My name is Michael F Ballard. I am 38 years old. I lived in the Santa Clarita area from 1978 to 2005. The area changed greatly during that period. I saw roads go from a quiet two lanes to a busy six lane thoroughfares. I saw onion fields turned into a shopping mall. Whole hills were torn down and dispersed as fill somewhere else. The population more than doubled as well. The original goal of this site was to expand the knowledge of the people in the hopes that it may help to save some of the past. I still hold onto that goal today, though the focus of the site has changed somewhat. I have always striven to publish only the best data and information on this site. Education is important, as it should be. After all, to know the past is to know the future.
I have been studying geology for most of my life. It started when I was in kindergarten picking up rocks in the playground at Mitchell Elementary. I wanted to know more about it. Where did it come from? How was it made? The rocks that intrigued me the most were small flow-banded rhyolite clasts that came out of the Mint Canyon Formation, the rock formation around Mitchell Elementary in Santa Clarita, CA. Through the years, I studied these rocks and others, eventually trying to find the source of these rhyolites. I searched the local area for older rocks, learning that conglomerates are made of older rocks. The only other volcanics I could find were basalts from the Oligocene Vasquez Formation. It took a bit longer before I found that the San Andreas Fault had moved the source by a couple hundred miles. These rhyolites are from the Orocopia Mountains east of Indio, CA. Through this process I took a big interest in Structural Geology. I wanted to know more about how these rocks were able to move so far and what they went through during that process. It is an ongoing project and it really teaches you about how Southern California became what it is today. Without the San Andreas Fault, however it may be perceived by those living here, the great metropolis of Los Angeles may never have existed. It is a direct consequence of that fault that the mountains that rise so steeply north of Los Angeles, that squeeze the rain from the clouds and block the desert winds, helped establish the early resources that allowed the cities of Los Angeles and beyond to be built.
Currently, I live in San Diego, California in the North Park neighborhood. I moved here in November 2005. I also attend San Diego City College and will attend San Diego State University in the near future, working toward a degree in Geology. I also enjoy travel and exploration. So far, I’ve been to 46 states, missing South Carolina, Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii. I’ve traversed all of every State highway in California, all of I-5 and I-10 across the US. One goal of mine is to travel to all of the 50 states and most of the National Parks/Monuments. The only one I haven’t been to in California is Channel Islands. Santa Catalina Island isn’t a part of the park, but I have been there.
In August 2011, I sold my car, a 1994 Toyota Camry Wagon. From August 2011 to early November 2012, I was carless. It wasn’t that much of an adjustment for me, as I rode my bicycle more than I drove. While I never really saw myself on a motorcycle, I did eventually get one in November 2012. It was something that changed my life quite a bit, more than I expected. I’ve been traveling the highways by motorcycle as well as bicycle. Both are quite fun and a good way to enjoy the scenery.
Bicycle touring is another fun way to travel. On June 24, 2001, I started a bike ride from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Santa Clarita. It took me seven days to complete the ride and was 505 miles long. On July 31, 2009, I started my second major bicycle tour. I went from Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR, then east along the Columbia River Highway to Hood River, OR, then around Mt Hood, returning to Portland, OR. In June 2010, I finally rode the Big Sur coast.
Motorcycle riding is a somewhat newer interest of mine. I never figured I’d get a motorcycle, yet now I have two. I began riding in early November 2012, having obtained my Class M1 license at the end of October 2012. I enjoy motorcycling and exploring new areas with them. You’ll usually see me out on the roads in my Dainese Laguna Seca motorcycle suit. My primary motorcycle is a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja 500R, a sport touring bike. I have gone on many trips with that bike, some multi-day. My secondary motorcycle is a 2014 Kawasaki KLR 650, a dual sport motorcycle. It is, to me, a motorized extension of my cyclocross bicycle. I bought the bike with the intent of being able to travel dirt roads and old highway alignments easier than on my Ninja 500R. Both motorcycles are a lot of fun to ride and have allowed me to explore far more of Southern California than a bicycle would alone. I say it that way, as since August 2011, I have not owned a car.
In August 1998, I adopted a section of Interstate 5 in Kern County between Postmiles 6.00 and 8.00 in both directions. It is fun and, at times, I get to directly help the traveling public. I get a sense of pride when traveling that stretch, as I have worked to keep it clean, when I get the chance to travel there. I have also adopted two sections of former US 80 in San Diego County under the name – Road Scholars. Please, join me in adopting your own section of highway. You drive it all the time, why not help to make it cleaner too.
My highway goal for the year 1999 was to have completed every State highway in California. On December 12, 1999 at 9:37am, I completed the last route I needed – SR-115 at the junction with SR-111 in Calipatria.
I’m also getting into ham radio. I recently got my license (KM6GCB) and am working on expanding my radio reach. If you’d like to talk, and are in the San Diego area, you can reach me at 1900 on 146.265 (+ 107.2) most weekdays. The repeater is on Lyons Peak, which is east of the San Diego area.