Self-proclaimed as "California's best kept secret" the Kern River Valley is about as close to West Virginia as you're likely to find on the West Coast. Not only is this a beautiful wilderness with fishing, hiking, camping and other activities, but the towns around Lake Isabella are dirty little places full of trailer parks. We were thinking about spending the night here, but once we arrived and saw the towns and their sleazy hotels, we were a little scared for our lives and decided to just drive the rest of the way to Bakersfield (where we were scared for our lives for other reasons).
We did the drive down Kern River Canyon as the sun was setting and it was stunning...the brown hills reflecting off the water highlighted by the blue skies were beautiful.
Lake Isabella has an aqueduct that runs down the mountains to Bakersfield, which I assume provides drinking water for the city and/or irrigation of the surrounding farmland.
Recently I saw an episode of the old sitcom "Home Improvement" where Tim's wife takes him and the neighbors on a rafting trip to the Kern River Valley. Many other TV shows have been filmed here over the years including favorites of mine such as Airwolf, MacGyver, Bonanza, Lassie, America's Most Wanted, Days of Our Lives, and Gunsmoke!