What many call Nashville West sits on top of the biggest oil deposit on the continental U.S. west coast. With oil billionaire at one end and completely destitute at the other, the contrasts can be severe. It's the first city of any size you encounter after you've crossed the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles.
It's not a long drive but it's a bit nerve wracking coming over the Grapevine on Interstate 5. We're hungry, the city is hot, and we go to the first place we always do in Bakersfield...Los Tacos de Huicho where Mexican street food is taken to its highest level.
A few tacos and sopes under out belt and a quick check-in at our hotel, we head east of town where we visit the animals of the California Living Museum, also know as CALM, Bakersfield's zoo in Hart Park.
Last time we were here, Letty fell in love with a small burrowing owl named Mr. Fuzzywiggles. He's now grown into a sullen teenager who no longer seems enamored of my wife's charms.
Tim and I head over to the petting zoo, where we find the food machines out of order, and scratch the ears of a couple of goats. We have better luck feeding the ducks in the pond and seeing the birds of prey in their aviary.
In this fourth year of drought, the hillsides are bone-dry but the Kern River still flows in this part of town. By the time it reaches downtown, all the water will have been removed to be stored in reservoirs or channeled into canals for the local farms.
We have a quick beer nearby at Ethel's Old Corral before heading back into town. They have live music here on Sunday afternoons and we consider coming back for that.
It's hot today, in the 90s, so another trip to Dewar's for ice cream before taking a rest break at the hotel.
We end the day with a big, Basque dinner at Benji's, a French Basque restaurant on Rosedale Highway.
We split a ribeye between the three of us while also filling up on soup, bread, salad, pickled tounge, corn, and French fries.
After that, we can hardly move so we'll call it a day and rest up for a big day tomorrow.
Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2015 - All Rights Reserved