Stunning Sierras!

Wow!  What a beautiful state!  We are currently in Lone Pin, CA, living in the Alabama Hills and in the shadow of the Eastern Sierras and Mount Whitney.  Everywhere we look is beauty, and we just stare at it all in amazement.

We spent last Wednesday and Thursday at the not very attractive location of Beaumont RV in Beaumont, CA, to get some maintenance and repairs done.  We wanted to stay very close by in case Soupy had any issues, so we mainly hung out in their waiting area for 2 days.  We were all finished late Thursday afternoon, and decided to stay in their lot one more night, and then leave first thing Friday morning.  We headed north, through Cajon Pass, and onto route 395.  This road winds through some of the prettiest parts of California, through the Owens valley, with mountain ranges on either side.    The scenery quickly changed from desert drab to amazing.

We are boondocking in the Alabama Hills, just west of Lone Pine, and just east of the Sierras.  There is a popular BLM area called Movie Road, where lots of westerns were filmed, and camping is free here for up to 14 days.  We scouted out a spot, but it was getting late and we were hungry and hot.  We ended up plunking down in a turnaround, and planned to look for a better spot the next morning. For a temporary spot, the views sure weren’t bad!

Saturday morning, we set out to find a better spot.  There’s a million little roads leading to  hidden spots, and we really had to search to scout them out.  We ended up well off the main road, tucked behind some picturesque rocks.  It’s a very private and quiet spot, just right after months in a crowded campground!

Far away little RV! Those rocks in front of us don’t look so big from this angle!

We drove up the steep, steep road to Whitney Portal, the area around the trailhead to the highest mountain in the lower 48.  The views were fantastic, and there was a lovely waterfall right next to the parking lot at the top.

Yesterday, we got up early to enjoy the sunrise again.

We headed out to do the Tuttle Creek Trail, which leads to a abandoned ashram high in the mountains.  The trail was steep and precarious in places, but oh-so-worth the effort.

Can you spot the stone ashram?

A rickety bridge to cross the stream.

Almost there!

Distant waterfall origin of the stream we crossed.

In the afternoon, we visited Manzanar “War Relocation Center”, just north of  Lone Pine.  In reality, it was a concentration camp for Japanese-Americans who had the misfortune of living in the 3 Pacific states that were declared a war zone after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  All Japanese-Americans in those areas were given about a week to prepare to move to a camp.  It was a heartbreaking tribute to the mass histeria of the time, which lead to misery for over 100,000 people.  The actual site is mostly empty–just the concrete pads of buildings remain.  But the Visitor’s Center was well designed and informative, with lots of pictures and artifacts from the time.

We had friends, Melissa and Andy, from Pasadena who were coming back down our way as they returned from a camping trip near Mammoth Lakes.  We were the perfect stopping point for a dinner break with them, and it was great to spend some time with old friends.

Today we hiked to an area close to our campsite with lots of fanciful rock formations and arches.

We are moving on today for a couple reasons.  It’s starting to get busy as the town gears up for the 25th annual Lone Pine Film Festival.  There’s all kinds of events going on, starting in a couple days.  We knew something was up when we saw signs being put up all over the BLM land–each one commemorates a location where a famous movie scene was filmed.

Also, we have to report to Fresno, CA, for our drug test for Amazon.  Amazon recently asked where we would be, and they assigned an area based on proximity to zip code.  The problem is, although Fresno is only about 50 miles west as the crow flies, there’s no roads east and west through the Sierras.  We will have to go north, through Yosemite, and then head back south, a trip of about 180 miles each way.  We plan to get up super early tomorrow and do it all in one day, with just the car.

Our next stop is about 60 miles north–the BLM land of the Volcanic Tablelands, just outside Bishop, CA.








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