Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Streets Of Bakersfield

There are other things going on here at the house besides Brenna's imminent arrival... not that my trip to Bakersfield is earth-shattering news.

The silver lining in all of this is that I left in the middle of the week, so security at the airport was a piece of cake. Matter of fact, I was the only one in line to go through the metal detectors, which is unusual for Sky Harbor. I took a flight to Burbank, to avoid LAX, into the world renowned Bob Hope airport (insert sarcasm here).

The pollution in the LA area continues to be horrible. Flying into the area, you could barely see the ground for all the smog. Traffic also was horrible on I-5 heading north out of town, and about half an hour into the mountains I spent an hour driving through smoke from a fire near Pyramid Lake.

For once I decided to leave town without my camera and am regretting not bringing it, as I've never seen so much smoke in my life. The fire was probably within a quarter mile of the interstate, you could see it creeping along one of the ridges, and helicopters were circling it, dropping slurry. The sun was setting through the smoke, casting an eerie amber glow on everything, and the lake itself looked like it was on fire. Coming back on Friday through the same area I experienced my lone Captain Obvious moment. Approaching this thick wall of black smoke, there stood a lone Smokey the Bear sign that read "Fire Danger For This Area is HIGH". I really wish I could have taken a picture of this ridiculous sign with the fire and smoke behind it.

In the end, getting there was more interesting than the destination itself. I spent a few days in Bakersfield back in June of 2000 and the only memory I took away from that trip was the a/c going out in my hotel room at 2am and me standing around in the hotel lobby with about 50 strangers in their pajamas, glaring at the front desk clerk (like he had anything to do with the apparent power outage that caused me to wake up in a pool of my own sweat). The best part about that trip in 2000 was meeting Emily on the way back to Birmingham, and I suppose that was the best part of this trip, getting home.

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