Friday, September 28, 2007

Wrist Strong, Nation! - Tuesday 9/25/2007

My Wrist Strong bracelet arrived last night! Raising awareness of wrist injuries across this great nation.

Yeah, it's a Stephen Colbert thing. My friend the American in Toronto asked me to order one for her, too, so it's traveling to her through one of the interoffice packages from Burbank to our Northern Neighbor.

It's up to me to keep her on the patriotic straight and narrow, now that she has defected.

You can get your own Wrist Strong bracelet at the Colbert Nation store, and support The Yellow Ribbon Fund, which supports injured U.S. service members and their families while they recuperate at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

For those of you out of this particular loop, Colbert recently auctioned off his wrist cast (signed by Tony Snow, Katie Couric, Tim Russert and others) on E-Bay for just under $17,000, to benefit The Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Back to Work Monday - 9/24/2007

Wow. I guess DermaDream is having their suite painted.

Who knew she could fit all this stuff in those little rooms?

Amazingly, it was all back in there, across the hall from where I work, by the next morning.

And they ask me, "Sundry? Why do you drive all that way to sleep in a tin can and wake up in a valley two hundred miles from your place of business?"

I can't even begin.

Heading Home - Sunday 9/23/2007

Alas, the sun rises on Sunday morning and it's the day of our departure. The first night with no rain and look what the clouds left behind!

We went to the Totem Cafe in Lone Pine for breakfast with our friends. Lookit! Gary Cooper signed their Famous Wall!

We packed up and headed out a little before noon, a little before B&G. We had to drive a bit cautiously with the trailer because you just do, and because there was some gusty wind knocking us around a little. B&G passed us just beyond Pearsonville.

Guess what? B&G blew out a front left tire about a mile and a half from Red Rock Canyon. You don't even want to know. This was the third tire that blew out on this trip! They've now had to replace 4 of the 8 tires that were on this rig when they bought it three years ago.

Somebody at All Valley RV is going to get a talking to, you bet.

Telephoto lens catches Hydra and G walking north along the 14, trying to find the spot where B had cell phone connection right before the blow out. They got a connection, but it was the auto line rather than the RV line, and then it mysteriously dropped service. Aaaah. After about 20 minutes, they decided to catch a ride with us to Red Rock where B used the rangers' satellite phone to call AAA.

G moved the crippled RV by the time we got back to them, and was on a very difficult curve, stopped by the guard rail from going the last quarter mile to RRC. B was steamed. The place they'd originally stopped would have been decent to change a tire.

"I love him, but I'm going to kill him," she said as she got out of the Tahoe.

We went on, figuring we couldn't help any more and that they'd just feel bad about holding us up. I called their son and let him know they were okay when we got back in cell range. He'd been talking to B when the tire blew and coffee flew.

We were very very pleased with our decision to have replaced our cracked trailer tires the weekend before the trip.

Broken RV Vista Point.

Manzanar Revisited - Saturday 9/22/2007

We went out to Manzanar National Historic Site (World War II internment camp) late Saturday, after the interpretive center had closed. If you've followed the blog, you know we've been here before.

I don't know why we're so drawn to it. Maybe it's just the idea that 10,000 people lived here in barracks like these for a couple of years while their businesses languished and their former communities moved on without them.

Maybe it's also partly that when we first visited about 10 years ago, there was just a little sheet of paper noting various landmarks you could pick out, but which weren't very well marked. Now there's a wonderful interpretive center, a reconstructed guard tower (important, because there was actually a book available at the Lone Pine Drug Store that denied that anyone was kept here against their will or that there were even guard towers,) and signs that they are working to restore some of the water gardens created by the people who lived here.

We've been visiting this spot for years. Last year there was no sidewalk and some of the deepest pool was filled with dirt. I climbed all around it, because I suspect that by next time this will be fenced off. It looks like they're going to move the barracks over here, too, because there were unearthed (or recreated?) blocks of foundation concrete on either side.

Looking south past monument at the graveyard. Most of the bodies were moved to other locations when the camp was closed.

One of the interesting tributes left on the monument.

The grave marker of Baby Jerry Ogata.

Here's a link to the photos Ansel Adams took there, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Alabama Hills - Saturday 9/22/2007

I would count this photo as a complete success if it were an attempt to give our SUV a big rock tail.

Since I was really trying to show the extreme angle of our downward progress, I don't think it's really very good. From inside the cab of the Tahoe we couldn't see the road below us at all. This is where faith in physics supersedes everything your senses are telling you and you move forward.

That's Gene Autry Rock looming phalically above us, by the way.

Could we have asked for a more beautiful day?

I think not.

The Eastern Sierras as seen from the Alabama Hills. I've probably told you before that the rocks in the foreground are the same composition as those in the background, they've just been subjected to different extremes of the elements.

