New river park area aims to attract visitors, wildlife

New river park area aims to attract visitors, wildlife – Source Bakersfield.com

A train whistle sounded in the distance as Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall cut a thick blue ribbon Wednesday, signifying that the Uplands of Kern River Parkway is open to the public.

“Imagine it on a 60-degree day instead of a 110-degree day,” Hall joked to a small crowd of mostly city and county officials who stood under a canopy overlooking the Kern River.

While the Uplands park — which was funded with a $1.4 million state grant from Proposition 50, $314,000 from city Park Improvement fees and $275,000 from the city’s agricultural water fund — seemed more desolate than lush, officials were optimistic the park will come into its own….”

Some time in the beginning of June I started riding my bike to the Bakersfield bike trail.  I didn’t make it too far before heading home.  Around mid-June I took it to the next level and continued along the bike trail all the way to Manor and noticed these new seating areas.  Only one of them is different from the others, it has a telescope, none of the others have that.  They were all closed but they opened on June 22nd.

They are really nice aren’t they?  It’s too bad I can never use it.  Why you ask? Take a look at this:

No bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, in-line scooters or horses.  So, if I’m riding on the bike trail, I can’t pull over for a rest.  Or does that mean that I can’t “ride” the bike in there?  Do they have any rest stop police to make sure I don’t get to sit in there?  Uh no.  They don’t have anything saying so.

I’m not quite sure what this sign means.  Am I allowed to walk my bike along the wooden path in the dirt then prop it up on its bike stand then go sit down and rest?  Probably not because it’s apparently not intended as a rest stop but more as a bird watching area.

It says in that article from the city of Bakersfield that they want to encourage more animals to come:

“The whole purpose is that once the trees mature, it’ll draw some animals and birds to that area,” said Hoover, “birds and animals that people can watch and just observe.” She said kit foxes, beavers, egrets and blue herons, among other native species, will likely return to the area.

Is that really such a good idea to have more animals along the bike trail?  As it is there are a ton of squirrels in the parks over by Yokuts and Beach Park that run across the bike trail and get squished by bicycles.  There are tons of jack rabbits and lizards that get squished along the bike path just where these new parks are too.  I squished one lizard already (and I felt terrible, just terrible about it) and I’ve seen people who were in a group of like 10 bicycles that have squished a jack rabbit.

When you are riding your bike on the bike trail at such fast speeds, you can’t slow down or stop for an animal.  If one person starts to slow down or comes to a complete stop because of a rabbit or a fox or a beaver, the whole lot of the riders will crash and some could end up injured and in the hospital.

I don’t encourage more animals along the bike trail because that just encourages more accidents and dead animals.  If they are going to put in a fence to protect the animals then that is one thing but I don’t see that happening.  And they can’t stop people from riding their bikes on the “bike trail” because that’s what it was intended for.

What I wish they would have spent the money on is bathrooms.  There aren’t any bathrooms along the bike trail, couldn’t they have spent some of that money on porta-potties?  Or maybe perhaps building mens and women’s restrooms with those fancy new seating areas?

If you start out at Beach Park then you have a bathroom to go to.  If you ride your bike all the way down to China Grade Loop you will notice that there is not 1 bathroom.  I’m not saying I have to go to the bathroom too often but I mean seriously, I’m drinking 2 liters of water over 18 miles that I ride every day.  I haven’t had to go pee but there have been times that I had to go number 2 and it would’ve been nice if I had a bathroom to go to.  I try to go before I leave the house but it doesn’t always happen at 5:30am.

The new seating areas are nice and all but I just see them as a huge waste of money.  Also, I haven’t seen 1 person sitting in one of them.  I saw an old couple who I see walking every morning walk into one but I’m sure it was to look around and see what they have.  I can see this as being a fun thing if it weren’t so close to the bike trail.

Bike Trail Home?

Now before I get nasty comments on this I would just like to say that at age 17 I was homeless for 10 months, 1.5 months after my 17th birthday all the way until about 1.5 months before my 18th birthday so I know what it’s like being homeless.  That being said here you go…

So I’m riding on the bike path last week and I stop at the Manor St. rest stop which has about 4 cement benches, 1 of them has like a bus stop roof so if it’s raining you can sit in there out of the rain.  2 of them have no cover and those 3 are all in like a half circle (see my bike cam video at the end).  Then the 4th bench is separate from that little half circle, more like across the “street” hehe.

Anyway, so I’m riding the bike path last week (as I said lol) and I go to the stop and it’s dark because the sun hasn’t come up and I see this darkness over by one of the benches.  So I don’t go around the half circle and sit in the middle like I normally would, instead I just pull in on the other side and sit on the bench at the end.  I look over and see a face staring at me.  It’s a homeless guy in a sleeping bag next to the bench but on the ground.  I sat there for my 10-15 minute break and then leave.

