Monday Oct. 8
We have landed just north
of Bishop, CA on HW 395 in a county campground on the Owens River.
Dry camping for $10 with water that we hope is safe to drink. (Our last
stop they came around and told us not to drink it as it had gone bad)
A great south view for the satellite. Much more tomorrow on all of this
as we open a new blog date link. The city of LA owns the rights to all
this water. Trout fishing just opened on the river and they are out in
force to do their thing. We plan on staying here a few days as it is about
5000 ft and warmer. Just going to refresh our minds and do a little
planning for what we want to do on down the road.
We have been following as
to where to find the best in boondocking sites along US HW 395 by
reading this site...
Camping along Highway 395
Tuesday Oct. 9
your roving reporter Terry
we checked the weather yesterday morning, there was a weather advisory,
with very high wind to come through the Carson/Reno NV area on Monday afternoon.
We were very concerned about this as we had planned to travel on Monday,
and packed the trailer quickly and hit Hwy 395 for points south.
We had no idea of the road we would be traveling on, and with three high
mountain passes shown on the map were very concerned.
of Carson city to the CA border is a mix of urban sprawl and open fields,
more of the former with the later slowly disappearing. Once we got
into CA the sprawl disappeared and we were able to experience the High
Sierras. We were very pleased with the hwy, for most of the length
which we drove yesterday it is a four lane parkway and the rest is set
up with lots of passing lanes. As for the passes, they did
not prove to be as bad as we thought. the northern approaches are
all very gradual inclines, with the south bound exit from the pass being
the only real area of concern, 6 and 7% grades for very long distances,
7 and 8 miles of it at a time. Ron did an excellent job of driving
and by descending the grades in a lower gear we were able to avoid over
heating our brakes.
fall colors are in full display, This picture looked much better in real
life. There was a professional photographer stopped on the side of
the road setting up his camera and tripod to capture this particular view.
Through our drive yesterday we were treated to many such vistas. I on the
other hand was snapping pictures as we drove, through a tinted side
window, still did well with the picture.
particular vista is overlooking Mono Lake. You can see Hwy 395 in
the lower left hand corner and at several thousand feet lower then our
view point. This was the worst down grade of the day being 7% for
8 or 9 miles. We were passed on the way down by semi tractor trailer
load full of cattle, the driver must have been running late as he
was really pushing his truck to the limit. a few miles down the road
the black smoke from his exhaust pipes looked like a steam engine at
could have spent a good deal of time each of the towns along the way and
Mono lake would be high on the return chart. We kept going though
spooked by the weather and the thought that in mid october it could
snow at any time at 7-8,000 ft of elevation. The thought of waking
up in the morning with six or eight inches of snow on the ground and no
chains for the truck is to scary to contemplate, we could be stranded
for the winter.
is one of the also ran campsites in the Bishop area. It is a BLM
campground on the west side of Hwy 395 (Horton Creek campground $5) and
a couple of miles back from the road. The water system there had
notices that it had not been tested for use as drinking water and so we
moved on. The vistas were inspiring though.
not know what we have scheduled for the rest of the day, so far it
has been a relaxing day, get up late, nice breakfast read yesterdays
paper and work on the blog.
Wednesday Oct. 10
we got up, and had gook, I mean that 7 grain hot cereal we bought a while
back, with a little sugar free syrup on it. It does taste pretty good,
but who knows, when I'm not awake yet. It is Bobs Red Mill Seven
Grain Cereal. web site www.bobsredmill.com
we again decieded we would do that old explore the path ahead, to find
our next perfect campsite. (Without pulling the 5er)
first we had to go high and head up HW 168 west from Bishop to see what
we would see.
Straight up from about 4
K in Bishop to about 8.5 K ft. It took hours for my ears to pop after coming
The sign sez road narrows,
I should say so.
The route took us to Lake
Sabrina where Terry got out and took this shot. It was windy and about
50 deg. at about 8500 ft. There was a small cafe there and no customers
that we could see. A few people were down the raod fishing, that looked
cold, but had smiles on their faces.
