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Field Trip with Janet Westbrook: Wagons to Windmills

Matarango Museum– The Matarango Museum will host a field trip with Janet Westbrook: Wagons to Windmills – History in Kern County Saturday, April 29.

  Wagon roads to Space ships;  Isabella town, Walker Basin, Tehachapi Loop, windmills, to Mojave, in search of foothill flowers and lovely scenery with two centuries of history.

   8:00 a.m., meet at the Museum for check-in; participants must sign a liability waiver. Car caravan will be organized, and carpools will be encouraged based on when you want to be home and dinner plans.  Kids and dogs are OK.

   $25 for members ($40 for two adult members), $30 for nonmembers ($50 for two adults). Family members encouraged (especially well-behaved dogs and kids).

   Purchase tickets in the museum store or at

   You will need a full gas tank, a car, and tires in good running order. 4×4 is unnecessary; we’ll be on narrow (as in wagon) but paved backcountry roads all day.

The usual dress code for field trips applies a hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, water, a camera, and binoculars.   Bring water, snacks, and a picnic lunch – a long day! Bring a folding chair if the tables are unavailable – we’ll do lunch in 2 parts – Havilah and Keene.

   Hop onto wagon roads in Ridgecrest, and pick up the Walker Pass connection to the South Fork Valley to Isabella town and Bodfish. -Add horses and head up the hill on the old stage road to Havilah, Kern County’s first County Seat, during the gold rush at Keysville and Havilah (part 1 lunch, pit stop, Museums). Horses are rested, so into the lovely Walker Basin up and over the hill. Will loop the Rankin Ranch and visit the old Rankin Cemetery and dude ranch (great beef for sale at our Saturday Market, or order online);  down “Lions Grade” to Caliente, the main stage and wagon road to Keysville/LA—trains across the Sierra.  Up Hwy 58 to Keene; (part 2 lunch, pit stop), up “old Tehachapi road” to the famous “Tehachapi railroad loop” overlook- wait for trains;  to the back side of Tehachapi apple orchards; across to the roads that go through the windmills and down the old road in Oak Creek Canyon and new huge windmills eventually to Mojave where the space plane is being built.  About 200 miles of driving, all paved if narrow, roads.

We could have dinner in Mojave or zoom back to Ridgecrest., for an hour.  Should be wildflowers in Walker Basin and at “the loop.”  The foothills are green and gorgeous.

   Lots of history- gold mines, trains, wagon roads, cowboys, cemeteries, wind energy, space planes.  And it’ll be green and colorful.  Excellent, well-kept Kern Co. is a secret close to home.