Friday, October 11, 2013

Bakersfield, California

We have moved to Bakersfield, as you may notice from the above picture.  Most of the little towns in this area use to have similar welcome signs.  Bakersfield original sign has been long gone, however Buck Owens (country singer) rebuilt it using the original letters.  It is located near his music hall and restaurant, which we revisited the first day we got here.
The town is proud of its many sunny days.  Wednesday was a different story.  A gusty wind blew a lot of dust into the air which caused the brownish grey coloring of skies.  The area has not had rain for about 156 days and it is very much needed.  What came down on Wednesday was not an appreciable amount and only created mud.  The sun came out on Thursday and, as the weather man noted, no more rain was in the forecast- it was a car wash day.  We chose instead to ignore the mud on our car and went on a road trip.
We drove north out of Bakersfield on the Kern River Scenic Highway, through Kern Canyon.   Our drive took us past Lake Isabella, which currently is not much more than a mudhole.  A local commented to us that she has never seen the water level that low.  Our drive ended at the Audubon Kern River Perserve.  This park is managed by Audubon-California for the preservation of California's contiguous Valley Cottonwood-Willow Riparian Forest and the wildlife it supports.  By the way, we learned from the park's brochure that willow bark is the natural source of aspirin. The nature preserve lies along the South of the Kern River, which is currently dry.  On our hike through the forest we saw a variety of finches, sparrows and heard woodpeckers.  Only wildlife we could see well enough to identify was a covey of California quail.  Despite the lack of wildlife it was a beautiful walk, what with the pretty blue sky, and brilliant yellow of the blooming rabbit bush.  High up in some of the trees we could also spot the bright green color of clumps of mistletoe.

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