The third stop on our tour of the Eastern Sierras is to a city called Bishop. We are staying at our second BLM campground just outside of town called Pleasant Valley Pit Campground.
Up a small gravel road we went as a caravan as three… which was shortly going to turn into an Airstream rally of four. Hello there, Aluminarium!
Brian and Leigh from Aluminarium actually told us about this campsite (and the last one also) and I am so glad they did. You can’t beat a view like this and for only three bucks a night! It was nice, peaceful and safe, just like they said it would be… until we showed up! Haha.
Oh look, it’s Luka… waving like the sweet little boy he is.
Wait a second. Why is he holding a pink sock?
And my shoe?
For our first night together, our impromptu rally of 14 Airstreamers met up at the local bowling alley in Bishop. The restaurant inside of the alley actually had great reviews online and it did not disappoint.
And of course, since we were at the bowling alley, we played a game or two and got to know each other a lot better.
Not sure what is going on in this small town but they have really good food here. In the morning, we hit up another delicious place called Schat’s. (If you chuckled a little at the name, congratulations. You have a 3rd-grade sense of humor like me.)
Tin Foil House and the 1337stream crew decided to drive into the snowy mountains to see the oldest living things around. Dan and the girls also wanted to go but I was the jerk that made us stay back in town instead. I don’t trust the brakes of the van after our descent from Death Valley. So as a consolation prize, we went to a hot spring on the other side of town.
Ava liked it for a second, until she had a flashback to Balmorhea State Park in Texas and had to be carried out of there. We visited that park on our first cross country trip in 2010 and swimming with fishes was so traumatic, she talks about it whenever she is around any body of water, even normal swimming pools. Poor kid. We really screwed her up!
What is this? A picture of me and Dan on the blog. Together? It’s a miracle. Thanks for the photo Ava 🙂
It turns out is a good thing we didn’t drive up into the mountains. The last couple of cold nights had dump a few feet of fresh snow at that elevation. The roads were not plowed and I would have freaked out. We will be back again… with new brakes and no snow.
Back in the Airstream, the girls got to try out some Schat’s baked goods. Yum yum yum.
The cookies must have been really good because it brought over Orbit from the Tin Foil House crew. Our cat was not amused.
This is what our afternoons look like… aka Happy Hour.
But it’s a little hard to sit back and enjoy a cold one when you have a little desert monkey on the loose.
The kids are getting along really well. They can run around like crazy and be as loud as they want for the most part.
Once the sun set, we all gathered in Tin Foil House’s Airstream since it had the most space.
The table was the perfect size for an impromptu game of poker. And guess who hustled everyone that night? Dan. He won all the pennies. Woohoo. We’re rich!
It is actually a nice treat to camp with people we know and trust. It is hard to be on the road sometimes with a break from watching the kids 24/7. But at a little rally like this, I know the kids are safe with whichever adult is outside of my Airstream door.
Have I mentioned the views here in the Eastern Sierras?
The drive into town is a pleasant one. Lots of greenery and plenty of animals to look at.
What another delicious restaurant in town? Are you kidding me? Not sure what everyone else ordered but I ordered a Dirty Hippie (a veggie burger topped with bacon) and it was perfection. I was a vegetarian for a bit before kids and bacon was the gateway meat for me. Mmmmmm bacon!
On the way from Lone Pine to Bishop, we passed by Manzanar National Historic Site and knew we had to get back there in the next day or two.
Manzanar was one of ten Japanese relocation camps in the US.
In 1942, after Pearl Harbor, over 110,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese aliens were ordered to leave their homes and relocate to this remote military-style camp.
This is how we look like when we are doing the Junior Ranger program with the kids. One is paying attention, one is whining about something, and one is on the loose.
The visitor’s center is very comprehensive with lots of photographs documenting this terrible time in our past.
Not much is left from the original camp. All of it was torn down sometime after WWII. All that is left are these concrete fountains where buildings once stood.
They did recreate some of the buildings so you can get a feel for what the camp looked like back in the 40s.
The kids had a few questions about the camp and we feel like we handled them the best as we could.
One of the videos that they showed at the visitor’s center kept using the word ‘jap’ over and over again. A few hours after our visit, we overheard Mila tell her sister that jap means Japanese. I hope whoever overheard that conversation didnt take it out of context.
The kids were happy to earn another Junior Ranger badge with their new friends.
If you are ever driving to Mammoth, Manzanar is worth a stop over.
The kids seem to gravitate as a group from one trailer to the next. Today it was our turn and they enjoyed reading books together and pretending they were in school.
Since we were boondocking this whole time, we eventually had to roam around looking for a fresh water to refill our tanks.
We found some fresh water from an antique pump at a park down the street from us. Ava had a blast pumping water. All of the other pumps like this that she has seen have been non-operational. But not today!
Back at the rally, we had to say good-bye to Aluminarium. We had a blast finally meeting them in person after being online friends for awhile. Thanks for introducing us to BLM camping. We are hooked!!
I hope Aluminarium’s ears are ringing too much from the crazy girls that love to scream that were parked next to them.
The remaining three Airstream decided to stay one more night to enjoy these views a little more before we travel to our fourth and final stop.
Until next time, Bishop!