Bridgeport, CA to Yerington, NV

She’s getting pretty close to home; and HOME just doesn’t seem like the right word. She doesn’t belong there anymore. The open road and a new backyard every week or so is testing her heart. The lifestyle feels good. It feels right. But there’s work to be done and she must move toward that before she can move away from it.  

They say goodbye to Mono Lake. The horizon is aglow with this beautiful sunrise …

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Disappointingly the ghost town of Bodie, just north of Mono Lake isn’t open due to a closure for building inspections after the earthquake east of there in Hawthorne last December.  Something else to put on the list for next year. And she did find two roads on the north end of Mono Lake that looked like they led right to the shoreline, but they didn’t become obvious until she was upon them and no time to stop. TWICE!  That will be added to next year’s list.

Back out on 395 she continues north to Bridgeport.  The crest of the highway reveals this sweeping vista declaring that winter is refusing to give up it’s hold. DSC_0001 (3)

As Freedom rolls into Bridgeport where an intended boondock was located it looked to be right at the snowline so that camp was scrapped. She continues on taking the scenic route, Highways 182 and 338 , which lead to Yerington, NV for the following one night stand–So to speak!

 

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The Walker River just north of Bridgeport

 

The leg from Bridgeport to Yerington is a very pretty drive, following the Walker River for quite a ways and there are several rock canyons to navigate, beautiful ranches and fertile valleys.  She has it planned to take this route again next year either coming or going to Quartzsite. 

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Aren’t you DONE yet?  Stop taking so many pictures!  We want to see our next backyard!

She wasn’t sure she would do that again—the RTR—but she’s made some new friends that she wants to keep in contact with so two weeks enjoying that is planned for next year.  And it’s WARM. This past winter in Arizona was the best!  It’ll be like having a double dose of spring this year; one in Arizona and one back in Cali.

Tonight’s sleepover will be in the Wilson Canyon Rest Area. She hasn’t put in an overabundance of mileage today–dragging her feet and silently screaming “I don’t want to go back!!”–but it’s unknown what lies ahead. This is a beautiful spot to enjoy for the rest of the day and into evening. And it’s quiet even though it’s an OHV area on the bald mountains beyond the Walker River.  Yerington can wait until tomorrow.

It’s still a bit cold for the birds to be nesting I think; these must be from last year.

                                           Raven?                                                  Oriole?

Sunday, March 19th we are up early and she feeds the boys and makes coffee.  She fires up Freedom and away we go, headed to Yerington.  It’s so nice to have beautiful scenery and very little traffic to deal with. The perfect way to travel.

Monday, March 20th — Yerington, NV for our overnight stop; another rest area, not even picture-worthy, but it was quiet. We are the only ones there for the night.

 Tuesday. An internet check shows no places to boondock for a couple of days so it’s probably going to be a rest area again tonight. The boys are not liking less time out in a camp and more time confined in the van, but the lack of boondocking opportunities in Nevada make it necessary. 

We have to take I-80  and it looks like tonight will be yet another rest area.  At least last night’s stay enabled the dogs to be staked outside for a few hours in the evening, but being right off the freeway tonight will be different. There is ample area for some walks though.

Wednesday morning she is in no hurry to get moving. Beginning to sound familiar isn’t it? The boys get a nice long walk in the huge dirt area behind the bathrooms in the rest area then she putts around as long as she dares. It’s been well over the 18 hour limit for parking here; she can’t put off leaving much longer. 

Once we get moving and are headed west the plan is to get fuel in Sparks at the truck stop then a stop at Reno’s Winco grocery store to stock up for house living for a few months. That taken care of it’s a night in the casino parking lot at Bordertown. Poor Burger and The Chiweenie Brothers aren’t going to like this! Tomorrow will be the 150 mile drive that will be the end of this adventure.There won’t be much to write about so it will be a bit of a break with the blog for both her and you.

