Heading west towards California, we crested Montgomery Pass, 7,160”, and began the descent into Chalfant Valley, a verdant slice of land between the Silver Mountains and the White Mountains. There was an inspection station that straddled the road, just one lane wide, it looked more like a drive-through garage, where a wind-blown young woman questioned us about any fruits, vegetables or plants we might be importing to California from points east. After admitting to being in possession of oranges we had brought from California, she said we were fine as long as we had purchased them from a store in CA. We didn’t feel compelled to admit that we had picked them ourselves and they could very well be infested with California bugs.
In Bishop, we stumbled upon a lovely community park while looking for a place to park the rig while we ate lunch. There was a fenced dog park adjacent to a cottonwood-shaded people park, with a stream coursing between them. A large pond, with a resident duck population was surrounded by tennis courts, a skate park, horseshoe pits, jungle gym, picnic areas and a community garden. We walked the dogs around the park and then left them in the car, parked in the shade at the dog park, while we went to lunch. We had thought we might spend some time shopping in Bishop, but decided to head directly to our campsite just south of Big Pine, Tinnemaha Creek.
The campsite at Tinnemah was not disappointing only because of our low expectations. We positioned the trailer in the shade of some spindly trees and went off to explore and photograph the area.
Back at camp, I chatted up neighbors to find some ice for our wine. Our fellow campers consisted of fishermen who were there for the opening day of trout fishing so it was a pretty good bet that there would be ice aplenty.
We were settling into our beds, Mila to watch a Netflix movie and me to write in my journal, when Mila asked me to look at something she felt on the back of her neck. There was a big, fat tick, making his way towards her hair. Soon I found one on my own neck and a night of paranoid itching ensued.
Tinnemaha Campground proved to be an adequate place to stop for a night, but we agreed we wouldn’t consider it again. Clustered beneath high-power lines, were about 30 campsites. A stream flowed past some of the sites but ours was some distance away which proved to be advantageous when the campers along the stream grew boisterous and ran their generator through the night. By 6:22 A.M. I was ready to pack up and head down the highway when a bearded, portly fellow fired up his quad, bedecked with an American flag, to awaken his cronies, but which also served to annoy those who were still enjoying the stillness of the morning. I had been awake at 3:00 A.M. to walk the 50 yards to the pit toilets and enjoy a view of the rarely seen Milky Way. I’d forgotten my glasses so the bejeweled sky was a mess of pin-prick lights. The Big and Little Dippers were obvious, but my poor vision and scant knowledge of astronomy limited identification of anything further.
When we finally crawled out of our warm beds, we agreed that making coffee in the confines of the trailer, which by now looked like someone had tossed a hand grenade in, was too labor intensive. We fed the dogs, packed up the trailer and headed for the Alabama Hills Café.
We stopped briefly at the Manzanar internment camp. The first two tar-papered buildings that had been reconstructed to display the office and living area for new arrivals was so disturbing that we found neither of us were inclined to further explore the barracks, canteen, hospital, etc. I have toured the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and, while what was done to the Japanese in this country doesn’t compare with what the Jews suffered under Hitler, the emotions evoked by the two memorials felt very similar.
The flagging spirits of the end-of-trip, dampened by the uncomfortable memory of Manzanar, made further exploration along the way unappealing, so we skipped Fossil Falls and headed for home. Note to self: don’t end a trip with a visit to a memorial.
10 thoughts on “Homeward Bound”
The dogs always are in the expedition, Judy. . Never tired and beautiful .
This looks like a desert area and I am surprised tofind a pond there.
the dood at the restaurant should be exquisite if I appreciat by Myla’s face ! 🙂
The landscape is mystical .
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Michel, I wish you could visit this country! It is so vast and varied. Having traveled in Europe, I can see that the U.S. isn’t as user friendly for foreign travelers. Landing at De Gaul airport in France, I was immediately struck by all of the signs being in French, German and English. LAX by comparison, has English only. In our defense, we have so many different cultures here that it would be hard to choose just three, but we could try adding Spanish for starters.
Love the trip photos. And I have to agree about memorials – When in DC we visited the Holocaust Museum. It was so disconcerting that the rest of the day was spent in a funk. I had nightmares and the next day was so out of sorts that I’m afraid I put a damper on Sparky’s enjoyment… Ticks -ick! We went geocaching and Sparky found 2 on himself. The rest of us (including the dog) were tick free!
My girls are on a 90-day oral anti-tick thing called Bravecto. I’m leery of putting chemicals on my pets (the cats object strenuously to the ones you squirt on the back of their necks). I imagine the Bravecto isn’t exactly health food so I use it as sparingly as possible, as in spring only, and then I watch them carefully for any sign of discomfort. So far so good.
I know people who have visited Auschwitz and I can’t help but wonder why they would subject themselves to that. I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was very young, that and Black Beauty scarred me for life. The older I get, the less I can bear thinking about the cruelty of mankind.
Ok, that biscuit looked both amazing and huge!
But I’m looking at the non-food pics, I couldn’t help but agree with you about the interment camp. I picked up up the dissonance just from the pic. More happily, the old mining equipment looked like a set from Mr & Mrs Smith. Might just have to give it a watch again and see if it gets credited as a filming site!
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I haven’t seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith; I’ll have to look it up on Netflix. It’s always fun to see places you’ve been on film. My guilty pleasure du jour is Emily in Paris for that very reason.
Yes, the biscuit and everything else is amazing at the Alabama Hills Cafe but please don’t tell anyone else as the place is already standing room only. But, if you’re driving through Lone Pine, look for it off the main drag; it’s worth the wait.
I love these places. I spent my youth traipsing way off the grid with my ghost town hunting western pulp writing father. Always in search of another crazy local legend, a dusty liquor bottle in a leaning building, rusty antique machines, half strung pianos, rude donkeys… mining camps, towns, deserted saw mills. Long before interstate hiways made all their connections. West Texas, New Mexico, Colorado… thanks for the redux!
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Your youth sounds like my idea of a good time. Having a writer for a dad sounds so much more fun than having a dry cleaner for a dad.
Wonderful photos on the last few posts but none better than the one of breakfast. The simple pleasures of life are the best!
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Beautiful photos thanks for sharing your experience 😊☺️