Mountains, rivers, and the great earth,
Grass, trees, and the forests,
All are mu.
no goal reached
Lake Isabella is the end of section four of the Sierra-Cascades route and as far as I’m going to follow the route. Today I strike off on a route to Bakersfeild that I put together on Google Maps. This turns out to be just the kind of route that ACA would have done. Once I’d ridden past the lake on that busy shoulderless road I headed up the canyon walls. From there I stayed well above the Kern river for a fair spell on lightly trafficked backroads. This was quite nice, riding through the stark, dry landscape, under the blue sky masterfully painted with white clouds. The Kern was boiling along below over large shattered rocks and there was considerably more greenery down that way. I even passed a couple of campgrounds – wish I’d ridden the few miles west of Lake Isabella and camped at the Hobo Campground.
Eventually though the route descended and joined the main highway to Bakersfield. This road quickly fell to near the level of the river and became a fairly narrow shoulder-free road. Happily most of the traffic was heading upriver, but this is California and there are few empty roads. I kept descending in the canyon but the walls seemed to get taller if anything. Toward the end they were these towering shear rock walls with large crumbling boulder piles. The was a little dam at the end of the canyon which upon passing I left the Sequoia National Forest – the end of the long string of many, many national forests I’ve been in for the last few months.
I exited into a wide valley with a ranch on one side and agriculture on the other which once I climbed out of, I’d reached the far extents of Bakersfield. I was in the San Joaquin valley proper now and it was hot – 97 degrees (F). Google Maps routed me though the ‘burbs and a series of rather depressed seeming neighborhoods until I came upon “Central Park”. This park is along a canal though the central part of town and I rode the paths along that all the way to my hotel. I made a brief stop at Blacktop Cyclery as I needed a pedal wrench for the train trip home. Good guys there, they give me a deal on the wrench as they “liked my (Rivendell) hat”. They came out to check out my bike and were totally into it and the tour. They said that the cycling scene isn’t bad here and they are always working to improve it. I don’t think I’d come here specifically for the cycling but always nice to find good people. It was just a couple blocks to my hotel right across the street from the Amtrak station. Tomorrow I began the trip north.