Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuttle Creek BLM campground

We have been camping near Mt Whitney and Lone pine in a BLM campground for past 4 nights. The price is almost right at $2.50 per night. Plus $5 to dump our wastes. No hookups but the water we can obtain is sweet. This marks our 10th night out since Lee Vining and we have spent $15 on "rent" including waste disposal. Hard to beat.

Not a lot of pix if the camp because I forget to shoot them until away from camp. Will show other pix if area in another post.

This phot actually of the white mountains east if our last campsite north of bishop. It was last morning and just after storm bele through.

Tuttle creek sits at the door of Whitney portal the route to Mt Whitney and just above the Alabama Hills where many old western movies made.

Never been here before so it has been a time if exploration.

We drive up Whitney Portal today.
From 5000 ft to 8000 ft real fast. From sagebrush and boulders to deep forest.

Do I look like Robert Downey Jr here?

I had never seen these high Sierra peaks.

Blessings from the Road

Location:Lone Pine,United States

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Going South and transmission problems

We made as special effort this morning to wake up early to watch sunrise over the High Sierra and saw this.
Sunrise over the High Sierra

Sunday, before the storm hit, we had attempted an ascent to the Patriarch grove of Bristlecones via Silver Canyon.  about 30% of the way up in 4WD (6500 ft elevation) the transmission temperature light came on in Mr. Toad, our jeep.  What?  Never been on before and last year we drove up there via the long route.  Hmm.  Better err on the conservative side as that is not a place to get stuck if you can avoid it.  So down the hill we go.  Sigh.  We have annually visited the Bristlecones for many years so were bummed.
Forward to Monday where we found a local, highly recommended auto shop who took a look and thought perhaps we had too much debris and dust in the radiator cooling area so we had him flush it out.  Should be fine, right?  Since it had stormed the previous night, we decided to drive west up into AspenDell and Lake Sabrina, and North Lake (yesterdays post).  No problems but we only used 4WD on a short steep snowy part into North Lake. 

Forward to today with beautiful sunny weather, we thought we would try to at least drive up far enough to catch a glimpse of the bighorn sheep in canyon before heading south.  

We did get further up when light came on again.  ???  Back down the hill and found the only transmission shop in town who put the computer on it and came up with a wierd error.  He wanted to flush out hte fluid and change the filter, etc.  I called out mechanic John at Volz brothers back in Nevada City who advised we take it to a Jeep dealer for check up and avoid high altitude steep gravel roads.  Ok.  So no Bristlecones this year.  We have one on our dashboard from last year so that will just have make do.
Me at Bristlecones in 2010.  Fatso huh?  hehe

So now we are heading south to Lone Pine area and Tuttle Creek campground to dump waste and find a place to hangout for a few days which has internet and cell service.  We are liking the low price of BLM (free) so will poke around to see what  we can find.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

North Lake and Aspendell

Overlooking the Tablelands to the snow in White mountains wherein Bristlecone Pine forest 
Rainy cold day here in Bishop area.  We had planned to drive up to the Birstlecones but were turned back due to snow.  Sooo,  We spent a couple hours at the Mountain Light Gallery founded by Galen Rowell then headed west up into AspenDell area of Sabrina Lake, North Lake areas below Mt. Tom

Hmm Snow.  gets to try the new tires.
Here are some photos of our afternoon trip.  We actually found some beautiful spots and also some interesting light over the tablelands upon our descent.

Looking towards the White Mountains with nostalgia
Photographing the first photo above (this shot with iphone)
At this higher elevation above 8500 ft, the aspens had all dropped their leaves yet still held an alure.
Aspens in snow

interesting crevice

She was a happy camper to be in the snow
Morning greeted us yesterday
Some flora in the evening dusk light
- Blessings from the Road

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Bishop's Table

Just north of Bishop California, lay the Volcanic Tablelands. Formed 750,000 years ago and extending many miles north, the ledge rises steeply off the valley floor, but then flattens out into a wide-open expanse of high desert scrub. We had heard mention of this location on BLM land from a couple RV blogs we follow so decided to check it out.  Free campsites available!  Just right.  We had recently purchased our first solar panel and were anxious to try it out so figured a wide open space such as this would be perfect place.  The route heads north from Bishop, then turns west a bit, then wide dirt road winds up and through the table of sage, rock and amazing vistas. All these photos are shot with the iphone.  You can see my recent photos of the Aspens here

We departed Lee Vining following our wonderful photo workshop (tease here.  more later).

Just leaving Lee Vining

We stopped at the Paiute Reservation gas station to refuel (best prices in Bishop area) then headed out to the area

Entrance to BLM land 

As we rose up off the valley floor, we took a road which swung west to great us with this wonderful vista

view of high sierra from our new front yard

What a place.  quiet since we were off the main road a ways, except for occasional car passing by.  360 degree view.  What more could we want.  The temps had risen about 10-12 degrees over Lee Vining and it was again Tee Shirt weather.  Spaces in the area were uneven and seemed mainly suitable for vans and small rigs.  there was a couple with an airstream trailer and one other large RV (more like 40 ft or so) parked near by.  Turns out this RV is inhabited by some really cool folks who regularly blog and have written a post about this camping location.

