Kernville, California: April 30-May 3, 2015

Kern River.

Kern River.

This was our first visit to the Lake Isabella/Kernville area.  My Uncle used to have a cabin there, and year after year he would always invite me up, instead, just like a lemming, it was up the 395 to Mammoth.

For quite a while Forest has been talking about wanting to go to Kernville. And we’ve heard good things from friends that have done it. The whole trip came together rather quickly.  Amelia took a mental health day on Friday, and carpooled on Thursday, so Forest and I were able to pick her up when school got out. I knew this was going to be a memorable adventure when on the short trip from our house to Amelia’s school, Sara left a little butt stain on Forest’s shorts and shirt.  I know that smell well, because it has happened to me before.  The poor girl can’t help it that she was born with a pug’s tail. It’s always safest to tuck her tail under before letting her sit on your lap.

The drought is killing Lake Isabella and the surrounding communities.  When full, the lake holds 578,000 acre feet of water. Right now it has 45,395 acre feet.  It is shocking.  Water sports on Isabella and rafting the Kern River are the big economic drivers in the area.  No agua is no bueno.  I spoke with a handful of business owners and they were all crying the blues.  It is a sad situation.

We were thinking we were smart by staying in the Frandy Campground in town, so we could just walk to Kern River Brewing Company.  Man oh man, Frandy was a real eye opener.  Our first clue should’ve been the chalk lines separating the “campsites”.  But on Thursday night when we arrived the place was empty, but that was Thursday.  Friday was like a huge tailgating event at Qualcomm stadium.

The Kern River is to Bakersfield as the Colorado River is to San Diego.  And like most rivers, it attracts a certain element, and that element was on the other side of the chalk line.  Eleven kids in their 20’s, all of them oblivious to their surroundings and hell bent on one thing, PARTYING!  And that kind of partying doesn’t understand curfew.  I had no idea people still do beer bongs.  This must be karmic payback.  I was probably that guy, at their age, minus all the tattoos and cigarettes.  The whole scene is not so cute now that I’m in my mid fifties.  I’d much rather be in the middle of nowhere or an RV Park. Did I say RV Park? I must be getting old…

This should've also been a clue.

This should’ve also been a clue.

Those aren't our tables you see looking out our door. Nice tent city.

Those aren’t our tables you see looking out our door. Nice tent city.

All the rides in the area require a shuttle.  There’s one company in town that does it and they are very expensive, then there’s Shuttle Bob.  He’s a one man, under the radar, character.  Bob saved us a lot of money and told us some great stories.  The first day he showed up with a little gift for Amelia, an arrowhead.  He said he always gets a gift for the ladies.  For the guys he just gives them bullshit.  How it works is in the morning he sets the meeting place.  Then both cars go to the end of the trail.  He leaves his car there, jumps in your car, and drives with you to the start.  Then he drives your car back to where his car is, leaves your car there, and gets in his car and leaves.  So obviously the scenario requires trust and two keys.

Shuttle Bob thought we were nuts on our steel, hard tail, single speed bikes, apparently that’s not the bike of choice in Kernville, but that’s the bike we ride.  On Friday we did Unal Trail to Just Outstanding (JO) to Wagy Trail.  Wagy was super rutty from motorcycles and not really our cup of tea.  Forest loved it.  As I mentioned in the last blog, he’s just humoring us when riding with us.  Saturday was the Cannell Trail.  There was a tad bit more uphill hike a biking than we were expecting, but when you were on your bike, wow what a ride.

Amelia on the beautiful Unal Trail.

Amelia on the beautiful Unal Trail.

Yours truly, walking around the Alta Sierra Ski Area. They never opened this year, and only one day last season. Can you say a "dying industry."

Yours truly, walking around the Alta Sierra Ski Area where the Just Outstanding trail begins.  The ski resort never opened this year, and only one day last season.  Can you say “a dying industry?”

It was Just Oustanding.

It was Just Oustanding.

Forest flying through the manzanita tunnels on JO.

Forest flying through the manzanita tunnel on JO.

The cousins enjoying each others company post ride on Friday and finding humor in our neighbors.

The cousins enjoying each other’s company post ride on Friday and finding humor in our neighbors.