Next day he’s not there and then the next time I go there he isn’t there but the sun has already come up and it was the day after Michael Jackson had passed away.  So I go sit down on the bench and as I’m taking off my helmet I can see in my helmet mirror this guy all of a sudden standing like 15 feet away from me, staring at me.  This kinda freaks me out because he wasn’t there when I stopped and when I sat down, almost as if he teleported there lol.

He slowly creeps towards me and is now in front of me and I know that he’s the guy sleeping in the sleeping bag over by the bench and I’m not quite sure I trust him.  He has this scar on his neck from having his throat slashed.  I’m not sure what that was all about but I’m going to give him the benefit of a doubt.  He comes up to me and starts talking about Michael Jackson and I sat there talking to him about all the recent deaths and about how MJ is getting all the attention while Caradine, McMahon and Fawcett get no attention.

So anyway, after about 10-15 minutes I’m ready to go so I said well breaks over and start getting my gear back on, camelbak, gloves, skull cap, helmet, earbud’s and I look in my helmet mirror and he’s back where he was when I first spotted him.  Standing 15 feet away from me, arms folded, staring at me.

The last 2 days (yesterday and today) I could see him in his sleeping bag, I’m leaving really early and so I get there before the sun even has a chance to come up.  But I’ve decided I’m not going to take any chances.  Instead of stopping there and sitting down I’m just gonna go through that tunnel and go about maybe 1/4 of a mile away and rest there.  I’m having to rest standing up now which kinda bites but that’s fine, I’d rather have to stand then worry about having my throat slashed.

Now, as I said above about being homeless, I know what it’s like and not everyone should be judged based on their scars and I don’t want to judge “the content of his character” as Martin Luther King Jr. would say but at the same time I really don’t know this guy and I’m not taking any chances.

Hot Ride

Today it was 100 degrees.  Yes, in April it was that hot.  Normally the summer heat begins on May 1st but apparently it was early.  The 5 day forecast says that it’s going to be in the 80’s – 90’s so hopefully it won’t be too bad.

But since it was 100 degrees today it was a test for me to see if I could take it or not.  Apparently I passed because it wasn’t really that bad.  However, there was cool wind so it wasn’t a fair test.  Normally when it’s hot outside the wind is hot so I’m not sure how good of a test it was.

I will find out in either May or June how bad it’s going to be.  But no matter what temperature it is going to be I’m going to tough it out because I really want to lose this weight.

I’m thinking about adding ice packs to the inside of the CamelBak so that it will keep me cool on my back at least.  That will keep me cool and so I won’t die of heat exhaustion and it will keep the water cold in the process.  Luckily there are a lot of shady areas that I can rest in along the bike path in the parks and rest stop at Manor Street.

I just gotta remember to keep sunblock in stock and in my frame bag.  Oh and I’m going to have to reinstall the water cage on the frame to carry an extra bottle of water because today I had to refill my CamelBak with water from a drinking fountain and it tasted like a freakin garden hose.  YUCK!  No thank you, I’d much rather have clean and filtered water.

Ohio Mom Killed in Home Invasion

Ohio Boy, 4, Found at Rest Stop After Mother Killed During Home Invasion

Man held on $5M bond in slaying of Ohio mom  – Link to news story is broken.

This really gets to me.  This 22-year-old guy in Ohio allegedly invades a home, ties the mother up and then shoots her before kidnapping her son.

“Authorities say he shot and killed the 29-year-old mother in her home and drove her son to an Interstate 70 rest area in central Ohio, where travelers found him wandering around.”

This is really disgusting.  He apologized and said “my fault”.  Pahleez!  I don’t want to hear it.

This is what they are saying on Jane Velez Mitchell on HLN that the child was raped while the mother who was tied up was forced to watch.  But the 2 news stories above don’t mention that part.

The poor kid is scared to death.  According to ABC he has no physical scars and he jumps at every little noise.

Nelson said that while William bears no physical scars from the incident, he’s having a hard time coping with what he saw.

“He’s terrified,” Nelson said of his only child. “Loud noises are just really disturbing to him.”

“When one of William’s young cousins knocked a toy truck down the stairs, he “just from the noise from that, he jumped a mile.”

This poor child.  I really feel sorry for him.  This 22-year-old guy who did this will probably never see the light of day and he will probably be murdered in prison because the other inmates don’t like people who harm children.  And if he did indeed rape this little boy they will indeed rape him before killing him.