Oh! My trip today from LA to San Jose was pretty epic. Like I have posted earlier, this is my 9th FC and I have driven both the 5 and the 101 to get here. I think I may have even taken the 99 once. I wanted to try something different. If you take the 5, you usually cross over the mountains at Pacheco Pass. It's a twisty freeway loaded with trucks, so it can be a white-knuckle experience. I wanted to try something new. I saw a road that goes through the little "town" of Panoche. Let's see how that is! But wait! Just to the south Rand McNally shows "Asbestos Hazard Area" with a road leading from Coalinga to a little town named Idrea. Oooooo! My geo-bear senses started tingling! Natural asbestos usually means some really f*cked up geology! I love f*cked up geology! So I decided to try the route. It was an awesome adventure!
The road out of Coalinga was small and just kept getting smaller. There were a few places where I thought I heard banjos and I put on some lip balm just to be ready. I thought I saw a sign that said "Clear Creek Closed" which would suck because the road I wanted to take followed Clear Creek. What the sign meant was that the campground was closed. The road was open. And what a road! The area is a BLM off-road vehicle area. I guess they must assume you will be driving a 4x4 vehicle. The map shows that road as "not paved." Yeah. You might say that. At first it wasn't too bad, but it deteriorated into some pretty gnarly uphills and downhills. I really hated it when my anti-lock brakes kicked in as I was bouncing down a steep downgrade. The scenery, however, made it all worthwhile. Yes! The geology WAS extremely f*cked up! There were big deposits of serpentinite and I could just sense the pressures and temperatures that the rocks had endured. It certainly was 14 miles that I will not forget very soon!
Oh, I should mention a couple of other things. One, I passed a solar furnace just outside of Coalinga which I see is operated by Chevron. I was almost scared by the thing! It looked like the Eye of Sauron! Second, to continue with the "f*cked up geology" tour, the ghost town of Idria was the processing site for mercury which was mined in the hills nearby. No. I didn't get out and run around too much. I'm already madder than a hatter.
I kept thinking that tilt_longtail would have a great time exploring all of the old buildings there.