Shuttle Bob and me at the top of Sherman Pass. and the start of the Cannell Trail. From where we were you could see Mt. Whitney.  Bob is quite a character. Also a wearer of great T-shirts.

Shuttle Bob and me at the top of Sherman Pass and the start of the Cannell Trail. From where we were you could see Mt. Whitney. Bob is quite a character. Also a wearer of great T-shirts.

Here's another one of Bob's shirts. Amelia thought so much of it, she ran out to the Shell Gas Station to buy one.

Here’s another one of Bob’s shirts. Amelia thought so much of it, she ran out to the Shell Gas Station to buy one.

If I have a water bottle on my bike it's a long ride.

If I have a water bottle on my bike it’s a long ride.

There were still a few patches of snow from last week's storm.

There were still a few patches of snow from last week’s storm.

One of the many meadows we crossed before hitting the Plunge.

One of the many meadows we crossed before hitting the Plunge.

After about 17 miles, we finally hit the Cannell Plunge. From here it's a 5,000 foot drop in 8 miles. Insane!

After about 17 miles, we finally hit the Cannell Plunge. From here it’s a 5,000 foot drop in 8 miles. Insane!

California Flannel Bush.

California Flannel Bush.

Amelia on one last little push before the final descent to the truck.

Amelia on one last little push before the final descent to the truck.

Sara enjoying the view at Kern River Brewing Company.

Sara enjoying the view at Kern River Brewing Company.

A great slogan, and a really cool place. Two thumbs up on the beer, food, and employees.  Enlarge the photo and take a look at the R in drink.

A great slogan, and a really cool place. Two thumbs up on the beer, food, and employees. We went there two nights in a row.  If you look closely at the R in drink you’ll see a basset hound.

Perhaps it was our last trip to Hurricane with Roger the poet, but Amelia was inspired and she wrote a poem.

Just Outstanding

Flowers and views

Breezes and insects

Climbing and sweating

Descending and smiling

 

15 thoughts on “Kernville, California: April 30-May 3, 2015

  1. We love Kernville n Brewing Co. too. A few years back there was an awesome restaurant right under the turn for the ski-lift. Check it out if it’s open. The cabins at Alta are a great place to stay and to buy anyone ever gives up their super long cheap lease. Kern River Outfitters offers a super yummy Pub n Grub once a year w tons of food. First year of their Pub n Grub trip Firestone backed out of deal to provide the beer for n KRBC came through with so much yumminess that they ended took more back to the garage than they brought to the camp. Super generous folks n original owners, if it’s still them were big international river competitions. Kernville is also a great launch for driving up to Giant Sequoias. It’s a tiny town with big heart and worth a drive for a mellow getaway , especially if drive up the hill n find a place far away from those crazy 20 year-olds. Karma is definitely a b(:$&h. Amy…i remember a specific trip when we stayed up laughing n carrying on at Agnew Meadows. Good times, good times.

    • It’s easy for me to visualize you, Amy and the rest of that group, back in your youth carrying on to all hours at Agnew Meadows!

    • They definitely do a nice job and good business. It would be fun to have an operation like that.

  2. very  good. I don’t guess you will be staying at that campground anymore.                   Some day you should write a book about your and Amelia’s Airstream adventures .      Ruth

    • Hi Ruth. Greg IS writing about their adventures..Blogging is how kids do it, these days. 😉 Maybe one day they will find their way into a book…

  3. What a descent! Even though it sounds like you didn’t climb those 5,000 feet, you still did 25 miles. You’re animals. Old, non-beer-bonging animals, but animals none-the-less.

  4. I remember that ride. Thanks for all the pictures so I could reminisce again. I thought that was very epic and the plunge was intense!! We also had the same guy, Bob shuttle us ; ) and there was a college town like party at night. It hasn’t changed since 6 years ago!

  5. Awesome descent on the Plunge! Sure the microbrews were good too! Sad thing about the lake. Maybe it can be converted to skate board park or woop-de-doo park for fat tire bikers when it drys up. Pray for rain! A flood!

      • Yes I did thanks. I see you are in San Diego county. I’ve never been into reading blogs but now I’m getting hooked on your adventures.

        Thanks, Dave

        Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S® 5 ACTIVE™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

  6. Great pics. Hoping to do this ride but there are no shuttles running and i am just one. How do i find shuttle bob?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s