The nine holes of Rancho Sierra Golf Course dot across the arid landscape northeast of Lancaster, forming an emerald oasis among the vast, flat expanse. Once upon the terrain, players send their golf balls hurling down wide fairways and tumbling over smooth greens en route to vanquishing the 2,452-yard course. With three lakes, several creeks, and one Super Soaker–wielding caddy on its grounds, water comes into play on seven of the nine holes. Players can traverse the facility’s peaceful confines year-round, either to play a round or polish their skills on the driving range.
Course at a Glance: * Nine-hole, par-35 course * Total length of 2,252 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 63.4 from the back tees * Course slope of 100 from the back tees * One set of tees per hole * Scorecard
Thanks to Southern California's dry summer days and cool nights, the grapes around Antelope Valley Winery enjoy a long growing season with ideal temperatures and conditions. This translates into a variety of wines that run the gamut from robust reds to sweet sparkling concoctions perfect for toasting raisins who escaped the press. And although wine is Antelope Valley Winery's main focus, it's not their only one. In addition, they sell grass-fed buffalo meat hailed for its low-cholesterol goodness, and run a farmers' market from May through November, where shoppers can pick up exotic meats, organic juice, and locally-made goat cheese.
Judas Priest, the influential English rock band that helped define heavy-metal culture, crescendos a globetrotting career on its farewell Epitaph tour. After nearly four decades of shaking Hades's chandeliers with defibrillating beats, jackhammer guitars, and vocals that earn restraining orders from glass, the crew of Judas Priest is revving through one last career-encompassing victory lap, leaving no head unbanged before hanging up its chaps. Singer Rob Halford hits and holds nearly unattainable notes in anthems that may include "Breaking the Law," "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," or "Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Gracing the stage in the open air of the amphitheater, legendary ax-grinder Zakk Wylde leads Black Label Society through a parade of questionable lullabies, and the boisterous lads of Thin Lizzy pump out hits that encourage inter-office dating at classic-rock stations.
In 1868, a massive flood rolled down the Sierra Nevada Mountains, carrying tree after uprooted tree in its wake. Once the waters receded, those trees and the very confused squirrels hiding in them covered the Kern River valley. That's right where Thomas Barnes found them. So he cut them into logs and built a cabin from the ground up, then moved in with his wife and seven children. Today, that same cabin stands as one of the buildings within Kern County Museum's Pioneer Village.
The structures here are relics of several different times and places. Some came from old farms in the area, while others once stood on the main streets of towns?such as the Beale Memorial Clock Tower from old Bakersfield. While their original purposes have long since passed, the buildings still spring to life each time a visitor passes through. It's easy to imagine a blacksmith at work at the Calloway Ranch in the late 1800s, or the faithful tellers who saw The Kern Valley Bank through the Great Depression.
A different view of Kern County's history takes center stage inside the museum's other permanent attraction, Black Gold: The Oil Experience. Here, 9,640 square feet of exhibit space reveal how oil forms deep within the earth, as well as methods for its discovery and production. Other displays profile the workers and historical events that ultimately led to Kern County claiming 64% of California?s oil production.
The rapids rock beneath the raft, pummeling the vessel like a boxer delivering uppercuts to a heavy bag. After successfully navigating the foamy surges, the paddlers hit an abrupt drop that tosses one adventurer out of the rear of the raft. He resurfaces, bobs in the water, and then presents a thumbs up, inciting cheers and laughter from his fellow rafters.
The guides at River's End Rafting & Adventure Company pride themselves on delivering fun and safe adrenaline-pumping adventures like these. Based about 15 minutes from downtown Bakersfield, the crew transports rafters to the mouth of Kern Canyon, then guides paddlers through Class II¬–III rapids before the river yawns into Lake Ming. In addition to whitewater rafting, the team at River's End also coordinates outings including kayaking, rock climbing, and paragliding over Ant Hill, a 100-foot-high skyscraper of luxury ant condos.
Metro BMX's off-road dirt track is composed of curves, hills, jumps, and landings. Just as importantly, it's full of biking and motorcross enthusiasts of all levels ready to race, ride, teach, and learn. Count Kris Mulhause among them; Kris, a 27-year veteran, 10-time state BMX champion, and 2007 National Cruiser champion, operates the track and holds lessons for riders of all levels. On top of his racing experience, Kris holds a bachelor's in kinesiology and teaching credentials in physical education. At Metro BMX he opens the track to students, teaching them starting-gate balancing, turn techniques, and why it's not cool to make engine sounds with your mouth when you're on a bike. Metro BMX is a family-friendly track that invites adults and kids alike to spend time riding, watching, or even hosting a birthday party.?