Tuesday, October 30, 2012

fun in the rocks - Tuesday

We had a really fun, really low key, really low altitude day today.  First we visited the Movie Museum and saw all the silver inlaid western saddles, fancy Roy Rogers and Dale Evans clothes by Nudie, various props, scripts and posters  from the hundreds of old Westerns that were filmed here in Lone Pine.  As a matter of fact, lots of movies and TV shows used the Alabama Hills a backdrops, Star Trek, Gladiator,  Gunga Din, Twilight Zone, Tremors, etc.  We even found out that the terrible Whitney Portal road of yesterday's post was used in the classic movie The Long Long Trailer with Lucille Ball.

The Museum triggered funny memories for both of us.  As we drove through the Hills looking for various movie sites, we talked and laughed about our young lives.  We would have had gun fights if we had known each other when we were little.   Dave had twin holsters for his six shooters, a big cowboy hat and a spiffy Western shirt.  He told me that all the while he watched Roy Rogers, he sat on the arm of the couch and pretended it was his horse.  When the program was over, he would race out and throw a leg over a perfect lilac branch and ride into the sunset.      I was Annie Oakley with my white cowboy boots, fringed shirt/skirt outfit, hat hanging down my back and six guns on my skinny hips.  I, too, would ride the couch arm and we both made the same gun shot noises!!!!  Too funny.

We found a nicely graded wide dirt road named "Movie Road" winding through the Alabama Hills and followed it for miles, marveling at the rock formations.
looks like a heart shaped arch is beginning to form

Military jets roaring overhead distracted Dave often

"Ambush point"
if you look very very carefully, you can see a white trailer in the center of the picture, next to a rock outcropping.  it helps to show you the scale and size of the area

halfway up the left side of the outcrop is a rock climber, can you see him?
the plant in the front is a cholla - stay away!

such interesting shapes

this little guy didn't know we saw him, shhhh


Oh Dave....

Dave's view inside the rock

Pictures from Monday

We had a little visitor last night.....I wonder who made these dusty footprints on our step?

Last night the pictures just plain wouldn't load, today they are loading at desert tortoise speed, so I've only added a couple of representative ones.  Of course, you won't see any of the climb or descent, you know I couldn't look out, much less take a picture with my window rolled down!

close-up of the Alabama Hills rocks


those little brown lumps in the background are the huge Alabama Hills as seen from above.
The mountains in the background are the Inyo's

this picture is taken at the end of the road at 8000 ft. plus
the white peak is at the end of the trail....

see Dave scrambling up the side of the waterfall?

birdwatching - a golden eagle
I had a far off picture, but decided not to try and load it

Guess where that shard of ice Dave is holding in his little hand went right after I took this picture......

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday - Did it again!

The internet is very very slow tonight so I might not be able to post any pictures.   I'll try, but if it doesn't work, check back again.

After lunch we decided to drive up Whitney Portal Road to see the beautiful waterfall everyone has been telling us about.  It is at the end of the road, as high as one can drive (8700 ft. above sea level) and the peak is another 5800 feet higher!   It sounds like an impossible hike to the top, the road was bad enough. Yes, I knew it would be another one of those white knuckle rides for me, I must be really stupid.

It was an interesting drive through the brown Alabama Hills that we've been seeing along 395.  They are really different than we'd expected.  Not smooth hills, but huge piles of rocks thrown about as if a giant child were playing in a stone pile.

OK, I just tried to post just one picture and I sat here for almost 15 minutes, so no pictures tonight.  I'll try them again in the morning.

We stopped, took several pictures and walked down to a noisy stream following along with us.  After we passed through the hills and came out the other side, the scenery was very flat and expansive right up to the slopes of the Sierras.  I could see our road ahead and I screwed up my courage, ya just can't not do things because they scare you, right?

I think I need to start rating these winding up and down roads on degree of difficulty.  But, what kind of difficulty?  My difficulty in tolerating the climb, number of guard rails, sharpness of curves, surface condition of the road itself, distance from the wall to the edge of the cliff, how sweaty Dave's hands get, what fantastic thing is at the top/bottom?   I'll think on it a bit and perhaps I can come up with some sort of scale.