She thanks you kindly for your continued interest and looks forward to the next installment, whenever that may be.  Hopefully in just a couple short months. The plan is to take care of business and then head to the coast and do a meander northward along Hwy 101 to the Canadian border.

  Happy trails and enjoy spring! Shawna

CURRENT READ:  Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way

 

Mono Lake

Continuing our adventure taking the “scenic route” we travel on, and what seems like forever, make it to Lee Vining. First stop is the information center for Mono Lake. It is closed for the winter. The parking lot has a few vehicles in it; people resting or having a snack. The bathrooms are closed, but the garbage cans are available and I take a little sack of garbage over and rid myself of it. I can barely keep my eyes open so I give the boys a quick potty break then curl up in back for a nap. I don’t rest well, overly tired I think, but I force myself to just stay horizontal for about an hour.
Time to find a camp;  it’s later in the afternoon and we need to find a place to park so I head back out to 395 and find Test Station Road which should take us to Picnic Grounds Road where there is supposed to be a campsite. A few miles in on Picnic Grounds Road I have to turn around as the creek in that area has a higher than normal water level and the road is closed. We turn around and head back toward the top.
I find several spots with what, to me, is too much sand and I will not attempt driving down them. I stop and take some long distance photos of the tufa towers along the shoreline of Mono Lake. DSC_0047 (1)DSC_0046 (1)
Read about tufa formations and Mono Lake HERE, and see some close-up photos of these interesting formations.
I find a very large parking spot higher up that even has a campfire ring so I know others have camped here. That’s all I need. It’s closer to 395 than I would like, but traffic noise is very minimal and we are calling this home for a few days.
The view is spectacular. Mono Lake to the front, the snow-capped Sierras behind.

 

Thanks for coming along on our adventure! Hugs, Shawna

The Scenic Route

After our night in the Alabama Hills we continue north on Hwy 395 with the goal being a campsite off Silver Canyon Road near Bishop and a few days of nothing but resting up. The heat has taken its toll on us.

Either I read the directions wrong or the information is incorrect because the campsite is NOT just a mile off 395, it’s more like 25 miles and the road climbs at a good 6% almost the whole way. I couldn’t tell you for sure, because I decide I do not want to subject the van to that 6% up and again back down and I turn around.

I settle for a spot just off the road once it levels out again which I am hoping is BLM land because once I park it I don’t want to be run off and have to find something in the dark which would be my luck.  I choose this site because it looks like the public has definitely been here; ATV tracks and empty shotgun shells, and some broken glass litter the area. The road is pretty decent though and there’s actually some SHADE so we park it.

I didn’t find out until later (from a stone marker and plaque) that the area is called Zurich Station where once was a railroad station. The only thing left is the huge concrete slab floor of the building and the loading dock, dilapidated and rusting. The dock was pretty high and that’s what gave us the shade.

Next morning we head out with a campsite just north of Bishop as the goal; we still need a few days rest and I don’t care if it’s just a few miles down the road. Today wasn’t to be our rest day either. The site mentioned on the freecamping web page has dump trucks running back and forth along the canal. NOOOOOOOOO! 

Nothing to do but move on. A stop at Von’s in Bishop for some gas and a block of ice also yields some information on the Hwy 6/Hwy120 “scenic route” which starts in Bishop and comes out in Lee Vining.  Sounds good to me.

The scenic part isn’t all that scenic it’s pretty much the same ol’ landscape but eventually about 25 miles in the high desert begins to give way to some ranches with green fields and juniper trees are beginning to show here and there.

We get to Benton where Hwy 6 turns into 120 if you go left and there’s a sign that says 120 is closed.  CLOSED!!!  Oh no!  I drive a little farther and see some men working in the local park; I stop and ask about the closure. Apparently they haven’t removed all the snow as of yet, but he tells me that if I keep going until right where the road is actually closed and take a left I will be on what’s called Benton Crossing and it will take me back out to Highway 395 just south of Mammoth.  It’s either that or back the way we came. I hate to backtrack so it’s onward for us.

