After a few weeks of doctors appointments and other mundane obligations, we got the hell out of dodge once again and made our way to the desert. Our friends Maggie and Ryan @kaplandia wanted to plan a get together and we suggested the Trona Pinnacles just outside of Ridgecrest at the southern end of our favorite Highway 395. We have never been and thought if we went any later than March it might get too hot.
Maggie and Ryan ended up canceling because of other obligations that could not be changed. We were committed and made the drive out. After 5 miles on a dirt road we were greeted by these 50-ft spires rising from the desert floor.
We hoped to see the blossoming California Poppy Fields as we passed Antelope Valley but unfortunately weather patterns prevented the blooming of the flowers. The best we got were these desert wildflowers here in Trona Pinnacles.
The first to join us were our friends Dan and Michelle. They had a good time at Borrego Springs and got a glimpse of our lifestyle. The kids will be thrilled to have their kids along for a couple of days.
These towers, known as tufas, are calcium carbonate deposits left in the terrain in Searles lake during the Pleistocene era.
We had been worried that the unusually warm days would be too unpleasant for us to be here but we were able to handle the temperature in the mid 80s, occasionally spiking up to low 90s pretty well.
The Trona area is especially well known for its minimal light pollution. That makes for amazing star trails photos. The faint glow in the distance is from Ridgecrest.
We were eventually joined by Cody and Tricia of @OurWanderingRhythm, Brett and Bree of @TheSterlingSpaceship, Kevin and Lianne whom we have missed a couple of times in other meetups and finally Travis showed up with his doomsday surplus military truck with an Alaskan Camper to round out our group.
Travis wins for having the baddest rig of us all.
I will admit that we definitely had some good times during the few happy hours we had together.
Chris and Booby came out for a couple of nights. Booby looks like he is a little hungover.
Just across our boondocking spot against the pinnacles is a small cave right up against the hill.
Inside we found a nest with baby birds hungry for food. Marlene use to be a volunteer wildlife rehabber and we are right around the nesting season with these little guys. We kept our distance so the mom isn’t afraid to come back.
For its strange beauty and proximity to Los Angeles, this is a popular spot for films. We were here when a small crew came to make an art film and got involved when their drone operator was a no show.
They also recruited these kids from Trona to wear these heavy and hot monster costumes.
This might be strange to some of you but nothing is new to these kids any more.
Mr. Luka-No-Pants also made an appearance.
The wind picked up a bit towards the end of our stay and we were joined by another group of RVers that came here to fly kites.
Trona Pinnacles is an amazingly unique place and we loved our time here. But as always, we must move on.
Our entire crew from Trona made the move to Lone Pine to stay at our usual spot of Tuttle Creek BLM Campground.
With Mt. Whitney as our back drop, this is one of our favorite places to camp.
Luka thinks Travis’ truck is the best thing since sliced bread.
Especially when Travis is making bacon for breakfast.
The campground is named after an actual creek the runs through it. Moments before this water flows down the creek, it was snow. You might imagine just how cold the water is.
We were once again joined by Jeff, Lisa and their boys.
That water is COOOOLLLLDDD. Notice none of these kids want to get in there.
Because they know this is what happens when you do.
We also go to meet up with our friends Todd and Russ who are also full timers living in a vintage Wanderlodge motorhome. We saw them as we drove into Tuttle Creek and of course we had to plan a happy hour gathering.
This is their pup Frances. She has her Instagram account.
We just love the eastern Sierras.
We found a log right next to our site at Tuttle Creek that had the name Luka carved into it. I swear we did not do it but what are the chances of this happening? Rumor has it that it is possible some Sam and Jessica of TinFoilHouse.com might have done it last year when we were here but we were camped in the other loop of the campground.
It is not a trip through the eastern Sierras if we don’t stay a few nights near Bishop. As we wrapped up our stay at Lone Pine, the group decided to all make the pilgrimage up the road to stay at Pleasant Valley Pit campground.
On our way up, we could not help but to stop at our favorite spot for lunch in town: Mahogany Smoked Meats.
Yes Booby, I know, these sandwiches look amazing.
Pleasant Valley Pit is a BLM campground with no other facilities but vault toilets and trash. It doesn’t have as much too offer and the campground itself isn’t as nice as Tuttle Creek but for $2 a night, you really can’t complain.
We have stayed here a couple of times before and the proximity to Bishop keeps us coming back.
As soon as we drove up the kids remember this dirt hill they played on last spring with their friend Jack from 1337stream.com.
They will conquer it all over again with their new friends.
Remember this flag from The Dust Bowl in Joshua Tree Dry Lake? It is now part of our traveling gear.
The skies here are a little brighter than Trona Pinnacles and with the moon out, this is the best I could do with a star trails pic.
We always talk about exploring the hot springs in the area but have not done much of it in our past visits.
We have driven up to Keough Hot Springs just south of Bishop once before but didn’t take a dip. It is an easy one to find and this time we went all in.
Not content with just one hot springs dip, we spent another day exploring another one that is more remote near Mammoth Lakes called Wild Willy’s.
There is a boardwalk to take you out to the springs at the end of a 5 mile dirt road.
The kids are much braver than they were before and loved these waters.
There was a point in their lives that if it didn’t look like a swimming pool or jacuzzi, they wanted nothing to do with it. I think this exploration lifestyle has helped to change that.
This is the life. There was another group of people here and luckily there was another pool nearby. They first walked up to our pool and once they saw they kids, they took their case of beer and quickly headed the other way. Works for me.
I just love this part of California. Nay, I love this part of the country… OK, I love this part of our world!
Before we left Bishop, we had to make one more stop at another favorite spot. The Burger Barn. This one they call ‘The Dirty Hippie’. It is a home made veggie burger topped with bacon.
We had an amazing time meeting new friends and reuniting with some others. But our time has come to an end and we need to head back into southern California to get ready for the summer journey up north.
Until next time, Bishop, we will see you around.
over and out,