This one was rough, the road was rough, the climb was steep, the drop offs were sheer, the temperature dropped, but Oh, the waterfall at the top was worth it.  I wish I could let you smell the cool pine scented air at the end of the road, or hear the babbling of the brook below the ice crusted falls.  I saw a new to us bird bobbing its tail at me next to the cold water - an American Dipper.  My blood pressure went down and my muscles relaxed as we climbed over the rocks to see more of the icy water.

The way down, hmmmmm.  As Dave drove, I poured myself a cup of water, drank it, found a little snack and ate it, checked the pictures I'd taken so far, scrutinized the rock walls, thought about what to have for dinner, wondered how you all were doing with Miss Sandy, everything I could do but notice how little there was between me and the valley floor thousands of feet below.

I took a couple of interesting pictures of the Alabama Hills from the Sierra side, they really look pretty insignificant from this perspective.  I'll show you tomorrow.

Well, Dancing With The Stars is on, so I'll close for now and try again in the morning.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday - thinking about home

On another beautiful, clear, warm day we're thinking about our friends in the east.  We hope all the "Sandy" forecasts are wrong, just hype, and that everyone will make it through without trouble.   Let us know how you all are, OK?

We spent a bit of today working on our plans from here to San Diego at Christmas.  A stop at the visitor's center sent us up route 190 toward Death Valley National Park.  The Ranger said part of the road was a bit "down" and another section was a bit "up" but she thought we wouldn't have a problem taking the motorhome from here to Furnace Creek, deep in the center of the park.   Perhaps we'd have to unhook the car though, and drive it behind for most of the 100 miles or so.  Hmmmm.  We decided to  test drive the jeep for the first "down" section just to see if we thought it was something we would want to do in the motorhome next week.

the odd brown Alabama Hills in front of the majestic Sierras, view from the visitor's center

Well, the "down" section of 190 to Panamint Springs was way too "down" for me.  The road was paved, thats good, but it was extremely curvy, narrow and minus guard rails necessary to keep one from just slipping over the edge.   Yikes, here we go again!  Dave said he would drive Beluga on this road if I wanted him to, but he didn't think he could make the curves and stay on his side of the road with the jeep hooked on back.  So....I would have to drive it behind him all the way to Furnace Creek.

see that little white line in the middle of the picture?  it is the Panamint Valley and its about 20 miles away.....
The scale and scope of this place is not to be believed.

once down to the valley floor, we have to go back up over this marbled mountain range to reach Death Valley 

here is the road across Panamint Valley and up the next range.
see the two tiny dots on the black section of the road near the white stripe?  they are two motorhomes....
What do you think the chances of that happening are?   You guessed it, no chance.  I had all I could do to sit quietly next to Dave in the passenger seat of the jeep while he drove down.  We turned around and drove back up the "down" section and talked about whether we would attempt this drive and the rest of the "up" section next week with Beluga.  I can't do it, I can't drive it myself, even if Dave is driving Beluga in front of me.  It would be too hard for me to watch that big box negotiate those sharp, dangerous curves...Ooooh.

After I made that decision, Dave finally admitted to me that it would have been a very long, nerve wracking day for him if we chose to enter Death Valley from this side.    We both agreed we'd like to camp there at some point, but that it would be much better to enter from the Nevada side.  Phew!

It was getting late, so we went back to Beluga to feed our sweet doggies and let them out and make a cocktail.  We needed one today thats for sure!    Business done, we took our drinks and snacks outside to relax before dinner.  A neighbor stopped by for a talk, so we invited her to join us.  She trotted back to her 5th wheel to collect her husband and a couple beers and soon we all were chatting happily in our side yard.  They are from Carson City (near Reno), but she's originally from England.  We shared our life stories and soon it was dark and our dinners were waiting.  The bright moon lit the path  back to theirs and we moved inside to finish up our leftovers.

Tomorrow perhaps a little golf or a drive up to Mt. Whitney to find the falls.  Stay safe everyone.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday BCA

A nice, relaxed day for us, a boring post for you...sorry.

