Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life's a Trip. Bring a Map

     I think back on all the trips my dad took me and my sisters on when we were kids. I can shake my head and laugh about them now but back then I was closing my eyes, shaking my head and wishing I'd be home when I opened them. There was that trip to Lake Isabella that didn't quite go according to plan, well,at least I'd like to think he had something better planned. My dad liked to go camping. he took us to places like Yosemite and Sequoia but the trip to Lake Isabella and nearby Kern River was memorable to say the least. 
     My dad bought an inflatable raft. You know, the yellow 4 person NOT heavy duty kind you can buy at Big 5. He parked his orange '73 VW Micro Bus right off the highway, inflated the raft and the four of us piled in. His idea was to ride the Kern River way down to Lake Isabella and then I guess make our way back 10 miles to the van? That ride would have been nice if it had gone according to plan but "According to plan" wouldn't have involved the Coast Guard and made local TV news in Bakersfield. What actually happened did. 
     The water was too high and the current was way too strong  but if it wasn't and we didn't take (and survive) that ride I'd be missing half a story to tell you. I've found as a parent there are times when you find super human reaction speed you didn't know you had. My dad found his when a tree branch hanging over the river and our raft was coming at us FAST. He reached up, grabbed the branch and held on. He was able to stop us there and we climbed out what was left of the torn up (shredded) raft. We were back on dry land. On the opposite side of the highway yes but safe for the moment. He instructed us to climb up the mountain and as far away from the water as we could. I fainted. I'm glad he was climbing up behind me because if he didn't catch me, well again, no blog post.
     Which leads me to the story I'm going to tell you about my trip with my kids up to Sequoia National Park yesterday. We left the house at 11am and headed past Mojave on the 14 freeway. We made our way to the 395 filled up the gas tank at a Pearsonville Shell station and turned around and headed to Hwy 178 but made a pit stop at Indian Wells Brewery before we got there. :)

      We finally made it to Sequoia National Forest but we didn't stop there.
      We kept driving looking for a place to park and check out the trees. We passed the  little towns of Kernville and Fairview where they had lodges and motels. We should have stopped there. We took Kern River Hwy which became Kern River Upper which became numbered Highways. I tried hard to stick to the route my phone's GPS app had laid out for me but that didn't always work because it kept saying I was off the route. My phone's loss of signal didn't help either. We were doing about 25mph when a deer jumped out onto the highway. Slammed on the brakes. That was scary. We kept driving. By this time the sun is going down and the temperature is dropping. We come up to a section of road covered in patches of ice. We drove slow and crossed it. A larger patch came next and about a mile after that the road was completely covered in snow for about 1/4 mile. 3 of us got out of the car to keep the mufflers from scraping on the ground as we passed. Both lanes of the two lane numbered hwy were completely covered in snow about a mile ahead and this time it was at a curve. Brianna was scared. Tony not so much. ( At least they didn't faint like I did) There was no way to tell how far the snow went and what would be coming next. The only option was to turn back.
      Anna put the car in reverse and went as carefully as she could. She did a great job drving She made a 3 point turn and the kids and I got into the car. We drove 30 miles back at about 20 mph with the high beams on expecting at any minute a the same deer family to jump out. Wouldn't you know it, HWY 190, our chance to get back to civilization( Well Porterville which is near Corcoran which might be the next best thing) was closed. Instead we took the 178 which ran along the west side of the river and over to Bakersfield. We weren't out of the woods yet. Aw, come on, you knew that was coming. I know I speak for all of us when I say we have never been so happy to see Bakersfield.
   From Bakersfield south east to Tehachapi and east to Mojave. We were on freeways now and even though by now it was passed 9pm I promised the kids a nice sit down dinner. I apologized to the kids and told them that that was not the kind of trip I had in mind.  You can see in the pic below the trip actually made them appreciate each other (for the 10 seconds it took to take the picture) . At least we made it back in the same car we went with. My dad had to trade his VW that broke down on that Kern River trip  to a family in Bakersfield for a ride back to Los Angeles.

It's funny how this trip came full circle. My dad and I had different ideas but we both brought our kids to the same place. This time God kept me and my kids safe. I told them he would.     

1 comment:

  1. Funny how history repeats itself. We become our patents in many ways. This trip will be a great memory for your kids when they're older. Glad you guys made it back safe.