: (02/16) Oatmeal for breakfast. We enjoyed a walk around camp. Many people are leaving. How nice. We met our neighbor, a retired Forest Service guy and discussed the Pacific Crest Trail around Lake Tahoe where he worked. Then we were off to San Luis Obispo for the day. We had a late lunch at Luisa's Place Restaurant  on Higuera Street. Nothing significant accomplished. I did find a couple of pairs of shorts at a thrift store. All my old ones are too big and I still haven't replaced them since they are out of season. Speaking of seasons and shorts. I started wearing my convertible hiking pants without the lower legs, effectively shorts, yesterday. It probably isn't a coincidence that the weather immediately turned colder so before we headed off to SLO I changed back into my long pants. It probably was slightly effective. We returned to camp and had leftover ribs and potatoes au gratin for dinner. Today was another foggy non sunny day most of the time, Even in SLO, the sun wasn't too effective.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Foggy Early Sunday

Sunday: (02/15) Following my typical activity routine, there was little today. I figured out how long yesterdays hike was and decided I'd relax today. It was a rather odd day. It never really got sunny and the fog came in before 1500. I tinkered inside all day. Lou arrived back at camp a little before 1700. She said traffic was terrible. She spent an hour poking along just after Gilroy and decided to exit at San Juan Batista and took highway 25 down to King City. She had a couple of other stoppages as well including as she arrived here. So we walked rather than drove to dinner at the Rib Line in Grover Beach.

A Walk To Avila Beach

Saturday: (02/14) Because I was so inactive yesterday I wanted to get out earlier today. I fixed a nice egg, cheese and sausage breakfast sandwich to start. When my alarm went off to remind me of the Lion's Club pancake breakfast at 0800 I had a problem. I'd already eaten.  Fortunately, it ran until 1100. When I went outside I found that a raccoon had enjoyed his dinner next to the right front tire leaving just the guts of a squirrel for me to clean up. Such cute little beasts. There was some kind of a birthday event at the Butterfly Grove. It was packed. I investigated the bus schedules and they don't run often enough. I decided to take a hike up to Aliva Beach. I did much of this hike before. On my way I stopped for an early pancake lunch then continued on North. I walked up Highway One, Price Street and Shell Beach Road and along the way I looped out to the beach wherever possible. There isn't a continuous bluff trail but there are many little parks and beech access points along the way, most about 1/4 mile off the highway with no connection other than back out to the highway. At the North End of Shell Beach I connected with the Bluff Trail to Cave Landing and Pirates Cove. All the Beaches were really crowded due to the wonderful summer like weather, 86 degrees, and President's Holiday weekend. I then took to the road and walked on to the Avila Beach village. There I looked around and relaxed a little with an energy drink and ice cream. About 1530 I started back via the Bob Jones Trail along the San Luis River. There were several Geocahes located along the trail so I located most of them. I had to give that up when my phone battery died. I hiked along the top of the ridge above Highway 101 to connect back to Shell Beach Road coming down into Shell beach as the sun was setting. I stopped for dinner at Mei's Chinese Restaurant. Very good and very busy. I got a small table by the kitchen and cashier desk. It was a table for two and the place was packed. I offered my extra chair to others and enjoyed dinner conversation with a girl returned home from the university in Las Vegas and a mother visiting her daughter who lives here. It was a little difficult doing the last two miles home from the restaurant after sitting for so long. I kind of stiffen up. Total walk 19 plus miles. I arrived home at 2020. Time for a shower.

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