We screwed up and took the
side road (see the map) up to North Lake. A narrow, don't look over the
edge road, (we met a pickup camper and just got past each other. The above
shot is the road back down from North Lake. Looks like a peice of cake
but not when you are driving it. Remember this is above 8500 ft and looking
mostly down. Now looking at the map we didn't even see the so called road
to South Lake.
There were some nice campgrounds
a little lower but still at about 7500 ft. The fall foliage was great where
there were aspen trees. A little chilly up here due to the wind, and it
can snow at the drop of a hat up here. But in the valley it is about 70
- 80 deg. today. Now when you turn to the west this is the shot from the
same location as the above one.
Not bad for a mountain paradise.
This is some area on the West side of the Sierra Nevadas
The road back down from
the above, back to Bishop.
We went further south looking
for that special spot and DID NOT find it here up from the fish hatchery
at what used to be called Oak Creak campground just west from Independence,
CA. Fire wiped it out but, they saved the historic fish hatchery just
down the road.
Pic from the below site
Whitney Fish Hatchery towers above the Owens Valley today as a monument
to the foresight and dedication of the citizens of Independence and the
California Department of Fish and Game.
Several Bakeries in Bishop,
CA have signs out promoting their Shepherds Bread. Well Terry could have
none of that, he had to bake his own in the Dutch Oven. Let me tell you
that it is VERY good. Crunchy... OK here we go... he
is reciting the recipe to me as I type it...
He sez it takes: 2
cups of water, 2 Tbls of sugar, 3 Tbls of wheat gluten, I tsp. yeast, 1
cup of white flour, and whole wheat flour as needed. Combine water, sugar,
gluten, yeast. Allow yeast to bloom. Add white flour and 1 cup of whole
wheat flour. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.
In the morning stir batter down, and enough whole wheat flour to make a
stiff dough. Put in greased bowl and allow to rise to double bulk. Punch
dough down, and form into round loaf. Place in greased dutch oven. Cover
and allow to double in bulk. Pre heat oven to 350 deg. Place covered dutch
oven, in the oven. Bake for 1 1/4 hr. When done the loaf will have
hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Just think he did this is in a
5er gas oven when many say they simply can not bake in these things.
Some links to this great area.
Sierra Motor Touring Guide
the road less traveled as you explore in your car, SUV, truck or jeep the
tours that make Inyo County a spectacular place to visit year-round. Click
on this Route
Map. This guide is filled with rich history, driving routes and
discovery at every turn. We found the guide in a visitor center and now
found it was online in its full version.
Death Vally and the Eastern
Big Pine C of C and Visitor
Bishop C of C and Visitors
Death Valley C of C www.deathvalleychamber.org
Independence C of C www.independence-ca.com
Lone Pine C of C www.lonepinechamber.org
If you are coming to this
area, make sure to get any of the above sites to send you, the Campgrounds
of Inyo County printed guide.
It lists 80 campgrounds
in the area. (with details on each with phone numbers) The best pamphlet
I have ever seen produced by a local area.
We are tired from another
big day trip today, all the way from Bishop to Lone Pine, and will stay
here for a few more days. We didn't find anything better between here and
Lone Pine, so we will just stay here, as Terry put it, he doesn't have
to close up things that way. As we see it, it is still way
too hot further south. We did find our next stop at Lone Pine at the INYO
county campground Diaz Lake. Over 200 sites with great views right on the
lake with southern open satellite access for the same price as here, $10.
A pic taken from the web
to show you a little about the place. Our own shots later.
Thursday Oct. 11
took the day off. Got up late and I mean I got up about 10:30. Bedtime
is 10 when the generator is shut down for the night. By about 2 PM Terry
gathered up the dirty laundry and we went to town. Some debate was had
as to when he had done the wash the last time. We think it was just outside
of West Yellowstone, at Island Park, ID. WOW we must be carrying too many
clothes, or have been wearing them past their prime. Wondered why people
were avoiding us. Terry sez I should insert a happy face as this is meant
as a joke. We keep clean. Thge change manchine was broke so I had to find
the Bank Of America and get a roll of quarters and some extra cash. After
laundry, picked up a few things at Vons food store. They take the Safeway
shoppers card. Fancy store and not built on the cheep by any means, you
can tell they put some big bucks into it. This is in Bishop, CA.
had a though about what we found yesterday. We will need to dump when leaving
here and have been checking the options. None of the public (county, BLM.
