Saturday, August 11, 2012

Santa Cruz 2012 (Part III - The End)

This is the continuation of my Santa Cruz trip taken at the end of July 2012.  If you're just tuning in you can find the first two segments Here1 and Here2.

Monday morning brought a parting of the ways.  My uncle and Ed were taking the short route to Lake Havasu, before heading onward to Prescott.  My dad and I were going to go visit some of his old haunts before making the long trek back to Tucson.  We said our goodbyes and then my dad and I were off.

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Our first stop was Bakersfield college.  My dad was a student, and played football, at the college before heading off to UNLV.  The campus is on a pretty impressive hill northeast of town.  We stopped on a street called Panorama Drive so I could take a few shots of the oil fields off in the distance.
This is the hill I was referring to.  College and surrounding community off to the right.
Oil fields off to the left.
We stopped by the Memorial Stadium where my dad used to play ball.  He started telling me stories of the practices and games as if they just happened yesterday.
 Unfortunately all the gates were locked.  I stuck my camera over the fence to take this one.
After stopping by the campus bookstore, to buy t-shirts for my niece and nephew, we took one last shot from the front of the stadium.  Go Renegades!
We headed northeast out of town, and as we came over this little rise, we saw the Sierra Nevada mountains for the first time.  Cutting a narrow canyon right through the middle flows the Kern river.  I had to pull over and take a picture since the canyon, mountains, and orchards offered an amazing landscape.
As my dad and I entered the canyon I was in awe of the sheer rock walls on either side of the road.  My dad has been through here many times before.  In college he used to drive his old Honda up to the lake on weekends.  He had wanted to drive the original Kern Canyon road, that he used to ride back in the day.  It had plenty of cool twists and turns.  California had put in a new multi-lane highway, 178, and not knowing to be on the lookout for the other turnoff I kept going, and we missed his old route.  We'll have to come back again.
Say hello to the Kern River.  As we entered the canyon there are large signs that warn of the dangers of death if not careful around the river.  Since 1968, until June of this year, there have been a total of 266 drownings.  Supposedly making this one of the deadliest rivers in America.  Not sure if that is true or not, but I slipped a little getting down to that rock.  Maybe there are something to those signs.
We continued through the canyon until we made it to Lake Isabella.  This is at the man made dam on it's south side.
Conditions were pretty dry.  You can see some smoky haze off in the distance.  That was smoke coming from a forest fire.  My dad and I observed a few helicopters filling their water tanks from the lake and flying off in that direction to douse the flames.
Quite a few people out on the lake enjoying a lazy Monday afternoon.
As we came into the town of Kernville there was a small park where we pulled over to cool off. 
We both dipped our bandanna's into the stream.  I thought my dad's reaction was quite funny as the cold water hit his neck.
Young kids were running upstream and then tubing down to where their father waited to collect them.
My dad took this photo, farther upstream, where even more people were taking part of various river activities.  I like the dog out on the rock.
We got back on the bikes and headed into town.  It's not to late to catch the Rubber Ducky races on the 25th.
My dad was searching for this restaurant.  He didn't even know if it still existed.  It did.  This is where my dad proposed to my mom roughly 40 years ago.  Ewing's on the Kern.
Even though it wasn't open, he was able to go inside and snap a picture of where it happened.  He sorts of remembers them having benches in here, but he's not sure.  The building is up on a hillside and has an amazing view of the valley below.  If she had said no, would this blog even exist??
I was starting to get a little hungry so we parked our bikes under some shade trees and grabbed a table outside at Cheryl's Diner.
We got lucky with the timing.  Just as we arrived a group of 20 firemen were leaving.  I heard one of them state that the next group of 20 would be there pretty soon.  The food was delicious.
After lunch we walked across the street to grab a photo of this huge tree slab that was displayed in the town square.
We had to keep moving, the day wasn't getting any cooler and I had wanted to make Barstow by 2pm.  One last view of Lake Isabella on our way out of town.
We stopped to take photos at Walker Pass, roughly 5300'.  From here we dropped down into the Mojave Desert region.  The wind picked up a little.  My camera almost fell off it's perch while taking this photo.
As we descended into the valley the heat really started to scorch!  We were headed to the city of Inyokern for gas, but the town of Ridgecrest is right next to it, the city of my birth.  Gateway to Death Valley!
I was born at the regional hospital, somewhere out there. Alas, we were headed south, not east, so no welcome home tour.  I'm sure the town was planning a parade or something.
My dad had been trying to contact an old friend since we had left San Jose.  Unfortunately he couldn't find his number.  My dad knew that he displayed some of his art at a gallery in a old mining town called Randsburg.  With the temperature hitting 100 degrees my dad wanted to go "drive around" and see if we could spot it.  I wasn't keen on the idea.  I'm glad that we did though.  Randsburg is a pretty amazing place.  After driving down the main street we thought we had spotted the gallery, so we turned around and parked.  The gallery had a sign out that stated closed, but when my dad walked up to the door someone let him in.  I wandered a bit outside to take some pictures.
This town formed out of a gold mining camp in the 1800's.  If it hadn't of been so hot I could have spent all day here.  There was tons of stuff to check out.
According to Wikipedia the 2010 census shows a population of 69 for the town.
There was a bunch of old machinery nearby.  One of the blogs I read,, is always taking trips out to the desert and posting images of old gear left out in the middle of nowhere.  It's kind of neat to see the old company names and dates.
Next to the gallery it looked like someone was trying to open an old motorcycle museum.  I took this picture through the window.
And of course the gallery itself.  I hadn't seen my dad for awhile...I'd better go inside and make sure a serial killer didn't get him.
Inside was a stark contrast to the old ghost town feel outside. 
I was greeted by this guy.  The best art galleries have animals inside.
You can find the gallery's website here.  My dad's friend is Greg Gilbert and if you like any of his art feel free to contact them.  We met the owner of the gallery, Randell, who let us know that we had just missed Greg.  As a matter of fact we had passed him coming into town.  Randell called him up for us and my dad chatted over the phone for awhile.  Since it was hot, and getting late, we would just have to come back to see him on our next trip.
 Those were actually the last photos I have from the trip.  My dad and I made Barstow around 4:30pm, a lot later then intended.  We checked into a hotel and called the wives.  Got a little sleep before getting up again at midnight and driving the rest of the way into Arizona.  We hit a little rain coming into Needles, but other then that the temperature was very pleasant.  The last leg was around 500 miles and took us about ~10 hours or so.  Round trip mileage on my bike read 1992 miles.  I had a blast on this trip.  You couldn't ask for better weather and I had a good time with my dad and uncle.  Can't wait until the next adventure!

Bonus Picture!
For those of you who read the Prescott/Alpine post you'll remember my uncles old shovelhead Harley that was collecting dust in his garage.  After seeing those pictures he decided it needed to be brought out into the daylight and given a bath.  He texted this photo of it a few days ago.  It's a sweet looking ride!

Until next time!


  1. Great pics and a great adventure. Almost 2,000 miles. Good job. The miles on your Bonnie are adding up.

    I sure don't envy you the heat you are experiencing. Good thing you had places to dunk the bandanas.

    It is awesome you got to see inside the restaurant where your dad proposed to your mom. That in itself is pretty cool.

  2. Thanks for the comment! Yeah I'm almost up to 19K total. Almost time for another tire change. The heat has been horrible the last few days. The wife and I were able to get a early ride in on Sunday, but you have to be nuts to ride at any other time of the day. 110 degrees in the afternoons:( Seeing where my dad proposed was pretty cool. Had no idea where it happened prior to the trip, and now I'll probably never forget the location:)