Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farms, family and a bit of history

I'm so glad that we decided to drive down highway 99 in the spring. All the blooming trees and green everywhere were a welcome sign of spring after leaving hail and wind at home. We were going with the idea that it's the journey and the destination, so we turned a 12 hour drive to a group camp out with a bunch of homeschoolers into a 3 day adventure. At the bottom of the valley, we stopped at one of the free reciprocal museum sites selected by Girl Child- the Kern County Museum in Bakersfield.

It's not so much one museum as it is a little town of it's own full of historical buildings with cool displays. And the buildings are all totally different- everything from adobe brick to log to fine Victorian craftsmanship- pretty much the whole gamut of housing in the area from the last hundred and fifty years. Many of the buildings were authentic, and they had been moved to the site in one piece on trucks, even the cool mansion style ones.

The grounds were lovely- there was even a wedding happening at the town gazebo. I thought we might spend an hour, but we were there for several hours at least. It was great to spread our legs and enjoy the sunshine and the scenery.

They also had a big, fancy exhibition hall on "black gold" which was all about the areas rich oil history. I knew the area had an agricultural past, but I had no idea it had oil riches going on as well. I think we all learned enough there to count for several days of homeschooling.

We left and headed down a winding, beautiful and semi nerve wracking highway along the Kern River. The river was gorgeous. The huge rocky cliffs above and below me were impressive. The giant boulders bigger than me that had fallen into the road in the last rain were what I would rather not have driven next to. The jagged rocks hanging OVER the roadway were not something I enjoyed either. Thankfully, it wasn't raining and the boulders were not falling when we drove past.

We headed east to visit an aunt and uncle that I rarely get to see. they live on a property that my grandparents took me too often as a child, so it was filled with memories, like falling in the Kern River and being drug out soaking wet by a fisherman who was really annoyed that he lost his pole in the saving of me. My Grandparents were not too pleased either as they had probably told me not to play on those slippery rocks. Other memories include learning to ride a motorcycle... and crashing into a barbed wire fence, and of having my wounds cleaned with iodine. Oh, and there was another about getting my long hair stuck in fly paper.

That kind of sounds like I only had traumatic memories there, but really I wasn't traumatized at all (well, maybe the flies- that was pretty awful.) I actually remember the area and my time with my grandparents with fondness and thinking back makes me smile.

It was wonderful to visit my relatives with my kids, and to show them the birth place of many of my childhood stories they have heard. Boy Child enjoyed admiring the extensive toy car collection that belonged to one of my cousins who is away at college, and I made sure we were all as clean as we could be when we left, as we were heading to camp in the desert for days.

Next stop, Joshua Tree National Park.