Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Death! Valley!

November 18:

Kern River canyon: there is a winding road between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella that hugs the river. Great motorcycling when the road is dry, and it was this time. Odd thing tho. There were cop cars all over the place, and the cops were out of their cars looking down at the river, which btw is pretty low at the moment. One set of cops even had climbing gear that they were setting up...

Ridgecrest: this town exists for one reason: China Lake Naval Weapons Center, where naval aviators learn how to bomb precious cultural artifacts into rubble... perfect prep for their Iraqi duty. more on that later. It is your typical small military town, complete with brand new gigantic Wal-Mart. All I wanted was gas tho. I found it, and moved on.

Trona: armpit of California. Smells like it too. I set the cruise control so I wouldn't get a ticket, and didn't stop.

Panamint Valley: the Navy is bombing the old road from Panamint Valley, which went down past Wingate Pass to go around the south end of the Slate Range, but the feds helpfully chipped a new road into the north end of the Slate Range to take the low road's place. I didn't go down to Balarat to chat with Rock(y) this time -- it was getting late, I was getting hungry, and the burgers at Panamint Springs "Resort" awaited. So I took a few pictures of the dry lakebed, and pushed on up Panamint Valley Road.

The PSR restaurant was uncrowded, perhaps because it wasn't quite 5pm. I ordered my burger and fries. Good burger. Lousy fries - stringy store-bought frozen things, not fresh-cut like you would expect for a 10 dollar burger(!). An old desert rat on an old BMW airhead (R80) pulled in a few secs later. He spotted my KLR and my helmet and wandered over. "You friendly?" he asked. "Sure", and pointed at the next chair. He was, alas, hard of hearing, so we mostly talked past one another. After a while he looked at the darkness outside, said "I have to go set up camp before it gets dark!", and left. In the dark.

I paid and similarly left. And cursed my KLR's feeble headlamp all the way to Emigrant Campground, where I pitched my tent in the dark and settled in for the night.

Posted by: BadTux / 11/20/2006 06:38:00 PM  


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I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.

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"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce." -- Molly Ivins, 1944-2007 "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

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