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* ... BIKE TREK: Reader Kimberly Thompson shared an inspiring story about her son Jacob and two of his adventure-loving friends. Turns out that the threesome completed an epic 3 1/2 year bike ride that began in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and ended in Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego. She said that's a distance of some 34,000 kilometers (roughly 20,400 miles) that took them through 14 countries, arriving last in Argentina on January 10. (check out his website here) Jacob graduated from Centennial High School in 2000 and UC Santa Cruz in 2005 with an MA in Education. He currently works as an independent studies teacher in Taft for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools as he "contemplates his next adventure." Check out their website at www.ridethespine.com for some videos of this truly epic adventure.
* ... RABOBANK: Had a chance the other day to meet Anker Fanoe, the new regional president of Rabobank. Fanoe replaced Michael Olague, who ended up in a similar position with Bank of the Sierra. Fanoe's wife and children are in Sacramento trying to sell their house and he's anxious to get them to the south valley. His first impression of Bakersfield: the people could not be nicer or more welcoming. I met him at the Rabobank Arena during a reception for sponsors of the upcoming Tour of California, a pro cycling race that will end its Stage Five with a sprint up the Panorama bluffs near Bakersfield College on May 20. The Dutch-based bank has long sponsored a pro cycling team and is one of the supporters of the California tour. It will be a good show.
* ... ART DEALS: If you're an art lover and believe in supporting the local arts you will enjoy "Art A Go-Go" over at the Bakersfield Museum of Art this Saturday. Here's the deal: local collectors have been donating art to the museum, which it in turn will sell to support local programs. Museum marketing director Beth Pandol says there are some terrific pieces for sale, some at bargain prices. This is a free event at the museum, and hats off to chair Cynthia Icardo and her crew for pulling all this together. Said Beth Pandol: "We have an amazing amount of art that has been donated. It's been a big surprise to see how much has come in. There's something for every taste and style. Paintings, prints, posters and lots of just nice, empty frames.
* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: This one comes from longtime journalist and Californian colleague Evan Jones: You know you're from Bakersfield "if your funeral is followed by a car wash." Ouch!