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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Drive Home from San Diego

Purple Owl's Clover

It's not often that I climb out of bed earlier than the first sparrow's fart, but to avoid Los Angeles traffic, I was up and on the road from San Diego at 4:15 AM.

I was over the Grapevine and into the Central Valley after 3 hours and decided to take Hwy 5 north with a stop at Kern National Wildlife Refuge. As I drove toward the refuge I decided to stop and admire the roadside wildflowers. I had my iPhone so I put it to good use, snapping a shot or two with its camera app.

My camcorder was on hand, and I spied interesting blue flowers on the far side of the meadow. Binoculars and camcorder in hand I headed off for a look.

WHOOPS! My foot shot out from under me and I was lying in a puddle of mud. It happened so fast I was stunned - where the HELL did the mud come from? I hadn't noticed it before. I 'saved' my camcorder by tossing it over onto a dry patch, then tried standing. My hands kept slipping out from under me - the mud was as slippery as a pot full of snot.

Slip, slip, slip! Every time I tried standing my foot would slip, every time I tried creeping forward, my hands would slip. GAK! I was trapped. I had my binoculars in my hand, and they were already coated with mud. I put both hands on the binocs and used them as a sort of anchor to inch my way across the snot and over to where I could get my feet under me and stand without sliding.

In the center - the Evil Pot full of Snot

Once I was back on my feet, I rescued the camcorder and surveyed myself - I was coated with mud, head to toe. Oh well! Nothing for it but to open the back of my Honda and strip to my skivies. There are times when being in the middle of nowhere is a bonus. Soon I was in fresh clothes, glaring mournfully at my mud coated binoculars. I was headed up the road for the refuge headquarters.

Kern National Wildlife Refuge

Approaching the refuge headquarters

I marched into the HQ & was greeted by a volunteer lady.

"Can I help you?"

"Can I wash these binoculars with a hose?", I asked, holding up a lumpy brown object, inside of which were my binoculars.

The lady was a gem, leading me to a sink where I washed the mud off my binocs.

She then tore up the front office until she found my second request of her - a holy grail - the official stamp of the Kern Refuge, for my Blue Goose Passport stamp. Believe it or not, it is my first refuge stamp for California. I have stamps from probably 6 or 7 other states, but not my own resident state.

Ok, might be corny, but I love my refuge stamps

I only spent about an hour touring the refuge before I left and headed home to Fair Oaks. The only refuge photo I got worth mentioning, and I assure you it is a CRAP photo, is of this Great-tailed Grackle. It was far away and it is only 2 pixels, taken with my mud soaked camcorder. Oh well!

Great-tailed Grackle

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