Mono Lake

Windy morning

I got up this morning to a lot of wind.  I checked the weather and it was blowing 10-15 mph.  I was debating whether to stay or head out into the wind.I checked the Weather Channel and it said windy today and windier tomorrow (15-25mph).  If I stayed here I would need to stay two more days.  I needed to get a few items at Walmart so packed up and headed to the Walmart in Ridgecrest, CA.  The wind wasn’t too bad so decided to head out.  My destination was Mono Lake where I know a great boondocking spot.

There were a few times when the wind got very gusty, but overall it was OK.

Stopped in Bishop

I had to stop at the Schat’s Bakery to pick up their famous Sheepherder’s bread.  However they were completely sold out.  BUMMER!!!  Instead I got a loaf of Sourdough Rosemary bread which I am sure will also be very delicious.  I couldn’t wait so just buttered a slice and it was really yummy.

Mono Lake

I am boondocking in the same spot I had when I came up here in 2012.  It is a great spot overlooking the lake.

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This is a pic of some of the beautiful wild flowers growing right outside our door.

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Some pics taken in different directions surrounding our campsite.

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There is still snow on the surrounding mountains as we are up 8,000 feet.  The temp is supposed to get down to 35 tonight so Chica is already warming up on my jacket.  Looks like we will run the heat tonight.

 

2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Fantastic clouds over Mono Lake

Not only Super Moon but Super Clouds as well…

Gotta watch the SUPER MOON tonight.  It should be really neat.  But I have been here at my campsite overlooking Mono Lake for almost 7 days.  What I find peculiar about this area is the unusual clouds.  I have never seen clouds like that anywhere.  So I have been taking pictures of them and thought I would share them with you.

My first night here was really freaky!

The first night I was here I saw this cloud and it totally freaked me out.  Nothing happened not even a drop of rain and when I awoke the next day it was a bright blue sky with hardly any clouds at all.

Then it got to be old stuff…

During the day time the sky is very blue but towards the evening all the clouds seem to build up and just sit overhead.   This is the cloud I saw on the second day.  Again the next day was a bright blue sky.

I really enjoyed the different cloud patterns.  Like I said I have never seen clouds like this anywhere.

Now lets all check out the super moon…

Well enough for the clouds.  Tonight is the SUPER MOON night.  I am setting up my telescope so I can really view it up close and friendly.  Hopefully it won’t be too windy later on when the moon appears.  I am hoping I can get a few neat shots of the moon in all her glory.

Tufa’s of Mono Lake

Get your butt out of bed…

Got off my butt this morning and nailed everything down and then drove down to the tufa sighting area.  Tufas are formed over time by the precipitation of carbonate minerals.  I am not a rocket scientist so if you really want to read up on them I suggest going to Wikipedia and they will explain them in depth.

Tufa’s are so cool!!!

All I know is that they really look cool!  Therefore I will just let my photos do the talking.  They are really something to see!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even sand tufa’s

There are even sand Tufa’s.  They are very delicate and almost look like little buildings.

The tufa on the right in this next pic is a home for an osprey.  What a view they must have.

This is another sand tufa that I really liked.

The Forest Service charges $3 to park and follow the trails all among the tufa’s.  Geezers like me only have to pay $1.50.  But it is well worth the small token payment to see these fabulous creations of nature.

Hiking at Mono Lake

Taking a hike

From my campsite overlooking Mono Lake I decided to do some hiking in the area.  Of course I stopped along the way to smell the flowers (actually cactus in bloom).  I am parked about a mile off hwy 395 on a plateau overlooking Mono Lake.  It is a perfect spot.  No highway noise and very little traffic down this narrow paved road.

Whoa Nellie!

I hiked down the road which eventually wanders down to the lake.  It is a rather steep road going down but I felt up to it.  So off I went.

Change in the road

About a 1/2 mile from my campsite I ran into this home right next to the lake.  The road turns sharply and you are then on a gravel road the rest of the trip.