FS, campgrounds have dump stations. The last one was the state park north
of Carson City, NV. Well the literature sez two US HW 395 rest areas have
dump stations. We stopped and one of them and it was closed. Asked the
attendant and he said people were dumping all the wrong stuff into it so
they had to close it. We then called about the other one further south
and it was the same case. Seems the only place to dump is at commercial
RV parks or at a at few gas stations which all charge, of course. Sad state
of affairs when people abuse these things and ruin it for the rest of us.
Back in the mid-west you can find a dump station at most interstate HW
rest stops and in many small towns for free. Not out here.
next stop, Diaz lake is a Inyo county park and also doesn't have a dump
station. None of their parks do, but they are all $10, and some have water
and trash. Sure we could pull into a commercial RV park and have all the
full features, AND be packed in like sardines. We see big MHs in
the RV parks in Bishop and looks like many are using them, but that just
makes more room for us, in the out of the way county parks. Sure we have
to search them out, but that is the fun of it, find the perfect campsite
each stop, and save big bucks in the process.
campgrounds were running about $20 a night along the OR coast but we just
had to get used to that. Now down HW 395 state campgrounds were about $14,
county $10, and BLM $5. Now that is more like it. Imagine paying
$30 -- $40 each night in a full blown RV park. The extra services are just
not worth it to us. Not that we couldn't, if we wanted to.
We are going to say another
day, tomorrow right here, and again goof off and relax, this fulltiming
thing is hard work, and we need to take it easy. Besides it is still too
hot in AZ. We are in kind of a holding pattern.
Friday Oct. 12
it is late Friday afternoon and we are back at camp with the generator
running to get a good charge built up (we have six 12 volt AGM batteries)
as it has been mostly cloudy today. Looking to the west, low clouds are
hanging over the Sierras. We could see more snow up high in the morning.
But we are fine down in the valley with nice temps at about 70. We did
go in and browse the big sporting goods store (lots of ski stuff and high
priced ski clothes, didn't stay long), Kmart (still looking for a light
jacket) (again Kmart didn't have much), and of course Vons food store for
more goodies for supper. Meat loaf, and a cauliflower dish with cheese
all baked in the oven.
That is us in the lower
right, camped along the Owens River. All this area is owned by the LA water
Terry took the camera and
went for a walk and came back with a couple of interesting pictures,
so I decided to show them.
Notice a close up of the
old barbed wire.
We at this time plan on
moving on Saturday (tomorrow) down to Lone Pine, to see what we can see
for the next few days. To find things to do all we have to do is consult
the following site. Lone Pine C of C www.lonepinechamber.org
Saturday Oct. 13
Oh... Yes... we have moved down to Lone Pine and Happy Campers we are...
A sunny day for travel. We stopped to dump at the Shell station in Bishop
and when we got to the back, the big sign said free with gas purchase.
We had filled up last night and didn't know about this. A $5 on your honor
donation was in order. Not bad.
Looking to the west. Just
look at the the site we secured. No other campers within shouting distance
either. This has got to be INYO county's best park. A couple of them were
real dumps but this is nice. A real bad one is at Independence, CA. More
like living under a LA freeway bridge. If you ever get out here and have
questions, just email, and we will be happy to share what we found, but
didn't post. Terry is looking a FRED trying to find the satellite.
Our little FRED (Datastorm)
just didn't want to cooperate at all today. The last stop (in Bishop) it
went up and hit right on first try. We landed and of course the first thing
I do is get it finding the satellite. Well, back and forth, it went trying
to sync up. I was sure they must have changed transponders on us, which
would mean I would have to call MotoSAT and get the new transponder freq.
They have been doing that on the 89W sat according to the users forum.
Well it is the weekend and you have to leave a voice mail and they will
call back. So while waiting for a callback, low and behold it found the
satellite and locked on. A little later, customer service called.
