September 26, 2012

Back to Bakersfield

So far, my least favorite towns in Southern California have been Barstow and Bakersfield, both in the high Mojave Desert, sharing a common feeling of poverty, listlessness, and urban desolation.

So why would I go back? Because there's always more to explore.

As the county seat of Kern County, of course Bakersfield hosts the annual Kern County Fair, one of the neighboring county fairs I had not yet attended. It seemed reason enough to drive two hours north and back in my rental minivan just to check it out, but fortunately there was plenty I hadn't seen during my last trip to Bakersfield just over a year ago, including the Wind Wolves Preserve with its tall grasses...

...the riverside bike path with its industrial relics, under bridges and past oil fields...

...the Kern County Museum, a kind of graveyard for historic structures, steam engines, cabooses, and neon signs of the area...

...and, of course, the fair itself.

It didn't have the newest rides, the brightest lights, or the splashiest entertainment.

But it did have one good ferris wheel from which to watch an incredible sunset...

...and somehow, that was worth the two-hour drive to me.

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