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It was a full back to school day for Eunice, so after a relaxed start to the day I set off for a leisurely drive to Bakersfield – the first part through hills, the second part through flat agriculturally developed land.

Maynard Moe of Bakersfield CSS had kindly arranged accommodation in the local Travel Lodge, within a few minutes drive of a restaurant where I would meet a number of members for a pre-meeting bite to eat, before another short drive to the hall.

With some 24 members in attendance this was probably the smallest CSS to date, but everyone was very friendly and appreciative of the talk. In the UK I once gave a presentation to six people in one of the member’s living room and that too was enjoyable!

Just as in England, there have been few questions after presentations, but this time I was asked why I had not mentioned the Tule Fog for which the area is famous. I had to admit my ignorance on the subject, but back at the hotel, Wikipedia soon provided the answers.

The three fog deserts featured in my program were all coastal deserts, around the dry tropics of Cancer and Capricorne, with a large and diverse selection of cacti and other succulent plants. The area around Bakersfield is also a desert but is inland and a good deal to the north of the tropics. Rather than coastal fog, the phenomenon here is radiation fog. I was surprised that Kernel County was indeed in a Desert, perhaps because it looks unusually green, but that is probably due to recent rains and irrigation of the agriculture that I saw either side of the 99.

I always think that a presentation is a waste of time if you don’t learn something new, I learn more as I go along, including that many attendants have been many times to South Africa and Namibia and have grown plants from this area much more than I have. Another, shorter trip to RSA is certainly on my wish list.

Maynard sent me another email with details about the local desert, with pictures of the Monvero dunes with named plants in flower that I’ll have to loo0k up to see if they classify as ‘succulent’. Thank you Maynard!

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