We didn't do anything interesting today at all.  Enjoyed the beautiful warm sunshine outside with coffee (the campground provides coffee and muffins each morning), lunch outside and  then poured over  maps and talked about the direction of our next move.  Do we visit Death Valley (with or without Beluga)?, Do we make an eastern detour to the border of Arizona and check out Lake Havasu on our way south?  Do we move on to Desert Hot Springs and/or Palm Springs before heading to San Diego for Christmas?  Nothing was decided today, we're still in the "what if" mode.  Nice to have options.

Speaking of Christmas, I had a great phone conversation with Robin about that very subject and, of course, dogs.  Talked  (electronically) with Cindy P on the subject of dogs, too.   Dave spoke with  the wonderful Fred and he assured us that all is well on the home front - Thanks Fred!

A few loads of laundry and a crockpot pork dinner and that wraps up our day!

the sunset was gentle tonight, nothing to the west, but soft pinks  over the Inyo Mts. behind Beluga.
full moon high in the clear sky

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday - moving south

I had a good phone conversation with dear friend Barb Sullivan yesterday.  She ended the call by saying "I wish you guys were here, no...I wish I was there".  That just about sums up our feelings, in reverse.  We wish you all were here, We don't wish we were there!  Especially with "Sandy" on her way...

The big bus was rocking today, Rock and Roll Friday survives Dave's retirement.  Thanks to the Sirius satellite radio, Dave was wailin' to 50's rock and roll as we moved on down fabulous 395 toward Lone Pine.

We continued through the long, broad Owens River Valley with the knobby spine of the Sierras snaking along on our right and the Owens River,  the White Mountains, then the Inyo Mountains on our left.  We drove through varied lava fields and began to see the odd brown formation called the Alabama Hills crowding between 395 and the Sierras.
our new spot at Boulder Creek RV Resort, very nice

Mt. Whitney views looking down our row, behind Beluga
Although we only drove about 60 miles south of Bishop, there is so much here to explore. Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States  (14,508 ft above sea level)  and just a mere 100 miles to the east of us, Death Valley has the lowest elevation (282 ft. below sea level) in the country.

   Once again, we go to bed dreaming of the day to come.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday - last day in Bishop

Boo Hoo.  Our last day here in Bishop.  I don't know what it is about this little place, but we really love it here.  Can't be the campground, because we've certainly stayed at better places, but we'll miss Bishop just the same.

 Jesse asked why we just don't stay longer...a hard question to answer.  I guess we're moving on because we are anxious to see what is down the road.  If we had stayed at June Lake (which we also were in love with), we wouldn't have gotten to know Bishop, see?

Alma's Burro
Another interesting person showed up today, this is her "home" when she and her companion, Don, travel.  Her name is Alma and she lives in Burney, Ca. (tiny town between Redding,Ca., and Susanville, Ca.).  She and Don travel a few times a year with their tiny dog and leave their 7 cats home under her daughter's care.
They were parked a few spaces down from us and  she would wander around with her camera, hoping we'd be outside.  A real old sweetie, she stopped this morning to tell us they were leaving soon and to ask if she could take a picture of us.    They came to this area to go rock picking (her email address is "rockhound") and her pockets are filled with little rocks and fossils.  How could we refuse?  So, Cindy, if Alma actually sends me a copy of that full frontal picture, I'll post it for you to see!    You may wonder why I have her email address - she begged me to send her pictures of any interesting animals we see for the rest of our trip.  She was fascinated that alligators sun themselves at Florida golf courses and wants to see them for herself.

Are you tired of mountain pictures yet?

or pictures of alpine lakes?
(pay no attention to the hat brim at the  top of the picture...)

I hope you're not tired of these same old pictures, I don't think I'm done taking them yet.  At least until we get down low enough to be in the desert.

The lake in the above pictures is Convict Lake. Its a very small, clear, cold, deep lake not far from us in the Sierras.  Its one of a chain of glacier made lakes.  Every turn of these roads brings more hidden beauties.

Speaking of these roads, Dave just bought 4 new shocks for the jeep,  just in case.  We've been hearing "noises" under the car as we're  bumping down dirt/rock roads in search of new things, so its better to be prepared than surprised, right?

