Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Alabama Hills - One More Time

Tuesday, May 23
We thoroughly enjoyed the unseasonably cool weather the last 10 days. The cool temps allowed us to stop at Valley of Fire. We are paying for it now. We got away from the brake repair shop in LV about 1 pm and made it Amargosa Valley, where the temp reads at the century mark. There is a nice roadside rest area and we thought we could run the generator for a few hours and stay cool. The generator started normally and ran for a few minutes and quit. I tried it again with the same results. It has always worked flawlessly. Turned out the air filter was clogged up. Can’t imagine how? Grin

Anyway, we wimped out and went next door where they have hookups. The AC has been running non-stop for over two hours and we are in partial shade. 

Wednesday, May 24
From Amargosa Valley through Death Valley to Lone Pine. The single destination that Dorothy wanted to do this year. It’s always more magnificent than we recall it.

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Dear Diary, This should be of interest to only you and me. In case I ever have to do this drive again. Here’s what I should expect.

Leave Beatty at 3,500 and immediately ascend to 4,300. Then it’s downhill for 13 miles to a narrow section of Death Valley at 157 feet. This is where we unhooked the Jeep.

Then a long gradual climb to Townes Peak at 4,977. Then 9 miles down to Panamint Valley at 1,168. [Noted gas was $4.48 at Panamint Springs] Now you go up to 4,800 feet in the Saline Valley. Yes, this valley is up from the last one. The twisty road slowly climbs to 5,200 before you descend to Owens Valley at 3,700 feet. 

Slight up 800 feet
Then down from 4,300 feet to sea level
Up to Townes Peak to 4,977
Down to Panamint Valley at 1,168
Up to Saline Valley at 4,800 - 5,200
Down to Owens Valley at 3,700

More concisely:
Three ups totally 9,800 and three downs totally 10,700 in little more than 100 miles.                 

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We are parked 800 feet higher than Lone Pine in the Alabama Hills. The temp was warm, but a breeze made it quite manageable. 

Gas in Lone Pine is 3.65, a buck and a dime more than in Nevada.

Thursday, May 25
We were up at 5 for the morning light show on the Sierra Nevada, which started at 5:15. We needed long sleeves for an hour. We have been coming here since 2002 and the place is now well known. We could see five other RV’s parked in the distance when we went outside. All are parked in locations where they have privacy, but no view of the Sierra Nevada.

The Morning Light Show

 Our Parking Spot

 Cotton Like Plant

For nostalgia, we drove to the Mt. Whitney Portal. Only five miles from our parking spot, it’s another world. The stunning walls of granite rising straight up. The waterfalls splashing down with the snow melt. The air temperature 30 degrees cooler. The Hills look like slag piles in the distance.

I think our last significant hike was to Lone Pine Lake several years ago. We very much enjoyed it. Dorothy’s stressed her feet on the way down and they have not been the same since.

Friday, May 26
We had breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe. They serve way too much food, which is the reason we like it. Dorothy had the Humphrey Bogart Skillet and I had the Clint Eastwood. The former has bacon, the latter sirloin strip with eggs and potatoes.

We took another nostalgia drive today up Horseshoe Meadows. It features sweeping views of the Owens Valley and a side-long look at the majestic Sierra Nevada.

We spent the afternoon reading. The thermometer read 80 degrees, but we got cool and had to put on long pants and shirts. 

Our parking spot is near the famous arch. Today, we saw two couples walking with their maps in hand looking for the arch. We told them they had passed it. In fairness, you have to be alert to find it and not take any shortcuts.

Our neighbor is a free climber. He makes it look so easy.

Saturday, May 27
It’s is such a treat to wake and see the light show on the mountains. This is one of the best parking spots we know. [This is our sixth time here. 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2017] Dorothy wants a home exactly where we are parked. I suggest we obtain on the BLM signs “Closed for Restoration” to put on the trail to enhance our privacy.

Dorothy got an upset stomach after coffee, took a long nap but recovered by 11 to prep Chicken Piccata.

Sunday, May 28
Our last day in The Hills. Lots of people touring the roads, lots camping in our “private space.” They were no bother. Would stay longer, but it’s hot.

The JUICY rental vans are quite popular. We just can not imagine that anyone with any self-respect would rent one.

Monday, May 29
We went an hour north to Bishop. The place was hopping. Our fav restaurant was closed. We got groceries and filled the gas tanks at the Indian Res. Only $3 a gallon. We parked at Horton Creek because they have a dump and water and we needed that. Still too hot. Headed north in the morning.

Tuesday, May 30
We went up Sherwin Grade unhooked. It’s only a 2,500-foot elevation gain, but it takes 10 miles to do it. I had forgotten how great the Sierra’s are in this section. We parked at Convict Lake, which is pretty busy. Fishing season just opened here.

Only 82 here in the afternoon. Much better.

At least someone remembers us. Our granddaughter used our car last week. When she pulled into her driveway, our grand dog went bonkers when she saw the car. You see that car sometimes brings her ham bones and other good things. When our grandkids see us drive up, it’s not the same, more of an “Oh you are here”.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sitting here looking at a beautiful beach in Portugal and wishing I was in the Eastern Sierra.