Why Oh Why the ways, of a FRED. (You do know what a FRED is don't you?)
A view from the picnic table
over the geranium. (We have carried this plant since last winter when we
got it in Quartzsite, AZ and it is doing great.) (It had a little freeze
problem in northern NM but recovered) It just doesn't get much better than
this. Temps in the mid 70s.
A view to the southeast
overlooking Diaz Lake county park, $10 camping w/ lots of water faucets)
just south of Lone Pine, CA. The downtown is just a little touristy
but not bad. Not anything like Bishop. Kind of looks like a fun laid back
town. Terry went back to explore while I stayed and listened to A Prairie
Home Companion live from Boston with Garrison Keilor on NPR. During
which I updated the main www.hitchitch.com
site. Moved and added some new listings.
Terry is getting dough ready
for homemade pizza tonight. It is about 6 PM and the sun has set on us,
but it is still backlighting the Sierra Mountains. What could be
better than this? I love this campground and on Sunday we will be relaxing,
reading the Sunday LA Times. We found a couple places just up the raod
which will have it. I love my Sunday paper. With the LA Times everyday
is like a Sunday paper. If we could only get it in Quartzsite. I would
even drive the 20 miles (one way) (we could have brunch also, at the Sizzler)
to Blythe,CA on a Sunday to get it. The AZ Republic (I'm sorry) sucks real
bad! That was last year do you think it has improved? I'm big fan of The
Des Moines Register, my hometown paper. BUT!!
Sunday Oct. 14
lounging around reading the LA Times Sundy paper we went for a drive up
the Whiney Portal road, through the Movie Road all around the Alabama Hills,
where over 400 films were shot. The portal road goes straight up
to the take off point for camping and hiking Mt. Whitney. It was all blacktop
but a steep grade, no gaurd rails. WOW. When I drive a road like this I
keep my eyes on the road, and don't look out over the side. That Terry
can do for the both of us.
Near the end of the road
with a campground and trail. Very tight back in there. But there it was
a big MH squeezed into a camping spot. The park road got VERY narrow,
even for our truck. Here is the FS
web site for Mt. Whitney. Enjoy.
If you notice. Terry's right
eye closes when he knows he is the subject of attention. (Or upset with
me) It's a Terry trait.
The main viewing area looking
out over the valley. From here the road turns inward, like in the shot
above. Terry taking in the view.
The weather is holding,
as in great, calm winds and temps in the 70s in the valley. It was 55 up
at the portal area.
Monday we have maintenance
chores scheduled while we have the time. Change oil in the generator (Our
Honda 2000i is a great little machine. Worth every penny we paid for it.)
and defrost the fridge. We should change oil in the truck but no
place here Lone Pine to do it. And new truck tires are in order as soon
as we find a Goodyear dealer. Need to checkout CA vs AZ prices and see
if taxes will be an issue.
Yesterday Terry stopped
at the visitor center and the ranger encourged us to, just do it, and go
through Death Valley on our way south. We are still worred about it getting
too hot. Plus the RV foums talk about how bad the road is. Weather Watcher
sez 90 - 93 for the next week. Terry would like to soak in the hot springs
at Tecopa. We shall see. But for right now, we are, fat dumb and happy,
right here in Lone Pine in a great county campground at $10 a night.
Monday Oct. 15
We are fine,
as we are holding here and tomorrow in Lone Pine, CA. The fridge is happy
with no more frost build up, and the Honda is running on new oil. A little
windy and some clouds have come to call.
A little comment:
Oil hit $86 today. This is getting a little nuts. Remember when $60 was
a breakout point. We knew fuel would be higher in California, and we are
not complaining as it is only $3.29 at the Mobile station in Lone Pine.
A Shell station here wants $3.49. WOW It was last year in AZ at about
$2.60 for diesel.
NBC News said
it could go to $100 a barrel. Glad we will be in Quartzsite soon, and sitting
tight as far as no heavy traveling for the winter. We now can say we are
happy, we took the extra time to explore Idaho, and the Oregon coast, as
next year it just might be much more costly. Just checked and it is $2.89
for diesel in AZ just across from CA on I-10. That's more like it.