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.
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