 

I ran into a lot of these cactus flowers all in bloom along the way.  Not sure what they are though.

More then I am up to…

My goal was to hike to the tufas.  However once I got on the gravel road there was a sign that read “Tufas 3 3/4 miles”.  I still continued on as I had plenty of water and the hike didn’t look to bad.  But after about 2 miles I realized this was going to be more difficult then I had anticipated.  The wind was at my back and was blowing quite a bit.  In order to return to my campsite I would have to hike back against the wind and then a steep uphill climb for the last 1/2 mile.  So I decided that if I was to see the tufas it would be better to drive down to them.  I turned around and hiked back (and with much difficulty I might say).

Beautiful clouds

But before I hiked back I got a couple pics of the fabulous cloud formations.

I was pooped and glad I didn’t hike all the way to the tufas.  That will be another day.

I am just amazed at the unusual cloud formations I see here every day.  During the day the sky is very blue, but does have big fluffy clouds here and there.  However in the evening it is a different story.  It is as if all the clouds come over this area and just pile up together.

And finally the biggest and best for the last.

The scenery is like no other place I have ever visited.  I had a big day but it was a great time.

 

From Manzanar to Mono Lake

A sad time in our history…

Today started off on a sad note but ended on a spooky one.  I know that sounds weird but today was an unusual day.  North of Lone Pine I stopped at the Manzanar War Relocation Center.  This is where 10,000 Americans of Japanese descent were relocated during World War II.  They were removed from their homes and business and with only the clothing they could carry were forced to remain here throughout the war.

 

This is the entrance and a guard shack where they were closely watched so that they couldn’t escape.  The only reason they were isolated here was because they were Japanese.  They had done nothing criminal, but the government thought they might be a problem to our security.

This is the main building where they had dances to try to forget about their situation.

This is one of the guard towers to prevent them from escaping.

There was a 20 minute movie narrated by many of the same people that were encamped here.  It was a real tear jerker.  Years later Ronald Reagan issued an apology to all those who were encamped here and their relatives along with $60,000 per person encamped.  But by that time they had lost some much.  Many of them owned businesses and shops which were taken away from them.

Had to stop at Schat’s

Stopped in Bishop at Schat’s Bakery to pick up a loaf of their famous Sheepherders Bread.  It is to die for!  Thanks Donna and Russ of Travels in Therapy fame for reminding me.

Where to next…

I didn’t really have any particular spot where I would stop for the night except to park somewhere before 4:00pm.  I passed many small towns along 395 and had heard about a dispersed camping spot at Mono Lake so I decided to make that my destination.  Along the way I passed Mammoth Lakes, which brought back a lot of memories of my skiing days and how our ski club used to go up there once a month in the winter.  It sure looks different in the Spring.  Still lots of snow on the peaks but a lot of greenery in the lower elevations.

Dispersed camping overlooking Mono Lake

I found a perfect spot just off 395 south of Lee Vining.  It is a great dispersed camping spot overlooking Mono Lake on one side and a great look of the mountains on the other side.

Mono Lake is twice as salty as the ocean.  Tomorrow I will hike down to check on the tufas.

Here is a great pic of the clouds rolling over my campsite.  More on that later.

Fantastic mountain views

The mountains were really beautiful with lots of snow still covering them.  I am at the 7,000 ft level and there is lots of wind and it is a bit colder there then the Alabama Hills.  But it is still very pleasant.

Beam me up Scotty

I went outside to take some pics before the sun went down and looked up and saw the Starship Enterprise hovering overhead.  At least that is what it looked like.  This pic is facing south and has a bit more light as it was a timed exposure.

This is the scene that really had me spooked out at first.  Yes the Enterprise was landing directly over me.  Beam me up Scotty!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I then googled “Mono Lake Clouds” and found out that these clouds are called Lenticular clouds and are common to this area.  But it scared the “you know what” out of me for a while.

I will be spending a couple nights here to see more of the lake, so stay tuned.