February 19, 2014
Very clear, sunny day for a drive to Three Rivers. We decided to take Hwy 178 west from Hwy 395/14 which would allow us to avoid Mojave and the desert. Although a two lane road, we would drive through the southern Sequoia National Park and the Kern River. The road was quite good and there was little or no traffic as we climbed to 5,500 feet through mostly scrub. As we descended we did pass through forested land, some with nice houses perched atop hills. We passed through Lake Isabella and found dramatic effects of the drought. The lake had receded so much that the boat moorings were at least a half mile from the water’s edge. We could actually see the bottom of most of the lake. The recreation areas are suffering terribly. As we descended from Lake Isabella the scenery along the almost dry Kern River was more forested and the roads winding. All in all, a very pleasant drive.
At the junction of Hwy 178 and Hwy 99 in Bakersfield was Costco! They even had well priced diesel fuel. The store must be fairly new as the staff were not as efficient. Lines for food were long and we seemed to be the only ones who knew about prepaying with our order. Getting diesel was interesting as there were several huge RVs before us at the one island that had diesel. The fellow in front of us nearly took out a pump trying to leave and ultimately had to unhitch his car to get out. As they say, the price was worth the wait!
Instead of taking Hwy 99 we are on Hwy 65 which seems to be more direct to Three Rivers. Traveled through oil drilling rigs as we left Bakersfield and then orange filled trees for miles. We also saw lots of orchards for sale, orchard removal and new plantings. Some of this may be due to the draught.
Arrived at the Pinkhams around 3:30. They said many of the orchards are replanted every 25 years so the empty and dead fields may not be an effect of draught. Drove to Woodlake to a “mom and pop” Chinese restaurant that Steve has been helping create good dishes over the years. He is able to speak Chinese with them which also has created a nice friendship where we can bring wine, vegetables etc. We took asparagus to be used in our chicken dish. Meal was delicious!! We had a tempura-style type fish with a dry jalapeno, onion, salt etc. accompaniment. This was followed by a spicy shrimp, chicken /asparagus and a noodle dish to finish. Had Mer et Soleil and Ramey chardonnays.
We old folks were home and in in bed by 9:15!