Monday, November 20, 2017

Down the 395 in eastern California

Well, it seems the batteries in my calendar died again, or something.  I had no idea that time continues on – even when I’m not updating the blog.  Things have been happening, and we have been on the move since my last entry.  First off, the mouse situation has gone from poor, to bad, to downright pain in the butt.  After catching none all summer at home, it seems they have now found the secret to illicit entry!  It could be worse.  I don’t think any of the mice are inside more than a minute or two before one of my strategically placed traps have them captured, dead or alive.  But how/where they are getting in is still a mystery.  We spent a few days camped near Travertine hot springs, near Bridgeport, Ca before friends Doug and Dale showed up on their way back to BC from LA. 


They only stopped for one night, but it was good to catch up on the news, have a bbq, and have a couple of soaks in the springs.  Nights were cool, but the days pleasantly sunny and warm.


Because of quite a few days spent at Travertine hot springs, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stop by all the springs in the Whitmore Tubs area further south.  But it was early in the day when we reached the area, so it was decided to make a brief stop, perhaps not over night.  I was quite disappointed in the deteriorated condition of the pool at Wild Willy’s.  People have been digging away at the mud banks around the pool to the extent that there is hardly a bank left to hold the water in.  Pretty soon, it will just be a warm stream, with no pool.

Fuel prices at Lee Vining …


In the morning, I turned around upon seeing how many cars remained in the parking lot, but decided to walk down for a look anyway.  Surprisingly, there were only 4-5 people at the springs, and they wandered off before long, leaving the whole area to myself.  That was when the two bathing suit models showed up with a photographer.  But no bathing suits.  And they left their shyness at home, too.  Sorry, no photos of that, but later it seemed that they were talented hoop dancers as well.  An impromptu performance broke out on top of an old ambulance converted to an RV in the parking lot.


Heading on south down 395, the next stop was in Bishop, where the diesel prices on the reserve by the casino provided a bit of relief from the higher prices elsewhere, and the propane was filled there as well.  The only auto glass shop in town was too busy to fix my windshield chip, but after some food and grocery updates, we were back on the road south to Lone Pine.  Movie Road, in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine has provided the backdrop for countless movies through the years, and The Lone Ranger and John Wayne likely still roam some of the hills.  It also provides a very scenic backdrop for some camping.


It also provided hours of exploration, rock climbing, and hunting opportunities for the grey mountain lion.IMG_9009IMG_3805IMG_3803IMG_3795IMG_3793IMG_3792IMG_9017IMG_3787



Another friend from back home showed up in Lone Pine, after attending the SEMA show in Las Vegas, so the next few days was spent touring some of the scenic spots in the area, including Whitney Portal and the road up to Cottonwood Pass, where I hiked last year.


After spending about a week in the Alabama Hills, it was time to move on again, this time to Sawtooth Canyon, south of Barstow.  We made a slight detour through Ridgecrest to get the windshield chips repaired, and to stock up and essentials at WM.  I still hadn’t put new batteries in the calendar, so it was a bit of a shock to arrive (late) at Sawtooth, and find that not only all the ‘official’ camp spots were occupied; so were a lot of unofficial off-road places.  Guess that happens when a long weekend you didn’t know about is in full swing in a popular climbing area.  Fortunately, it was mostly over and I managed to get a good spot the next morning as someone was vacating.

Then, John  & Nicole showed up with their brand new Arctic Fox 5th wheel, pulled by a brand new Dodge pickup, and moved in next door.  They seem to have survived the snow that had arrived as they departed their home in BC, and were more than ready for some hiking, bbq, and generally kicking back and relaxing.


Hailey loved doing some rock climbing here too, right at the edge of camp.  I would follow her, wearing my best climbing ‘Crocs’ with the heels locked down, while sipping the morning coffee.  When it was time to descend, I would do so with an armful of squirming cat, no hands, while attempting not to spill any coffee or cats!  No cats, coffee, or humans were injured during this risky exercise.  All those years of mountain rescue are paying off now!


The mice here were even more adept at getting inside, in spite of my attempts to deter them, using lights, strobes, and tinfoil scarecrows.  At least the mice were prone to early capture in one of my many snap traps or my two live traps, though it kept me busy emptying them all.  But that all changed when a kangaroo rat got into the basement.  He was like a bull in the china shop, making a constant racket as he scratched, banged, and rattled things.  Opening doors to provide an escape did not work, but luckily he managed to get entangled in a too-small mouse trap long enough so that I was able to evict him.  My trap inventory has since been upgraded!  And the search for entry points continues.


I also managed to catch my first real cold in about 5 years while here, so that diminished my keenness to get out hiking, but I did manage a couple of ridge walks with John & Nicole.



  1. I'm surprised that I have not seen the hot tubs on any of the other blogs I follow. Thanks for covering a few of them, I was thinking I might do that on the next trip. With a cat I'd not expect you to have too may issues with mice getting inside!

  2. The problem is, most of the mouse tunnels are not cat accessible, and I don't want her getting snapped by one of many traps. I also don't want a collection of dead and dying mice in inaccessible locations to smell and rot full of maggots ;-) And they are not getting into the living area proper - where she would take care of them - they are contained to a single cupboard, where they are trapped and relocated, dead or alive! She would also love to be under the rig at night, but too many coyotes around for that to be a safe alternative.

  3. Great hot springs. We will check it out next time on the 395. We found quite a few while in Idaho along the river.

  4. Ah nuts! I was hoping for the nude swimsuit models!

  5. Sounds like you were having a hooping good time there at one point. When will we get to see the private 'You Tube' version. Lone Pine brings back great memories for me in 2011 I think it was. Lots of great Hailey photos. Got your email about being in Borrego. Neat-O. Sure wish we were in the Southwest somewhere..................:((

  6. Fresh Cab keeps the mice away.... google it... made and sold by earth link.

  7. Looks like you are enjoying the journey, hot tubs and all. Having mice on board is very frustrating hope you can solve that issue.

  8. In 15 days will going to West AZ. Hope to see you somewhere