Bishop – From Rags to Riches

We were famished when we came off the trail so it wasn’t a hard sell to talk me into going to Schat’s Roadhouse for lunch/dinner. Sally talks me into eating dead animal flesh a couple of times a year and this, she insisted, was the place to toss my scruples aside and have a burger. The youngster who took our order misunderstood our request for coleslaw INSTEAD of fries, so we got both. As you know, I can resist everything but temptation, so I ate them too. A certain amount of misery ensued as our overburdened digestive tract struggled to cope with the heavy food.

But, walking back to the room, we passed a gorgeous, nay opulent, hotel that had several outdoor seating areas strategically arranged along a clear stream, freshly descended from the Sierras. Since there were several unoccupied chairs, I suggested that we sit a spell and soak up the ambience and digest. We assumed that rooms here would be well beyond our means, but just out of curiosity, Sally looked it up on her phone. The web site claimed we could get a room for only a few dollars more than we had paid for the room with the bowl shaped mattress and the green pool. Disbelieving, we went to the office to confirm. The lovely desk clerk said, yes, there was a vacancy and yes, the room was just $159 as advertised. AND, yes, there was a secure storage room for our bikes. Without further discussion, we decided to spend another night in Bishop and reserved a room for the following night.

Having slept very little in the over-heated room in Lone Pine and then spending five hours on the trail, I had no trouble sleeping with Sally sharing my bed in the vintage motel room. Compared with Mike, she’s a huge improvement in the bed partner department. She barely moves, she doesn’t snore, and maybe more importantly, she doesn’t complain about my snoring. And she farts a lot less.

We stopped to admire this mural on our walk to breakfast.

In the morning, we were in no hurry to hit the trail since it was still quite cool…so cool in fact that I was compelled to buy another jacket and a down vest at the used gear store. I’ve lost count of how many jackets and vests I own, at last count I think it was between 20 – 30. But when the rare day comes that a jacket is required here in Southern California, I always have the exact right one for any casual occasion.

We made our way to Eastside Sports to take Mr. Easy on the Eyes (EotE) up on his offer of sharing bike trail secrets. I stole the following picture of him from his web site.( He directed us to a trail we never would have found on our own that proved to be a lot of fun…until it wasn’t. It also proved that he was NOT a bike rider.

The trail was hidden behind the electric plant and was accessed via a narrow bridge that we pushed our bikes across. The stream was running fast and deep and we assumed cold but were not tempted to test the waters.

After a short ride on a dirt road, we stumbled upon a singletrack that resembled a cow path. It grew increasingly interesting with rock gardens that, had we been familiar, we would have ridden through. But, the unfamiliarity robbed us of the confidence necessary to thread between, and in some cases over, the rocks and we ended up walking in several places. Eventually, the singletrack dumped us back onto the sandy road.

L.A. Water & Power controls the water in the Owens Valley. While there are numerous signs that prohibit camping, there was nothing to deter daytime recreation.

We doggedly continued uphill until we reached a place where the sand was simply too deep to climb. We turned downhill and rode as fast as we could, trying to stay on top of the sand until we came to a slightly better trail. After only a few miles, we gave up hope of finding any trails that were suitable for our 2 1/2″ wide tires and old lady legs and began to make our way home. Closer to the stream we found a nicely hard-packed dirt road that took us back to our starting point. Now it was time to go back to town to enjoy our new digs.

The room was pretty comfortable too but we spent most of our time outside.

In the morning, we made one last trip to Schat’s Bakery to stock up on olliebolen for the trip home. For you non-Dutch folks, I think the English translation would be something like oil balls. They’re lumps of dough, stuffed with apples and raisins, deep fried, then rolled in cinnamon sugar.

A visit to Schat’s Bakery wouldn’t be complete without a ride on Dough Boy.
The biggest lupine I’ve ever seen.
If you ever watched the movie Chinatown, you’re probably aware of the nefarious movers and shakers who moved the water from the farmers of Owens Valley to the orchards of San Fernando Valley, soon to become the suburbs of L.A.

The drive home was punctuated by this photo stop. Having learned from previous travels down this highway, we did not stop at the Manzanar Interment Camp.