Thursday, October 26, 2017

10/26 Tehachapi, CA, and Loop

Note: I changed the title of my blog slightly because almost no one was getting the John Steinbeck connection--too young, I guess.  My intention was to refer to the last book he wrote, describing his travels across America for a year with his wife's standard poodle, Charley.   

Tehachapi is a town at the top of the Tehachapi pass and is a major route from California to Las Vegas.  A lot of Californians drive past, but few stop, but I think this is a really nice little town for several reasons.  The first is that is has a really nice bakery!  The second is that it has just enough stores and restaurants, but not so many that it has traffic problems.  It also has a glider airport, with an attached campground where you have a great view of gliders taking off.  And, while it is surrounded by really hot deserts, it is a lot cooler up here.  And finally, it has the nearby Tehachapi Loop, which is a a historic railroad loop where trains gain altitude by circling around themselves and going through several tunnels and switchbacks.

The highway into Tehachapi also gains almost 4,000' in altitude and is scenic.  However, there was smoke coming in yesterday, so it was not quite as scenic as it usually is because some mountains are obscured.

So, this morning I headed out for the day to do some exploring and stop at the fantastic bakery.  Loaded up and stuffed some goodies in the freezer for next week.  Yum!

Fun to watch the gliders, but I did not get a chance to take photos of them taking off.

I got directions from the visitor's center and headed south of town to find a good place to take photos of the Tehachapi Loop. Narrow and winding road, but nice view of the highway below.

Here are a couple of plaques describing the construction.  (Please ignore the graffitti.)

Here is what the loop looks like. 

And here comes an Amtrack train!  Click the link for a YouTube video I made: 

The next train was a regular freight, but unfortunately it was not long enough for it to pass under itself as many do, and I was too lazy to wait longer.  Click in this link for a video of this train:

I got on the highway and headed back.  The next few photos should some of the tunnels the trains go through on the way to and after the loop.

Tomorrow I get up early and head for San Diego.


  1. Hello! I got your reference! I checked the book out of the library and read it a year or so ago, very interesting read. Thanks for the post, we usually just drive right by Tehachapi on the way to the desert from the Bay Area, so next time we will stop and take a look at the sights!

  2. Glad someone got the link to Steinbeck. I read the book when I was in high school and have wanted to travel like he did ever since. And if you go into Tehachapi, don't forget to stop at the bakery. They have a small cafe and serve sandwiches and soup, as well. Very nice little town. I am going back there in November and might take a glider ride!