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Need advice ASAP

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posts: 32
reviews: 11
Need advice ASAP

I've planned numerous trips, but this is my biggest challenge yet! My husband and I were supposed to take 50 youth to a place in California to work on a farm for a week. Due to a virus outbreak that we JUST found out about, the Health Dept. is recommending that the farm shut down for the next 7 days to sanitize everything. We fly out in less than 24 hours and suddenly need to find somewhere to serve near Bakersfield for the week. Disaster relief, cleaning, etc.?? (We think we already found a free place to stay in Bakersfield.)

On top of that, the charter bus company needs our revised itinerary in the next couple of hours. We hired a bus to take us from LAX Saturday night up to our hotel near Bakersfield. On Sunday we were going to head up to Sequoia before being dropped off at the nearby farm, but now we need to come up with a new activity that's not quite so far away.

The tricky part is that we can only have the bus for a 6-hour activity or the driver will be over his hours. It's a 56 passenger bus, too, so the bus can't always go on the shorter, hilly routes. Everywhere we're looking seems to be too far for the amount of time we have. We also need to find a cheap activity to do mid-week for a day, since we'll have a bus for that day, too. (Yup, we're scrambling, let me tell ya!)

Next weekend we have non-refundable hotel and bus reservations in San Diego, chartered trolleys, etc. so backing out on the trip would mean that the kids lose a wad of cash. We're in a tough spot. Anyway, if anyone likes a good challenge and has any thoughts on ANY of this, I'd be so grateful!

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,381
reviews: 3
1. Re: Need advice ASAP

You have a true conundrum on your hands. Not all that much to do around Bakersfield. I suppose you could head out to Hart Park via Alfred Harrell Highway, but I'm not sure that Hart Park is a safe environment these days. If CALM is still open, that might be a good place to go, but you might want to contact them ahead of time to see if they can accommodate a group the size of yours. http://calmzoo.org/

Perhaps a drive up to the Tehachapi Mountains for a few hours? Not much to do up there except maybe watch for sail planes. Too early for the apple harvest.

Not sure if Pioneer Village is still open, but that would provide a look into some of the local history.

IF you have a bus for a whole day, perhaps a drive over to Pismo Beach for some fun at the beach? It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bakersfield.

As far as "serving" somewhere, not sure what to recommend. There hasn't been any recent disasters requiring volunteer aid.

Hopefully someone who currently lives in or near Bakersfield will see this post and give you some viable ideas.

Edited: 7:19 pm, June 14, 2013
posts: 32
reviews: 11
2. Re: Need advice ASAP

Thanks so much for your reply, Kibblesmom. I appreciate your sympathetic ear. :) For volunteering, I had hoped someone might need help with clean-up in an area affected by wildfire, but it seems pretty hard to find a volunteer connection at the last minute. (And it's even harder to pack my suitcase tonight when I don't know what I'm going to be doing!)

Pismo Beach sounds like a nice idea for a day trip. Many of these kids have never seen the ocean. Do you know if it would be 2 1/2 hours by BUS, or would it take longer? I'm not sure how mountainous that route is.

I see that you're a destination expert for Pismo Beach. Could you possibly give me a few tips on the area? (A good place for the bus to park, cheap eating places, etc.) Thanks!

Dublin, California
posts: 10,946
reviews: 29
3. Re: Need advice ASAP

How about seeing if the Sierra Club has any voluntary action going on:

http://kernkaweah.sierraclub.org/index.html. Email their chair: chair at kernkaweah.sierraclub.org

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,381
reviews: 3
4. Re: Need advice ASAP

".....Do you know if it would be 2 1/2 hours by BUS, or would it take longer? I'm not sure how mountainous that route is."....


It might take a little longer by bus, but not by much. I wouldn't characterize the drive as "mountainous", although there are a few elevated passes en route. Nothing a bus couldn't handle. This would be via Highway 166.

A good place to park the bus would be in front of Northbeach Campground along Dolliver Street, which is Business Highway 1, and then walk along the pedestrian path down to the beach near the pier and town, or walk through the campground and over the dunes to reach the beach.

Cheap places to eat: Well, there's McDonald's and Taco Bell here. Hard to beat for cheap eats. For local fare, Splash Cafe is world famous for clam chowder, but they also offer sandwiches, salads, etc. You can find a better burger at In-N-Out in Arroyo Grande on Branch Street (Oak Park Blvd exit coming from the south, turn right. Will be on the left at the crest of the hill. There's a Walmart behind it).

Another beach option is Morro Bay. From Bakersfield you would take Highway 46 west to Paso Robles, south on Highway 101 to Highway 41 toward Morro Bay. Highway 41 ends in Morro Bay at Highway 1. There's a wide open area next to Morro Rock where you can park the bus with the beach right in front of you.

IF you decide to have a beach day, do be sure to inform the kids of the dangers of the surf. Rip tides are a common occurrence and can wash a person out to sea if they don't know how to swim out of it. The beaches here are more about splashing in the surf, playing in the sand or just chilling.

Fresno, California
posts: 952
5. Re: Need advice ASAP

Ouch, you are scrambling. With the weekend starting it makes it more difficult too.

In terms of volunteering let me think. You just missed the Kern River Cleanup last weekend in the National Forest above Bakersfield. But they also list other contacts for other opportunities like trail work or cleanups by various volunteer groups in that area at this link:


I'll see what else I can remember but wanted to get that link posted right away for you.

posts: 32
reviews: 11
6. Re: Need advice ASAP

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I'll pass along the info to my hubby. For now, I'd better get packed. We've got a plane to catch!

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
posts: 17,821
reviews: 36
7. Re: Need advice ASAP

Any food collection places in the area that may need help packing boxes/bags for those in need? Maybe just pick up trash around schools, parks etc, talk to Bakersfield City and school district. Local churches may also be a resource, they may have members (especially elderly or handicapped) that need chores, maintenance etc. Finally local Habitat for Humanity

posts: 32
reviews: 11
8. Re: Need advice ASAP

More great ideas! There's always a need for help with picking up litter, so that's a good thought. When we return, I'll try to remember to post how our trip went and how we served. :)

Chula Vista...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 2,576
reviews: 101
9. Re: Need advice ASAP

You could call the Keep Bakersfield Beautiful office:


Or check these opportunities out:



Edited: 1:21 pm, June 15, 2013
Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 35,815
reviews: 758
10. Re: Need advice ASAP

Hwy 166 is perfectly fine for large buses.