Waiting For The Big One

Mike Harmon sent me an email message a few days before. He was thinking about riding up to Parkfield, California and back in a single day. He said that Parkfield was sited on the San Andreas Fault. It would be approximately 550 miles round-trip, which is a good haul for a day and about the number of miles I’d shoot for if I was going on a really long, multi-day ride.

I thought it was a somewhat thin excuse for a ride destination, but since no excuse is ever really needed for a ride, I told him to count me in. I’d never been to Parkfield, so that was an added attraction. I’ve gone on many rides with less specific destinations, rides that turned out to be quite good.

We met at Chaparral Motorsports in San Bernardino at 6:00 am, rode up the Cajon Pass between the Angeles and San Bernardino Mountains on I-15, then stopped at Cajon Junction to top off our gasoline tanks (keep in mind that though Cajon Junction, the place where I-15 and Route 138 cross, is a place many mapping systems don’t have it in their databases).

Overall, the ride was a very good one. We hit somewhat severe, cold side and head winds on the 14 freeway and the stretch of Route 138 that terminates in Gorman and it took my hands twenty minutes to thaw out, but the rest of the ride was quite good, since it was not too cold or too hot. The stops at the James Dean Memorial Junction and Parkfield were the big highlights for me. When I parked the Road Star in the garage at 8:00 pm, the trip meter read 556 miles, which is a good long stretch for a single day’s ride.

Sitting on the San Andreas Fault, the dividing line between the North American and Pacific Plates, Parkfield, California is a town waiting for the “Big One”. The town motto is “Be here when it happens.” The town has a population of 18 and is interesting only because it sits on the famous fault line, the divide between the Pacific and North American plates. I crossed between the two geological plates multiple times before, but never knowingly.

The photos shown here were all made with my M 4/3 camera. I was also carrying an SLR, but the film is not yet developed.