Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Barstow California to Mammoth Lakes California

Barstow, California. Sandy and I got coffee at the hotel before we left at 7:00 AM. Sherm stopped at the Circle K just down the street to get his while I tinkered with the audio book link between my phone and the car entertainment system. It started working right without me doing anything. Go figure. Then we stopped at the unusual railway themed McDonald's at Barstow Station. They had kiosks and tap to pay.

Welcome to Barstow

Cheery folks early in the morning

Dining car

Water tower

Two redheads

After a short jog south on I-15, we followed Sherm's white Accord west on California 58 to Kramer Junction where we turned north on US 395. Eventually, the Sierra Nevada Mountains grew gradually out of the desert to our left. We followed the edge of the range to Lone Pine, where we stopped at the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center of the Inyo National Forest. By now, the higher mountains were showing some snow on top.

Desert along California 58

Kramer Junction

US 395 North

FAA Radar - former air force station and federal prison camp

The best I can determine is that these signs mark a buried utility

Mountains just spring out of the desert

Heavy rescue at work

No idea how he tipped the semi over

I think they lynched the bike

They really seem to like jerky here

No idea what this is

Give me land, lots of land.......


This was a different formation

Lava wall

Lava beds but no visible volcano

This looked like a huge pule of dirt

.....Don't fence me in

Not going this way today

We now see trees on the mountains

Mountains to the east of us

Snow appears on the Sierras

Again to the east across the valley

The Visitor Center at Lone Pine was interesting. There was a big picture window featuring Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 United States. I have seen several reported heights above sea level varying from 14,494 feet to 14,505. They also had some exhibits related to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, including a topographical model, and a piece of the Los Angeles aqueduct pipe that delivered clear mountain waters to the big city.

Welcome to Lone Pine

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center

Model of the Sierra Nevadas

Where we are headed today

The tiny Topaz Lake in the centre will be rally central

They had a piece of huge pipe that had been part of the aqueduct transporting clean mountain water to Los Angeles. Around the turn of the 20th Century, this had been delivered to the site by mule team and positioned by hand.

Story about the aqueduct pipe

It was not small

Photographing Mount Whitney

Mount Whitney is in the back middle

Close up in the centre of the photo

The path points right at it

We left Lone Pine at about 11:15 AM. The temperature was 92 F and the locals were commenting on how unusually cool it was.

Sagebrush and snow

CHP escort for a little tracked vehicle

We get closer to and farther from the big mountains

Dust devil

Courthouse - Independence California

More lava - no volcano visible

Single lane while they tar and chip the highway

Putting down the oil

Rolling the gravel

Bishop California - another nice little town

In Bishop, we decided to stop for lunch. They had a nice looking bakery/cafe but it was very crowded. Not surprising, because it was lunch time. We settled for Denny's and probably shouldn't have. This Denny's was slow at the counter and the bathrooms were not anywhere near up to standard.

Daily driver

No room for a future dad

Just migrating deer?

This was a nice service after a long climb to Sherman Pass (7,000 feet)

Living off the grid right next to a US Highway

We stopped for some photos of a lake. The water from the mountains ran under the highway and was still feeding it. Down by the lake shore, there was a herd of black cows.

Runoff water was still bubbling (babbling)?

The black specks are cows

Continuing north, we climbed over 7,000 feet three times. The third time, we stayed there.

Mammoth Yosemite Airport

Many hangars

Mammoth Lakes is a few miles off US 395

We arrived at the Travelodge in Mammoth Lakes about 2:00 PM. The vistas and the 7,900 foot elevation took our breath away. I had called ahead and asked about an early check in, so they allowed us to get our key right away. The hotel was older, but the room was clean and the staff was friendly. The fellow on the desk had no problem splitting our bill between two credit cards. They also had a cavernous underground parking garage.

Good warning for another season

We went for a drive looking for supper and found the Good Life Cafe. They had an interesting menu. Sherm stuck to his regimen with a large Cobb salad while Sandy coerced me into splitting a Monte Cristo sandwich. That was wrong in several ways. Bread and white icing sugar. But it was good.

Back at the room, I sorted the photos from the day and transcribed my notes, but went to bed without writing the story to go with it. That's what tomorrow is for.

Today's Route (255 Equinox miles):

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