We come to where the road forks and it looks like a mini Alabama Hills here, but the rock formations have juniper trees growing amongst them.

DSC_0031 (1)DSC_0030 (1)The road is two-lane, narrow, and very winding. We begin the climb in elevation. We hit snow, but the road is absolutely clear and dry. The plow has been through here a while ago it seems.

We reach the summit and the dogs get a break to check out the white stuff

We eventually get to 395 and there’s still a lot of DEEP snow in them thar Sierra Nevada’s. I am not sure how many miles we drove today. Probably around 150 which isn’t all that much, but being tired to begin with and add the tense driving of the detour I am ready to call it a day. But there’s no place to even stop for the night once we get onto 395. All the rest areas are closed.  We need to get to Lee Vining. It’s only 25 more miles, but I am ready to collapse.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

The Alabama Hills!

The Alabama Hills!  Named after the C.S.S. Alabama, a Confederate warship responsible for wreaking havoc during the Civil War, prospectors sympathetic to the Confederate cause named their mining claims after the Alabama and eventually the name stuck.DSC_0029 (1)

There’s a sharp contrast between the rounded, oddly shaped Alabama Hills and the chiseled ridges of the Sierra Nevada. Made of similar granite rock, the hills were subjected to a different type of erosion known as chemical weathering.  They are spectacular and eerily haunting.

Although I would like to have stayed for several days, one night was all my sinuses could take.  The Hills have heavy traffic, especially this time of year, and the roads have already been ground into a fine powder. And there’s no shade, and the days are getting very, very warm. Freedom got to 85 just before it started cooling down with the setting sun.  Maybe next year it will be a bit better at least weather wise, and I have a campsite all picked out that is away from the main traffic of Movie Road.

The huge flat area between “The Hills” and the Sierra’s is known as Movie Road where many films, some TV, and sections  of films were shot. 

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Movie Road’s credits: Gunga Din, How the West Was Won, Tremors, portions of the TV show Maverick, Django Unchained, The Lone Ranger, Gladiator, and Iron Man to name a few.  New to my Bucket List is to watch all the movies made here.  *smile*. 

The only flowering plant I saw in the Alabama Hills were a couple of scarlet milk-vetch, or locoweed. Hmmm. Wonder how it got that nickname?  DSC_0017 (1)If you are ever travel 395 and Lone Pine, California, the Alabama Hills should definitely be on your “to see” list.  

Arising before dawn the next morning gave me the opportunity to try and get a shot of the setting full moon over the Sierra Nevada.  DSC_0018 (1)DSC_0023 (1)

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!  Hugs, Shawna

 

Owens Lake and a Decision

Waking up early in Walmart’s parking lot after our first ever blacktop boondock, I run inside and grab a few grocery items then take the dogs for a free run in the dog park. While they’re busy getting acquainted with some new friends I take the opportunity to check the oil in Freedom and make a quick swipe across the windshield in an attempt to clear off a few bugs.

Dogs exercised, van ready to roll, I point her nose back toward the main street and out to 395, then north. I have been considering going into the west side of Death Valley so Olancha will be our next stop and a side trip to see Owens Lake and possibly Death Valley.

It’s later in the day than I would like so we stop at a large pull out on Hwy 190 right across from Owens Lake where the road gives us a choice. Death Valley to the right, Lone Pine to the left.

Owens Lake and the towns of Olancha, Keeler, Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine, and Bishop all have had their water basically stolen from them by the County of Los Angeles.  Read about it HERE.

I take some photos of the dry lake bed (although there is some water in it due to the wet winter this year) with the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada’s behind it.DSC_0034

Because the China Lake Naval Weapons Center is nearby, there’s frequent jet flybys. I try to get a shot without power lines in the frame, but never accomplished it.

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In the morning I am still hesitant about heading into Death Valley and because I think I am too low on gas to make the round trip I nix the idea. Next year I will plan for it.

