Monday, May 28, 2012

Mammoth Lakes CA to Pahrump NV

Sunday, May 28, 2012

We awoke to sunshine!  The night was great in the lodge and breakfast in the old lodge living area with a fire flickering in the huge fireplace was wonderful. Just a normal continental breakfast but the surroundings added a lot!  

The temperature was still hovering around 30 and the snow was still here and there as it had been last evening but now the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  Jane took a few photos of the lake and mountains and we packed up and drove back into town.  

 We stopped at Schlatz Bakery and bought some rolls for lunch and a couple pastries for a mid morning snack. This bakery was A#1 in the area – they had everything!

We returned to CA 395 south and the miles clipped by.  We made a stop in Bishop where we received word at the Ranger Station that the road into the White Mountains was closed due to snow. The Bristle Cone Pine – oldest trees in the world – over 4,000 years old are located here. We would have had to hike in several miles in the snow from where the road was closed – no we were not up for that!  Bishop was having a huge Memorial Day celebration – Mule Days – there were hundreds of horse trailers in the fair grounds – with mules nearby!  What a sight. We considered staying but many of the activities were much later in the day or had taken place yesterday.

We continued on down 395 stopping at Manzanar National Monument. This is the location of one of the Japanese relocation and internment camps. This was a huge with over 11,000 Japanese Americans relocated here in the 1942 – 1945.  This was certainly not a high point in past actions of our government. 

Shortly after leaving Manzanar we turned east towards Death Valley.  The mountains here are more colorful than the Polychrome Mountains in Alaska near Denali and the Painted Desert in Arizona. While both of those were beautiful, the color today far exceeded them in diversity and intensity. We were entering Death Valley from the west and the sun was shining on the western side of the mountains – they were just outstanding in a variety of colors. Doubt any of our photos do the colors justice.

At one point Ben just could not resist stopping and collecting a couple rocks. I had been amazed we had not collected any so far on this trip!

We climbed and then decended two mountain ranges into the park.  We began the day 7,000 feet at Tamarack Lodge and 30 degrees.  At the entrance to Death Valley park we were at 4,000 feet and it was 68 degrees; we decended to 2,000 and it was 80 degrees; we climbed again to 4,956 and the temperature went down to 66, Then we decended into the lowest portion of the park at 1,000 feet it was 83- then on further to the Bad Water area where it was 282 ft below sea level – it was 93. The rest of the trip the temperature ranged between 90 and 93. We were lucky today as often it is well over 100. 

Made it

Mustard rock
 At Badwater we stopped and experienced the only real crowd of our trip - there were people everywhere. This is the lowest spot in North American. 282 feet below sea level.

Check the small white sign on the cliff - Sea Level!
 We finally reached the end of the park and climbed back a couple thousand feet to where we are now in Pahrump NV.  There are a number of RV parks here – quite a few connected to casinos.  We had a long list of things we wanted to do so we voted for a no travel day.  We had been away from camping for 4 nights – one for too hot weather, one for too cold weather, and two visiting our friends in San Francisco.  We needed a day to regroup, clean up the Sprinter, change out all the resource materials and plan a little more for the Indian section of our trip.

Saddle West Casino and RV Park won out – it had everything we needed and the price was right too - $20.  It was 6:30 by the time we got settled in so we just walked across a parking lot for a $9.00 buffet.  It was pretty good in fact excellent if you factor in there was no cooking or cleaning up! Tomorrow I will get back into my cooking mode!

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