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Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

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San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

This seemed like the best place to post this, since there aren't any other real towns for miles.

Is Parkfield worth seeing? I go through the area on 101 or 198 or 5 a few times a year but have never taken the time to make the detour to Parkfield. There's a town website that doesn't seem to be updated much, and the Parkfield Inn page has been "under construction" for something like two years. Can the public see any of the earthquake monitoring activity or equipment?

I'm thinking of going to see Carrizo Plains, allowing time to revisit New Idria, the quicksilver mining town that I saw once back in the 1970's or so. So Parkfield would be a nice side trip if it's worth the time and energy.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

I happened to turn on "Bay Area Backroads" last week in the middle of a segment on the San Andreas Fault. They were showing Parkfield and the V6 Ranch, a working cattle ranch that welcomes visitors. If they talked much about the earthquake research, or whether the public can see any of it, I missed it.

I know Parkfield has an inn, but the website may never be completed. And there is a cafe. Has anyone spent any time in Parkfield that can say whether it is worth a stop? It wouldn't be a destination, but a detour on some other trip.

San Leandro...
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2. Re: Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

Parkfield is a cool little place. There really isn't much to it - a cafe across the street from a park with the coolest fountain you've ever seen. The fountain is made up of various pipes and irrigation equipment. Try to count how many valves are there. And of course it's the earthquake capital of the world. You drive right over the fault (the river) as you approach town. The drive to Parkfield is scenic, no matter how you get there. I'd go in the spring before the hills turn brown. I've visited twice and still I'd go back.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

Well, I finally got there. I made it a side trip on my recent vacation. On the way in, I saw all kinds of wildlife as well as domestic livestock (including one ranch where llamas were corralled with the cattle).

There is a sign as you enter from the west: "Parkfield - Entering North American Plate." The other side says: "Parkfield - Entering Pacific Plate." There's probably no sign like it anywhere else on earth. That fountain is also one of a kind.

According to the population sign there are 18 residents, and I counted 19 mailboxes on the street in front of the cafe (the nearest post office seems to be 25 miles away in San Miguel). The only activity I saw in downtown Parkfield was renovation work at the cafe. The Geological Survey buildings seemed quiet, but no doubt the instruments inside are measuring every little breath Mother Nature takes.

It's an interesting little hamlet.

4. Re: Parkfield - Worth Seeing?

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