Author photo

By Mel Makaw
contributing writer 

Another day at home

Day Trippin' with Mel


September 2, 2023

Mel Makaw.

Many businesses is Randsburg are Hopen for business.

It happened again with all the crazy weather we've been having. The one weekend I had free to take a day trip is the weekend we endured tropical storm Hilary. Perhaps if I'd had a rowboat, I could have gone somewhere.

Or not – it was really raining all weekend! I mean hard! Pouring buckets! And on top of that, we had an earthquake! Nothing says, "stay home!" quite like the weather we had that weekend.

So, I enjoyed the time sitting in my house, listening to the rain on my roof, and periodically checking the river flowing by the front of my house. Fortunately, that river never got into my house but kept flowing by and soaking in soon enough. I was luckier than some in town.

As for out of town, I've read that one of my favorite places to escape to – Randsburg – is one of those places that was not so lucky. Actually, the town seems to be fine but the road to it – the most direct road from Tehachapi – has been washed out and will take months to repair.

The good news is that there are alternate routes to get to the little "living ghost town" in the mountains. One way is to go up the 14 toward Ridgecrest and take the 395 east to the Randsburg turn off just before Johannesburg. The other way is to take the 58 to Four Corners (Kramer Jct.) and take the 395 west to the Randsburg turn off just past Johannesburg.

If you go there either way, you might as well take a little time in Johannesburg to visit the very old cemetery there, too. It's filled with old and more recent grave sites as befits a desert cemetery. If you like old cemeteries, this is one you shouldn't miss.

While I didn't get to Randsburg as recently as I'd hoped, I know I will get there again soon enough. I'd also thought to visit one of the museums of art in the area, either the Bakersfield Museum of Art in Bakersfield, or the Museum of Art History in Lancaster, but I found out they are both in the middle of changing exhibits, so it's best that I save those places for later. Nothing like a new art exhibit to spark the old creative juices.

I've also thought to go to some places further out, but sometimes time is an issue. I'd love to get back to Paradise Cove for some lunch and some ocean, and I'd love to stop in Topanga and visit some little local shops. Fillmore is on my list, too, as is Sequoia National Park. And so many other places. Oh, let's face it, I'll run out of time before I visit all the places I want to!

Mel Makaw.

Gravesites in the Johannesburg Cemetery are very creative and personal.

I'm curious is you have a favorite place to day trip? If so, I'd love to hear your suggestions, and if I can work them in, I'll do it. I love getting away for the day and seeing new sights and hearing new sounds and sometimes smelling new smells, and I love hearing about other people's favorite places.

Meanwhile, I also love having an unexpected stay-at-home day – or weekend – where I can just read and watch movies and generally relax, like I had thanks to storm Hilary.

Now I'm all rested up and ready to go again. Wherever I go, I'll tell you all about it next issue.

© 2023 Mel Makaw. Mel, Tehachapi writer/photographer and avid day tripper – who also welcomes an occasional stay-at-home day – welcomes your questions, comments, and suggestions at


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