As we were scouting the area, we stopped by to introduce ourselves, however shied away from letting them know we knew who they were.  they are like rock stars of the RV travel blog world.  Perhaps we will meet again down the road.

The evening sun graces the eastern White Mountains outside our back yard

What a vista.  We have been here several days now.  The days were warm and the nights cool.

Morning sun in the high sierra

Then, as predicted, the weather changed.  Severe winds came in forwarning of changes followed by dips in the temp.  We awoke this morning to this sunlight photo in our front yard

Morning again

Weather stayed in the high country although we did get a little short shower.  Yesterday we had begun a drive up Silver Creek canyon, a short cut to the Bristlecone pine forest in the White Mountains, only to find the "temp sensor" light coming on in Mr. Toad (our jeep).  After a few miles we elected to turn around and head back to Bishop.  It was Sunday later afternoon and we were not confident that heading into hte back country would be a wise choice.  Better to get this checked out and try again later.  Gee, we are living this life not on a forced march vacation.  We can do this another day.

Our campsite with weather over the White Mountains

Sure enough, we stopped by a local auto shop this morning and dscovered our radiator had lots of dirt and leaves stuck in it which was causing a reduced cooling of the transmission fluid and engine.  Lucky us.  A little water and air to clean it out and we were on our way!  We spent the rest of this ccccooolllddd day tending to some business things and will try again tomorrow to drive up to the Bristlecone forest.

This area is really beautiful  We have driven through but not stayed so it is fun getting to know the area a little better.

The cottonwoods are in full fall color all over Bishop

Update: we overslept so didn't get theist light shot. There is now snow in the high country.

Fun today as we attempt to drive up silver canyon. At what elevation will we encounter snow? Stay tuned

-blessings from the road

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Silver Lake

The last morning of our photo workshop found us at sunrise over Silver Lake on the June lake loop south of Lee Vining. We waited for the sun to lightly paint the edges of Cathedral peak. Then moved down Rush creek a ways to see what fun images we could make with the light on the aspens and reflections in rush creek. Below are some iPhone photos of this area.

We are camped just north of Bishop on BLM land and experimenting with our power systems. Our new solar panel is charging the batteries well and we have heat and light but we have no means to recharge our computer, so I haven't finished processing the really good photos. Will do so later today at Starbucks. We have a tiny inverter on order so later this week should be fine for future.

- blessings from the road

Location:June lake Loop, California

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fast Car

THe first day we drove up Lee Vining Canyon we found some aspens near the road. As i was photographing them, I noticed some classic cars racing down from Tioga Pass. Was able to catch one as they zipped by.

- Blessings, Kent
Location:Lee Vining, CA

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amongst the Aspens

Life at 7,000 feet elevation is interesting. Especially when you travel a mile in a different direction and you are suddenly at 8,000 ft, or 9,000' or even 11,000. Aspens seem to love the range of 7,000 to 9,000 give or take a few 100. As fall progresses, the cooler temperatures migrate down the slopes turning the vegetation different colors.

Monday afternoon we ventured into Lee Vining Canyon which is the route to Tioga Pass and Yosemite. All the trees at upper elevations had already dropped their leaves, however we turned off the main road, drove north up this switchback dirt road to the canyon directly behind Lee Vining itself. We found a wonderful grove of aspens. Another example of the beauty of Divine Mother in many forms.
Some photos here from my iPhone as I have not had the time to process my "big camera" pix.

- blessings from the road

Location:Lee vining, ca

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mono Lake and the Tufa's

Please pardon the brevity if this post as I attempt to type in my iPhone with Phat Phingerz.
We arrived in Lee a Vining to find all the campgrounds closed due to the earlier government shutdown so we are staying in the little Mono Vista RV park. Wonderful place for an RV park, however our Verizon Jetpack is not doing well so I am limited to my AT&T iPhone for typing.
We began our photography workshop with Michael Frye, last Monday morning with a visit to the Tufa's on south end of Mono Lake. What a fun way to start the week.
Here are some pix from my iPhone. Much, much more to come when I can access internet via my computer when we get to Bishop area Thursday.

- blessings from the road

Location:US-395,Lee Vining,United States

Saturday, October 19, 2013

On the Road Again to Mono Lake

We departed this morning after a big breakfast at our good friend's place in front of which we were parked for past week.  We backed out just fine after picking up, drove down to upper parking lot, hooked up the toad,  dropped off the mail and departed.

Our "campsite" in front of Smallens with my good freind Durga"

Up Hwy 20 to Interstate 80 to Truckee, south on 89 to Lake Tahoe then around east side of tahoe to Hwy 50 and down into Carson City Nevada.

Rest break at Lake Tahoe.  Can you say sunshine?

We turned south on 395 and them pulled into Trader Joes, Walmart, Costco all in one stop.  sometimes convenience matters.  Stocked up with groceries for next week or 10 days while we boondock and camp in forest service campgrounds.  The weather portends to be nice yet cool for a while so this is perfect for fall colors.
- blessings from the road