NewsCovering Kern County


Thousands flock to the desert of California City for an unconventional Thanksgiving weekend

Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 21:18:32-05

The deserts of California City are usually pretty quiet but on Thanksgiving weekend, thousands come out to go off-roading.


John and Bunnie Kegley have been coming out for about 10 years.


The land that was once a promising masterplan community, now empty dirt streets perfect for off-roading.


“Houses were never built. Those streets still exist,” California City Police Chief Eric Hurtado said. “They are dirt now. So now you see the visitors bring in their motorhomes and RVs and park on those old roads and cul-de-sacs and camping for the week.”


The city prepared for almost 15,000 people to camp in the desert there this holiday weekend.


“Friends invite you out and we all get in a big get together and come out if you can make it and low and behold here we are,” John Kegley, a resident of Little Rock, California, said,


John is part of a group of over 100 people who come out and meet here in the desert – John’s group was started by Berry Hildevrand over two decades ago.


 “This is the only thing we know on Thanksgiving this is it,” Berry said. “I don’t tell anybody, we don’t e-mail, they know to come here Thanksgiving and that’s how it works.”


John said he will continue the tradition by coming back each year.


“It’s just to get away from everything and let go,” he said.