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Sunday, April 3, 2011

DAY 80: CORCORAN, CALIFORNIA & SOUTH

Please say HELLO to Gloria and Martin. During my third leg of the day, they were my first offer of a ride. Asked for 3 miles.

I opened the back door of their 4-door Pickup and Gloria shouts...I SAW YOU ON TV...yes, you may have, as I handed her our SAM & ME Card....Yes...Martin, look, it is them.


Could not help but sit back and let them go on. Conversation led to more conversation and before you know it, we were 7 miles down the road...


Getting out...you like your photographs on my Blog...Oh, yes yes...so photo session ensued.

Another moment when time stops. Thank you Gloria. Thank you, Martin.


Took me 1.5 hours to hike back to SPIA. We then moved South on Hwy 43 to Deer Creek, where we parked alongside the highway, backed up to the river, with a State Game Preserve on out left side...what fun to watch the Cotto Tails chase each other...one little guy repeatedly jumped straight up at least 3 feet over the other fellow chasing him...then the ground squirrels started chasing each other. I kept a sharp lookout for Mother Hawk who is never far away.



Martin & Me.




CORCORAN, CALIFORNIA Grain Elevator from the Police Station Parking Lot.


Spent a lot time with the Police in CORCORAN today.




CORCORAN Police Station.



Sargeant John Harris and Officer Trent Augustus with their shiny new Patrol Car.


I was driven all over town in that machine today. Sargeant Harris spent a good part of the day showing me the sights and helping me find things for SPIA...like a place to dump yuckie water...where to get clean drinking water...and the two of these wonderful guys sat down and shared Sunday Brunch with me...Thank you my friends...you made it a memorable day for me.


Sargeant Harris did some research on CORCORAN for me: I quote from his printout:


Hobart Johnstone Whitley, born October 7, 1847 in Torondo, Canada, took the lead in building the city of Corcoran, California. He purchased 32,000 acres (130 km 2) to start the development and moved a member of his real estate firm. J.W. Guiberson, to the area. HJ named all the city streets Avenues. The main street of the community is named in his honor. A visit to the area in 1905, one would have seen a blacksmith shop, small store, scattered homes, and a lush, untapped vista with herds of grazing wild hogs, horses and steers.



Meet "The Bug", as I found her parked in the CORCORAN, CALIFORNIA, Police Station Parking Lot.



A few days ago I was on my cell with my dear friend, Dr. Les Blackwell in Bellingham...you know, Les, I said as I walked along the absolutely flat San Joaquin Valley...this valley looks very much to me to be the bottom of a former Sea Bed. We discussed the possibilities.



Sargeant Harris produced a second historic document...a bit lengthy, but - to me - very exiting reading (as it parallels what Russia has recently done to a once vast lake), and completes my discussion with Les...I quote:


TULARE LAKE once supported vast populations of deer, elk, antelope, grizzley bear, migratory waterfowl and aquatic species (1) During wet years the rivers feeding into the lake were the terminus of the wentern hemisphere's southernmost chinook salmon run (2).


The Yokkut people built Reed boats and fished in this lake in their homeland for centuries, until the invasion and settlement by the Spanish and American pioneers. Robert F. Heizer and Albert Bl Elsasser in 1980, suggested that the Yokut had once numbered about 70,000. They are of the highest regional population densities in pre-contact North America. Even well after California beacame a state Tulare Lake and its large marshes remained an important fishery. in 1888, in one three-month period, 73,500 pounds of fish were shipped through Hanford to San Francisco. It ws also the source of a regional favorite, Western pond turtles, which were relished as Terrapin soup in San Francisco and elsewhere. It was also a significant stop for hundreds of thousands of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. Tulare Lake was written about by Mark Twain.


Once the largest freshwater lake west of the Great Lakes, in 1849, the lake measured 570 sq miles and in 1879 690 sq. miles, as its size fluctuated due to varying levels of rainfall and snowfall. According to government surveys, the highest water on record reached 220 feet above sea level (4) At that elevation the lake overtopped the natural "spillway" (located five miles west of the current community of Halls Corner on state route 41) and flowed northward into the sea - portion deleted -. However, due to water diversions on its feeder rivers, by the early 20th century the lake had disappeared.


The expression "out in the tulies" referring to the sedge growing 3- 10 ft tall that lined the lakeshore, is still common in the dialect of old California families and means "beyond far away."


- Portion omitted - The lake bed is now a shallow basin of fertile soil, within the Central Valley of California, the most productive agricultural region of the United States. After a century of irrigation, however, Soil salination is becoming a concern.


End of quote.



War Memorial Park, CORCORAN, CALIFORNIA.



CORCORAN Park Town Clock.



AMTRACK Commuter trains stop in CORCORAN, CALIFORNIA.



A lull between the busy comings and goings of Commuter and Freight Trains...one about every 20 minutes all day and most of the night.


Last night SPIA was parked within 200 feet of the RR tracks. Most uncomfortable to have heaving roaring diesel engines roaring through my bedroom all night.



RR Crossing "STOP" Signal.


And you better stop...trains pass through CORCORAN about 50 miles per hour (except for the Communter, which stops).





Nearby "Tule River"


A few weeks ago I was discussing the Elk herds in Oregon and upper California. Mention was made of another large Elk herd down near BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA, The TULE ELK. After reading Sargeant Harris' historic paper about Tulare Lake with it's herds of Elk, and today crossing over the Tule River...things are starting to come together for my walk down the San Joaquin Valley.



A small tractor tilling the soil OUTSIDE the field - and along the Highway right of way.



The interior of the Tractor Cab.



This implement consists of rows of steel "tines" which dig furrows of hardened dirt. They are followed by a spinning tubular "Pipe" studded with spikes which grind up the remaining dirt clods into fine soil...seen along nearly ALL properties of crops.



A field of freshly mowed Alfalfa. A main crop for cows and horses feed.



The alfalfa field cut and drying in the sun. It will be soon be gathered up and baled or rolled.


One often sees the finished bales in big stacks of farmer's fields and transported in 18-wheelers along the highways.



A water canal with an out-of-use water control dam.



In the far distance is the CORCORAN California State Prison. Locals are quite proud that their most recent gust of honor is Charles MANSON, recently moved from TACOMA, WASHINGTON.


DAILY REPORT: Walked 24 miles today with only ride...from Gloria & Martin: Count 18 miles.


SEE YOUR IMPACE.ORG: Credit 18 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.36 for the day.



In the morning, I will walk back North on Highway 43 for 4 miles and return to SPIA. We will then walk the remaining 16 miles South to the town of WASCO, CALIFORNIA, our destination for tomorrow evening.

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