Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taft, California

We journeyed southeast out of Bakersfield to Taft.  Our first stop was the West Kern County Oil Museum.  We got a museum tour with Mary and an outside tour with Esther.  Both ladies were full of knowledge and able to answer any question.  They had a lot of information about Taft and the oil business.  In the area are hundreds or thousands of oil derricks pumping out the heavy crude oil.  We learned about the workers, the housing, and the equipment.  We learned that heavy crude is so thick, that the pipes are perforated.They pump the oil to the surface in pipes that have holes perforated i9n them.  The thicker the crude, the bigger the holes.  We went to an oil field just outside of town to see the derricks and stopped back in town for a picnic lunch.  We also got the trucked washed by a local church group.  Our last stop was at the Tule Lake Elk Reserve, to see a large herd of elk, but, it was hot, so the elk were all out of site under trees or in the marsh areas.
Here are some Taft and Kern County facts.  The Yokut Indians found the asphalt pit and used the asphalt to seal the bottom of their straw baskets.  They even trade the asphalt to other tribes.  In 1863 the first area settlers found the pit and the oil industry began.  In 1910 a gusher blew and could not be capped.  It gushed oil at the rate of 90,000 barrels a day for 544 days. (18 months) until it clogged itself closed. That is more oil spilled than in the 2009 Gulf oil spill or the Exxon Valdez spill!  By 1920 the were 7,000 oil rigs in and around Taft.



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