Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Day 21: Dinuba CA - Tehachapi CA

I have seen many and varied things during my sojourns in USAnia but until this morning, had never seen someone "walking" a dachshund by chucking it out of a ground-floor window while grasping the other end of its long lead from the comfort of one's hotel room.  If that was the strangest sight I was destined to see all day I should not be minded to complain.

A quick trip through the regimented orchards of the San Joaquin Valley gave way to the foothills of the Sierra - and on this side they do have foothills, whereas in the east they just rear straight up, no messin'.  If anyone knows the story behind this curious island:

Wat dat?
in the middle of the valley I should be pleased to be saved the bother of looking it up.

You do not need to know the story behind this
Arsehole woz 'ere
because there isn't one, only an idiot.  This is why we cannot have Nice Things and yet people still complain that the administration of Nice Mr Obambi banned the sale of water in plastic bottles in National Parks because litter.  Natch "President" Tribblehead has reversed this, probably not because he thinks it's a Bad Thing but rather because Nice Mr Obambi came up with it.

What is lacking in the Sequoia National Forest, and King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks is, in any case, not bottled water but superlatives.  Giant Sequoias may not be as tall as the coastal redwoods which mess with your satnav's head up Al'n'Alice's way but a height of more than eighty metres is still not to be sniffed at.

The General Grant.  It is Big.
I'm gonna drink ol' muddy water / sleep down in a hollow log...
And the Grant not the biggest one.  Then you go over the hill from the Remarkable Trees, and drop a thousand metres into the valley of the King's River and run out of superlatives again.

The only problem is that it's a dead end road, so you have to retrace your path and avoid getting stuck behind this:

Which, happily, I did.  If you turn off CA-180 some eight miles before reaching the Grant Grove you can take a short-cut via Hume Lake, which is:

  • nice to look at, but
  • full of Christians

Not the lake itself, obv.  I mean, they don't go there to practice walking on water or anything.  And they don't like your exposed flesh either.
We'll have no Impure Thoughts here...
Putting Sleep's "Dopesmoker" on the ASBO's stereo drove them away before they could get close enough to attempt to convert me1.

So just when you thought you'd seen enough Remarkable Trees to last until next year, Sequoia NP offers this:

The General Sherman
In terms of volume it's the Biggest Tree in The Wurrrrld and may be the biggest living thing too.  Unless you include egos as well, in which case Lenny Kravitz has the edge2.  There was a BEAR thereabouts too, but I do not have a photograph because, unlike just about anyone else who spotted the people who spotted the BEAR, I am not the kind of colossal berk who stops dead in the middle of the road because something interesting3 can be seen nearby.

In terms of Frustration Engendered By Waiting At Roadworks it also rates highly, alas, since even dropping five minutes behind the crawling queue by stopping for a fag did not give a clear road for long.  All this meant that the plans to go and muck about on some more mountain roads were scuppered, since it's a hundred and fifty-odd miles from the General Sherman to Tehachapi via the quickest route and it was already three o'clock.  On the one hand the area seems to be in the shadow of Yosemite, which is practically next door, but on the other hand they're a lot quieter as a result.

Back through the orchards and onto CA-99, which is like the A1 in south Yorkshire except flatter and the trucks are 10 mph faster and yes, California does have an absolute maximum speed limit for trucks of 55 mph.  Norty truckers.  The last few miles from Bakersfield are all uphill and it rapidly became jolly freezing because:

  • wind, and
  • slow trucks climbing the mountain, and
  • USAnian car manufacturers not having grasped that a convertible needs a truly volcanic heater

Bah!  Tomorrow it's back into the desert with very little worth seeing en route unless I can get a decent picture of a sign saying "Barstow" this year.

  1. Lie
  2. According to GY!BE drummer Aidan Girt, anyway
  3. Wildlife, mountains and, in one especially memorable case, a glacier.


  1. Some reading on the San Joaquin Valley: http://www.sjvgeology.org/geology/ (intro to the geology of said valley)

  2. We seem destined to miss one another. We Things were in Kings Canyon and Sequoia a week ago. We are now approaching Portland. Hopefully the rain has damped down the fires a little...

    1. Bah!

      Anyway, safe travels. You wouldn't want to be riding into the wind I've had the last two days, mind.