We turn left and head toward Lone Pine, 19 miles away.  Following the east shore of Owens Lake we come to a spot in the road called Keeler and  a “Historic Marker” ahead sign.  The historic marker is the old town cemetery of little Keeler.  I stop and get a few photos.

We will camp in the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine tonight.

Thank you so much for your continued interest in our adventures. Hugs, Shawna

Current Read: Rising Sun by Michael Crichton

What’s in the Night Sky:  March is fireball season and they should peak around the change in seasons from winter to spring. Venus will only be visible until the 25th  when it dips below the horizon.  You can still see ——— in the early morning sky.

CACTI and SHEEP

You’re in luck today! Another post with little talk and a lot of photos. Bet that makes you happy J

It’s really warming up here; full steam ahead to be hitting 90. We will hang around for one more day, maybe two and try to catch the beavertail cactus in full bloom. Almost there, but if the dogs become too uncomfortable we will head out whether we catch the bloom or not. In the meantime enjoy this morning’s treat: The bighorn sheep we spied on Mojave Mountain.  Oh for a longer lens! 

 

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Spy Planes?

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Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! Hugs, Shawna

WHAT’S IN THE  NIGHT SKY: Venus is nearly gone. It’ll pass between Earth and sun on March 25, 2017, leaving our evening sky.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

I wrote previously about it being a small world and it gets smaller and more surprising.  Camping at the OHV dispersed camping area has its merits and its drawbacks. And some surprises! 

After moving the van to get a little farther from a camper who runs his generator about 10 hours a day, I find a pretty darn good spot right at the beginning of the OHV road that leads to lots of fun for those who have ATVs and love the rough and tumble of it. People and rigs are always coming and going so a new neighbor is nothing out of the ordinary. You just never know who will show up at any given point in time, and sometimes it’s a real surprise.

 

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Michael and Sammy the dachshund/Australian shepherd cross

 

  As these things go we happened to be outside at the same time our newest neighbor was and chatted a bit. The usual conversation ensues: Where you from, how long have you been traveling, full-time?, regrets, etc. When asked where he is from Michael says, “Redding.”  WHAT????  We chat some more and share a little more about ourselves and why we are choosing this lifestyle.

Inevitably when one travels in a small recreational vehicle (van) the question always comes up; were you at the RTR? Michael has been full-timing for almost a year now loving the freedom and cost-effectiveness of traveling in a smaller vehicle. This year was his second attendance at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous. I tell him, I too, was there but with 440 plus vehicles camped in the same general area we didn’t run across each other.

 

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Sam the Adorable shows what he thinks of people who run their generators waaaaay too much 

 

I mention my blog and tell him I will give him a card if he is interested in reading about our adventures, and he says he is.

I have had this nagging feeling that I have seen him somewhere, but darn if I can remember when or where. Nothing comes to mind. After some time camping here he says he will be leaving in a few days. Fortunately I remember to give him my blog card.  Long story short, after giving him the card and him finding time to check it out he tells me that he has already been following my blog for quite some time. I didn’t make that connection because of the lack of knowing a last name, and he didn’t know that it was my blog that he was following until we started talking about it. That’s where I have seen him; his profile picture! What a delightful surprise! Not only is he from my area, but he’s been following my blog, too.

 

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Spoiled Fur Boy

Michael and the absolutely adorable Sam leave this morning, headed for Pahrump and then into Death Valley to see what will probably be a super bloom which happens after a significant late winter/early spring wet spell. I’m hanging around Havasu waiting for the cacti to bloom here. It’s beginning to get hot so I hope it’s soon, because we need to move on, too.

 

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You ready to hit the road Sammy?

 

How very delightful to have met you Michael! Hugs to you and Sam. May you be blessed with safe travels and many wonderful memories.

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs! 

 

 

IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTERALL …

You just never know when you’re going to run into someone who actually knows where you live when that place is a small town. Most people haven’t a clue until Redding is mentioned then they can get a general idea of where it is. It happened to me today, that someone actually KNEW where we came from.

