Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jesus is Lord of Coalinga - California Dreamin' Part V

Continuing on with my California tour, I left Manteca, the town of Lard, and headed south on Interstate 5, the aorta of California. My destination was Paso Robles. In order to get there I chose to take the long road. The long road went through Coalinga. I'd grown up and lived in California most of my life and somehow avoided Coalinga, or more likely it avoided me.

The road from I-5 to Coalinga passes through a low range of hills peppered with oil well pump jacks, resembling overgrown grasshoppers, similar to their smaller, lowly cousins that rattle up and away in advance of any hiker strolling through these hills willing to chance rattlesnakes and a sockful of foxtails.

Coalinga is actually set in a beautiful valley of pasture, hayfields, and a gravel pit. The town itself is rather bland and on this warm Wednesday afternoon it was unhurried and quiet. I was in need of a big latte and found a local coffee spot just off the main street in what could oxymoronically be called the shopping district. Three teens, a boy and two girls, were sitting around chatting. One of the girls actually worked there and whipped up a 20 ouncer for me. The inside had a smattering of decorative Christian paraphenalia and slogans. I left a nice tip and hit the road.

As a side note, Coalinga was struck by a major earthquake in 1983 that destroyed 800 homes in the town. The quake was felt over a wide area, as far away as Los Angeles and western Nevada.

USGS - Coalinga Earthquake
SeismoWatch - Coalinga Earthquake

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