Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Oregon Coast, some California coast, then over to the Eastern Sierras

 Before we get started, I think you should check out these videos, in case you missed them in my last post!


Since these videos and my last post ended while southbound on the Oregon coast, we'll pick up where we left off ...


 Except that I seem to have missed my visit to Cape Blanco in the last post !

So, I spent a bit of time wandering around the lighthouse, and down to the beach.  It was a beautiful sunny, and almost calm day, a rare day around here I'm told.

The old road up to the lighthouse is starting to cave in and slump towards the sea.


Despite Oregon DOT's attempts to fill my usual overnight spot off the 101 near Humbug Mtn with stockpiles and ditch cleanings, it still works as a fairly quiet and scenic overnight spot!


Heading into California, the usual, undisclosed location south of Eureka, provided some beach time, and a quiet place to spend the night.  (Another night time, moonlight only shot)(Can you hear the surf?)


First time I've seen pumps like this - the entire thing was one big touch-screen!  Don't love the California prices, but this station was the cheapest in the area.

From there the route was inland on highway 36 through several impressive stands of huge Redwoods, and numerous short construction delays!

We skipped over I-5 at Red Bluff and headed back into the high country near Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Found a place a bit off the highway near Westwood for the night (more moonlight photos!),

but there was a lot of early morning traffic, especially logging trucks.

After taking advantage of some cheaper fuel in the edge of Nevada, it was back into California - where the fruit police now ask 'where is your vehicle registered', for some reason?

 Getting fuel in Nevada lets one avoid the extreme prices in Bridgeport, California.


Weather was nice for a while, so a few days were spent soaking in the hot springs at Travertine.

There was some winter weather on the way, so it was time to head for lower country.  The high wind warning signs were flashing on 395, snow plows were patrolling the high passes in the rain, and it appeared like crews with signs and barricades were set up on both sides, in case the 4-8" of predicted snow arrived.  Winds were not bad, and only a few periods of rain were encountered along the way, and I never heard of any snow materializing to the rear.  Lee Vining now holds my record for the highest prices I've ever seen.  Fortunately, no fuel needed there!

We used to stop at the Whitmore hot springs near Mammoth, but they have really cut down on the places where they permit random camping now.  Regardless, we drove through the area to get an accurate update.

Stormy weather to the north, but the result was some impressive rainbow action.

 Temperatures rose nicely through the descent into Bishop, where it was sunny and warm again.
The next stop along the way was in the Alabama Hills, at Lone Pine, Ca.
This time it was especially challenging since the Whitney Portal road is closed from the edge of town, all the way up to Movie Road due to recent flood damage in August.  There is a detour, but it is extremely narrow, steep, winding with numerous blind curves, but it appears to have brand new pavement.

Admittedly, the Alabama Hills National Scenic area has suffered a lot of overuse and abuse from off-road driving, random camping without toilet facilities etc.  And the BLM has certainly made changes in an attempt to reduce and alleviate the damage.  But, in the process, they have closed off so much, it is now very difficult to enjoy such a spectacular area.  It is (was?) a very popular rock climbing area, but now the entire area where the climbers go is signed 'day use only'!  I would estimate that well over half of the historically used 'camp' spots are now signed 'no camping' or 'day use only'.  While this certainly will help to reduce the overuse and degradation, it means that any camp rig larger than a van or small Class B will now find it very difficult to find a spot to overnight.  I managed to score a couple of spots this time, partly because it is mid-week, but I think it is more because the main access road is closed.  Maybe the rest will benefit the landscape, but doubt that I will return unless I downsize substantially.

Well, that's a wrap.  The blog is officially 'up to date' for the first time in quite a while!
Don't expect this timeliness to continue ;-)



  1. Keeping the blog timely while you're traveling just isn't going to happen.
    The 'Day-Use' areas of the Alabama Hills are mostly on private land under the control of the LA Water Authority. Some heavily used parking by the popular arches remains as BLM but no longer permits dispersed camping. Nice you found a spot, we typically use Fossil Falls and just day trip to the Hills.

  2. Yes, there are some signed areas under LA control, but most of the new signage is all BLM,

  3. Sorry to read about your run in with the Elk. Glad to read you were able to keep moving south. Beautiful pictures of your journey. Safe Travels.