Just past noon I catch some movement out of the corner of my eye and a woman carrying something in her hand is approaching the van. The dogs have already started to raise a ruckus. Charlie is so intent on greeting the approaching woman that he launches himself out of the playpen and starts jumping up on this lady and she’s trying to keep him off her. I am doing my best to get out there quickly but I have to put my shoes on and contend with the baby gate that allows me to keep the van’s side doors open without the dogs escaping.  I finally get out there and corral Charlie and calm Fries down, thankful Burger is in the van, all the while wondering what in the world this woman could possibly want.

She stands there clutching a bag of something and as I turn to keep Charlie away from her I ask if I can help her. She says, “Oh, we were just wondering if you were all right. We are in that fifth wheel over there,” pointing to the west and across a small gully to a fifth wheel and white pickup.  I tell her I am fine and she can tell from my expression I guess that I am wondering just why she thinks I may not be alright. She says something to the effect they were worried and wondered if I had a way to cook and enough to eat.  She had made some chicken and that’s what she had in her hand and what the dogs were after. She had brought it over in case I was “in need”.

We chat a bit, she asks where I came from. When I tell her about my small town in the mountains of northern California she almost drops that chicken and tells me they lived there for 20 years. More chit chat reveals that she knew my Aunt Grace and it was her daughter-in-law I hired to help with Grace a couple of years before she passed. She says they now live in Red Bluff and I tell her that my youngest lives there. Her mouth drops open and she covers her mouth with her hand and I can tell she can’t wait to get back to her vacation home on wheels and tell her husband about her discovery.  Small world, and I am touched that they care. And she takes that chicken with her.  Dang.

 

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Part of the OHV Road and Where We Walk Most Mornings

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There seems to be an assumption out there that those who travel small are destitute, have lost their homes, or come into some other calamity that forced them to live this way; we couldn’t possibly have CHOSEN this lifestyle.  Many, many people simply do not ‘get it’.  Don’t get me wrong, I am touched that there are people out there that care that someone may be in need. The world needs more of that. On the other hand, it’s wrong to assume that just because someone travels in a van they are destitute. It’s simply a smaller version of a “motor home”, and yes many of us have chosen to do this.

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 I will continue to travel/live in Freedom. I can go anywhere that would remotely interest me (sand roads excepted! LOL) and not have to worry about parking.  I can enjoy things in the cities as well as my boondocking camping preference.  The van gets decent gas mileage. Decent, not great, but towing something or driving a larger rig would be much, much worse fuel wise. I like the fact that I can carry everything the dogs and I need in this smaller package and still be comfy and cozy and very, very mobile  able to go just about anywhere easily and conveniently.

DSC_0032.JPG                                       Do  you see the profile of a face looking heavenward?

Thanks for stopping by 2DogsTravel.  We appreciate your continued interest in the blog.  Hugs, Shawna

WHAT’S IN THE NIGHT SKY?  March is fireball season, around the equinox.  A fireball is just an especially bright meteor. Northern spring and southern autumn – for a few weeks around the March equinox – is a good time to see one. It’s fireball season — a time of year when bright meteors appear in greater numbers than usual. In fact, in the weeks around the equinox, the appearance rate of fireballs can increase by as much as 30 percent

Wildflowers

I used to think the desert was ugly, but it is actually a very beautiful place.  There’s much to see and wonder at any time of the year, but when the wildflowers bloom … WOW!  Enough said. Enjoy.

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Desert Chicory
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Name, please, but I think it’s of the morning glory family

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This beautiful little thing is called a seaside petunia (seaside???)/midget petunia and isn’t much bigger than a pencil eraser. It grows right at ground level.
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Beavertail cactus getting ready to put on her show
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Another Phacelia
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Sun Cups/ Yellow Cups

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My Little Wildflower, Charlie

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Brown-eyed Evening Primrose

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