I hope this is the first and last shot of snow you'll see on this blog.  We drove back up to the June Lake area this afternoon, just to see if we had really dodged that bullet by leaving when we did....Yep, we did!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday - fore!!!

We watched the golfers play by this morning as we sat with our coffees.  It was quite chilly again, but sunny and clear.  As we often do, we discussed our thoughts for the day ahead.  A round of golf sounded good to both of us, the course is close, relatively inexpensive and looked fairly empty today, so.....

Dave got us take-out lunch from......Schat's Bakery, and we got organized to make a 1 p.m. tee time.   We both don't know how we'll manage without Schat's!!!!  I know, you're all crying a river for poor us.....

The first nine went well, a  foursome let Dave play through and the course was beautiful.

The course ran right down through the valley - the White Mountains to the east

the Sierra Nevada's to the west

the course was relatively flat with plenty of clear streams and ponds mixed with interesting groves of trees

As we neared the 8th hole, the wind began to pick up.  By the end of the course, Dave was playing into probably 30 mph sustained winds from the northeast.  You all know how cold wind from the northeast can be.....we froze!!!!!    I think it was payback for the big Monday windstorm that never waited til we were outside and vulnerable...

Beluga and her "little friend" in the campground as seen from the 12th hole.
See Dave's red, windburned face?
All in all we had a wonderful day on the Bishop Country Club course.  It was sunny and warm (when we found a windbreak of trees) and the course was fun to play.  Dave was happy with his score.

We sat inside with our gin and tonics tonight.  We had the same view as outside, but none of the wind.
my view from the lounge chair.  pretty nice.
We decided to try Holy Smoke Texas BBQ for dinner.  It came highly recommended and I can say it certainly lived up to the hype.  Maybe again tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday - random pictures

The day dawned calm and clear.  We never got the strong wind storms predicted, thats a good thing.  The two pictures below are taken from the same spot as the final photo (sunset) in last night's blog.  The Sierra Peaks hidden then were blanketed with beautiful, glistening snow this morning.

I forgot to post this picture of another one of the "interesting" folks here in Brown's Town Campground.  An older gentleman has been living in this white pick-up since we've been here.  The license plates tell us he's from Oregon and he is in a non-hook up spot.  He spends the entire day (and night) in the cab of the truck, the back is filled with "stuff".  He eats his meals standing at the tailgate, reaching in for whatever lunch is for him.  Then he fills his water jug, and gets back in the cab.....A rugged individualist, no doubt.  We've seen a lot of those along this route.

One of Bishop's claim to fame is their Mule Days Celebration every Memorial Day.  Its been going on for 43 years and sounds like a wild and wooly week to be sure.  Everyone, it seems, harbors at least one mule.

  We set out for another lunch at Erick Schats Bakery today but took a different road to see what we might see on our way.  Some lovely communities, most with one or two horses or mules.   We're really loving Bishop, its a beautiful place.

a lone mule dozing in the sun.
 in the distance behind him is the volcanic tableland with the  petroglyphs and behind that are the White Mountains

 a much younger guy

Uncle Mike, if you're reading, this picture is for you.  How would you like to fly your cool RC planes at this field?   One guy was  pulling away from the field with a large RC plane in the bed of his pickup as we drove by - no one else was in the air.  Too bad, such a beautiful backdrop.
We sat outside in the sun at our favorite bakery and enjoyed fresh roast turkey sandwiches on sourdough bread.  Dave had bbq turkey and I had a turkey club with wonderful potato salad.  We weren't alone....
our little lunch guest, sitting over Dave's head, watching....

Tom, those wonderful cookies came with lunch again today!  They were just as good, so I bought a few "extras" to take home.  Mmmmm

Dave is using these "cavaletti" to teach Lewis new tricks.   He couldn't help himself.   After we trimmed the pour guys face this afternoon, we took him out and had a good ball and jumping session.  Fun!

Its getting quite chilly, so I didn't stay outside to capture another stunning sunset over the Sierras.  The picture below is the beginning glow on the white mountains.