Saturday, December 29, 2007


Tehachapi. Doesn't even sound like a real word, does it? Yet it's a place... a real place, some 2 hours north of Los Angeles.

Eric & I found ourselves driving out there last Thursday because he was taking his 2nd son, Ethan, to Winter Skateboarding Camp. I'm not sure whether he had ever been there before... I had though and knew what to expect. A mountain town. Not exatly poor, but not like Los Angeles with it's high cost of living. Farms abound, and the city itself is very managable.

We started early in the morning, with the 11:30am deadline to arrive and all. Everyone who drives north up I-5 out of LA knows when we're leaving the city... the California Aqueduct boasts a short stretch where it channels some of the water down a waterfall. It used to be lit up at night... I don't know if they still do that as I don't live in a part of the San Fernando Valley that can view it anymore. But it's still a landmark. Like comfort food to me.

A little farther out of town and I'm reminded that this city is still built on a desert. Without the water that we plunder with abandon from other parts of the country, we would not be green and lush. We had to travel quite a distance over the Mojave Desert to get to our destination.

The Mojave's greatest claim to fame is being the home of Edwards Air Force Base. It may sound familiar, and it should. For the first many years, NASA's Space Shuttle Program used to use solely it to land the Shuttles. Mainly because they wanted to land them where, if there was a major mishap, there wasn't a large population. I think they chose the right spot.

Although the shuttle now lands in Florida as it makes so much more economic sense to do so, Edwards is still a back-up location when the weather is inclement there.

The city of Mojave is proud of it's association with the Air Force Base. It's small and looks quite poverty striken although it could be a typical desert town too. I just don't know. I've never done anything except pass through. Quickly.

For obvious reasons.

For although the sign boasts of being an Oasis, it doesn't fit my personal image of such.

Once through Mojave, we turn off of the main highway and head to Tehachapi. It's an interesting drive, for me mostly because of the windmills generating electricity. Put in place and formerly managed by Enron (yes, THAT Enron), I don't know who is in charge of them these days. They line the hillsides for quite a way and are hypnotic in nature. The only other place where I've seen them is enroute to Palm Springs.

Tehachapi and it's surrounding communities are quite picturesque. Covered bridges...

Horse Theif Parks...

and farmland abound.

But of course, wherever I go where there are people involved, I find something to make me laugh. We're not in the south, but I'd put money on there being a lot of people in that particular community that do shoot. And I'm not talking photography either.

We had lunch in a restaurant in the Tehachapi Historic district. It's actually kind of a cute artsy-fartsy type of block, but we knew we needed to eat at Kelcey's.

Where the Walmart Greeter get's his training before moving up to the big time.

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