Once again, what a great visit we had with my Aunt and Uncle in Rimrock. Always a treat to visit with as they love the desert as much as I do – such marvellous hosts! Its so nice to just take a few days of rest and relaxation on road trips, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than to stopping to visit good people along the way. We did go on a tour with them to Joshua Tree National Park and up to Key’s View. What a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley it was. We stayed for two nights, and I was a little sad to leave, but once again…the road was calling us.
We travelled North from Rimrock, to Barstow. There we headed west on the the Bakersfield/Barstow highway to continue our journey. Just a few km from Barstow we left the highway for a detour through Hinkley. Having enjoyed the movie, “Erin Brockovich” I HAD to stop and take a look at what big companies can get away with. Pretty devastating to say the least. Hinkley was a relatively small farming community in by the ’90’s. As the movie depicts, residents found out that their ground water was being contaminated with the cancer causing Chromium 6. PG&E had been “dumping” into unlined ponds since 1952. It was seeping into the water table for years. Although PG&E settled with the residence for over 3 million dollars, and have bought up over 300 properties, it is still an ongoing concern for those that live in the vicinity. Now, contaminated water is seeping into the lower levels of the water table.
It was very apparent that people left their homes and some belongings in a hurry. You could see drapes still hanging in some of the windows, toys in the yards. It was disturbing to see all of the homes and businesses that were abandon and boarded up due to the negligence of a huge company in contaminating the communities water sources. In 2013, reports indicated that the plume had expanded in length to 6 miles long and 4 miles wide. In 2015 more studies were performed and PG&E received another order to clean up and decrease the discharge of their chromium waste. At the time of 2015 report the plume had increased to 8 miles in length through the Hinkley and Harper Dry Lake Valleys. If you watch the Movie – don’t think its over. Lives were lost and ruined and are still being ruined today.
We got back onto the highway and heading west drove through Bakersfield and headed north on the I5. We got as far as Santa Nella and decided to call it a night. Not a bad day of travel – 382 Miles behind us, and the Pacific Coast tomorrow!