Friday, April 3, 2015

First leg -- Arriving in Bakersfield.

A moment of flagging courage:  waking up in such a sprawling and relentlessly commercial town, without a car.  But a morning coffee and a chat with someone familiar did wonders toward restoring the old morale.  And a couple of days of regrouping, supported by the help of several lovely, generous people, have made me feel much more 'at home'!

I do not know exactly how many miles (100+) I have walked now, at the beginning of this rather audacious venture.  But I do know that whatever 'rules' I have set for myself are subject to constant adjustment!  This is about rising to the immediate occasion, learning to trust, pray/meditate, offer up the many blessings that have come my way already, with a grateful and humble spirit -- and trying not to lapse into crabbiness in moments of panic!

My appearance is unusual, to say the least, walking along with a trailer.  Many conversations have ensued and again I find myself wondering about the goals and ideals of this business (beyond my own personal 'calling' to get out here on foot).  How would I ever make an impact on anyone's orientation around environment and lifestyle, in the space of a brief conversation?  As I've resolved to do, I can only express my concerns and opinions to those who ask about my purpose.  And realize (as I enjoy so many kindnesses from others), my own part in the consumption of those resources I'm concerned about!

Many thanks are in order, to the Bodhisattvas of the road! (These are sort of like Buddhist angels or saints, in case anyone's wondering...) I have been offered (among other things) accommodations in Santa Margarita and Buttonwillow, meals on the Carrizo Plain and in McKittrick.  Many good wishes have been extended and I have felt overwhelmingly supported by people along the way.

Thoughts on one contrast between the east and west sides of the Temblor range (so called because it runs along the San Andreas fault line) that borders the Carrizo Plains National Monument and divides San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. The land on the Plains side looks fairly unspoiled for the most part (being part of a national monument).  But as a prominent feature there are two massive solar farms -- controversial but apparently serving the area well.  By contrast, after descending the rolling and wildflower-covered hills on the east side, one drops into a smoggy valley of oil fields and pipeline.  Gradually this gives way to agriculture.  And this is where I refrain from expressing any opinions on the politics of water and who/what controls the vital information about future prognosis for agriculture and water usage! Suffice it say that both crisis denial and anger toward government are running rampant.

From this point on Internet and phone access may be quite limited.  Good luck to me - and to us all!


  1. You stopped me on the bike path looking for directions to 178. Although we couldn't be more different in our perspectives I wish you safe travels and great adventure. I wish you would have been aware of Bakersfield's 30 mile long bike path running from Enos Lane (Hwy43) on the west to about where we met today. It would have been a much safer route for you. Good luck negotiating the canyon.

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