Tule fog can happen any time damp ground and dry warm air meet and in the Central Valley of California and sometimes even down to near Tehachapi on Hwy 58 but mainly on Hwy I-5 through Bakersfield. While taking a short getaway to Tehachipi, I was visiting the vineyards in Cummings Valley just outside downtown Temecula. Looking out over the valley and in the distance was what looked like smoke from a fire. No way. It was indeed what is called Tule Fog.
What is Tule fog? I quote the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration answer: "A thick ground fog that settles in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley areas of the California Central Valley. Tule fog forms during the mid fall,winter to early spring after the first significant rainfall. This phenomenon is named after the tule grass wetlands of the Central Valley. Tule fog can extend from Bakersfield to Chico. Accidents caused by the tule fog are the leading cause of weather-related deaths in California; visibility is usually less than an eighth of a mile (about 600 feet or 183–200 m), but can be less than 10 feet (3 m).">
So, if you are driving in the Central Valley areas, even on Hwy 58 from Tehachapi to Bakersfield, be aware that the smoke you think you see ahead is not smoke and not even low clouds but Tule Fog. It can grow dense in a matter of seconds so be very careful if you have to drive in this condition.
We have a wonderful hurd of Elk and deer that are growing by leaps and bounds, but "THEY ARE PROTECTED" So don't come here looking to hunt them or you will be the hunted. They roam at dusk and just before sunrise, so caution is advise for them if you venture more towards Bear Valley or Stallion Springs. They are huge and very "Wild"! So be my guess if you think you can approach one, because we will be scrapping you off the pavement. Please drive slow and be alert!!
If you plan to go hiking anywhere in the mountains be aware of poisonous snakes. It is a bad season for them if we happen to have a lot of rain during the year. Found this one in my backyard! Yikes!!
They love to rest and sleep where it is cool like rocks, trees, logs and anything they can crawl under. At night you need to be careful because that is when they do come out to find cool quarters.
They will only strike if they think they are threaten. "Kind of like you leave me alone, I will leave you alone!"
Yet, we have come across five so far.....yikes! The babies are just as poisonous!
Please keep a eye for stray catttle too while driving around Tehachapi or on Highway 58. They occasionally push their way through the fences to get to the grass on the other side.
Tehachapi still proudly raises cattle and it is very much of our past and future as the trains.
Sheep are still used to graze fields that need to be pruned the old fashion way to fight against brush fires.
The long drives were handled by the majordomo and four or five vaqueros. They started from San Diego when the winter grass reached maturity, and moved from ten to fifteen miles a day along the mission road through Soledad Valley, back of Del Mar, and across Rancho Santa Fe and through to Mission San Luis Rey, and then to San Gabriel. There, they left the mission trail and were taken across Tehachapi Mountains into the San Joaquin Valley. At San Jose and at Sacramento, or along the shores of San Francisco Bay, the cattle were fattened and then sold to supply the demands of the gold market.
During the winter you may need snow chains due to Snow and/or ice. There is also no danger of trains running you over and HYW 58 through town does not wind up and down steep hills as another tourist wrote.