For thanksgiving this year we all rolled down the San Joaquin Valley to Bakersfield, CA to visit my parents and my Grandmother, Rosemary. The drive was typical. A quick drive over Donner Summit in a wet, but un productive, snowstorm, burgers @ in-n-out in auburn and a stinky and foggy drive down valley to Bako.
I went on a couple road rides with my parents over the weekend. Several years ago I gave my mom my old Schwinn Moab mountain bike with a set of extra wheels mounted with slick tires. They did a bunch of bike path riding and now they both have drop bar road bikes!
Round Mountain Road
The Round Mountain Road Loop is the Verdi Loop of Kern County. It starts @ North Chester Lane and China Grade Loop in Oildale, CA. It goes out the Kern River past Hart Park and the high bluffs over the river. It’s not an unattractive landscape, but different than the Nor Nev Mountainscape. If you’ve read Grapes of Wrath, that is the place where the Joads camped when they moved out to Bako. Very Historic. Now it’s a Park, Reservoir, soccer complex and home to hundreds of high end ranchettes and micro emu, llama and buffalo farms.
The other distinguishing feature of the area is the oil fields. The route goes right through it all. Kinda cool, kinda janky. I remember when I was 10 and he had just moved out the Cali, we used to take visiting family and friends on tours of this area. It was sort of a spectacle. We also used to hunt tarantulas out there.
The pinnacle of the ride comes when you turn off onto Round Mountain Road and start climbing to the top of Round Mountain. I paced my dad up it all on my fat tire cruiser bike. He rides an older steel Trek that a friend gave him. He did pretty good for an old guy!
We got to the top and waited in the foggy mucky smelling air for the rest of the fam. Dave and Carrie were a few minutes back, Callie a few minutes more, then my mom rolled over the hill and caught up not that far back at all. She just got a new Fuji road bike and is actually using the drop bars and hoods. The ride down from the mountain was cold and clammy and then the 7 mile slog back to the car was cold, clammy and bonky (at least for me). I hadn’t expected them to take me on such a long ride, so I only brought two granola bars and one water bottle!
From Bako we went on to Red Rocks, Zion and Elko…