A really sweet dog we met while hiking. She was with another dog and two women.

We took the long way home, around the backside of the Alabama Hills, coming out about halfway to Independence on Moffat Ranch Road.

Hydra risks his life to entertain you.

We had fun running around the rocks with our friends G & B. They hadn't been there before. He's very into westerns and collects toy guns. G posed for a shot in the same position as Hopalong Cassidy did in front of Hoppy Rock!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Road to Bishop - Friday, 9/21/2007

Dog in a truck. Not happy that the owner can't be bothered to put the back gate up, but I guess he's not driving too fast anywhere in Lone Pine.

We had to drive up to Bishop to get some work done on the trailer. Yes, those are the skins of cattle. This is real cattle country.

What a trip! The guy who worked on the trailer was so interesting. His name was Monty and the stories he told were worth the $65 an hour he charged for labor. We pulled the trailer in behind the ball diamond in town and he worked on it right there.

All the time he worked, he told us about having been George Jones' road manager for 20 years, and having stopped that to own an RV lot in New Orleans. Yeah, you got it. He was there for Katrina, and held on for about 3 months afterward, feeding people using money that George brought him. Ah, so that was a faint Cajun accent I detected.

He said he was interviewed by the local paper when he arrived in Bishop, and they asked if reports of the conditions in New Orleans were overblown. He said, "It was a nightmare. They don't tell you about the crocs eating on the corpses on the street. Or the rafts of ants around bodies floating in water. We cried every day, every day."

He left there for Vegas, but George called him and said, "How many times we been in Vegas?" "Thousands." "And what do we know about Vegas?" It's no place to live. Since he was broke again, George gave him $700 and said, "Put it in that car and get."

I think he said there was construction on the highway he was on, so he detoured and found Bishop. "Look at this. I wake up to this every day. I been running since I was 16. I'm done."

There was more, but only so much time to write about it. All the time he was working on the trailer, and then showed us how to winterize it so we won't create any more of these plumbing problems next winter.

We had leftovers from the previous night's dinner while sitting in the trailer, along with some treats we bought at Erik Schaat's Bakkery. Even made myself a cup of hot tea. Giggle.

Stopped by the home of author Mary Austin in Independence. If I won the lottery I'd love to buy this place and/or one of the odd collections of buildings you sometimes see in the desert and turn them into a writers' retreat. Or a museum about Mary Austin. Such a great setting.

Back in Lone Pine, we met up with another couple from Acton who traveled with us. They arrived Thursday night and had to have two tires replaced on their RV during the day, while we were in Bishop.

After dinner, we saw the movie Hidden Valley (1932.)

If you’re considering renting this movie, don’t. Just don’t.

It’s sooo bad! They screened it at the Lone Pine Film History Museum on Friday night. Luckily, with a crowd who began to laugh along with me and my party. The plot was full of holes.

The funny stuff was the weird twists and the stunts. Yikes. The stuntman just plants his face in the dirt a couple of times. Falls off a cliff. Gets drug along the desert by his parachute…yes, parachute.

The one interesting thing is that the Goodyear blimp shows up to save the day! The hero climbs up into the blimp, then later says, “Give me a parachute” and leaps out, about 300 feet off the ground. Then floats down much further than 300 feet and smacks into the desert floor…this is when the face-first dragging comes in.

Also, there was no ambient sound between bits of dialog, so when the “wild Injuns” came whooping around the corner of a rock, everyone’s chairs creaked in unison as we woke up and someone in the audience yelled.

But all in all, it was an interesting day, and all set against the background of the Eastern Sierras, where the clouds gathered to sprinkle snow across the slopes. (Pix tomorrow!)

Later That Same Day - Thursday 9/20/2007

Pavement ends? You don't say. (Taken at Pearsonville, CA.)

The cinder cone in the middle of the road. When we go around this, I feel that we are really in the Owens Valley. (If you Google "Owens Valley" you'll get lots of hits about geology and history, etc.)

Pretty new sign painted on the old water tank. You can get tee shirts with this design on them.

The view from our campground, about two miles south of Lone Pine, CA. Not from our campsite, exactly, but from the road behind our campsite.

Wouldn't want to be climbing in those mountains today!

Red (Rock) Dawn - Thursday 9/20/2007

We arrived at Red Rock Canyon State Park Wednesday night after dark, but it was okay! There was a bright half moon hanging in the clear sky and we were able to pull into a long campsite where we didn't even have to unhook the trailer from the Tahoe. We walked around a little in the dark. One of our neighbors was sitting by his fire, listening to what sounded like Native American flute music. Nice.

This shot was taken from the front door of the camper. It rained in the night and was still sprinkling a bit when I took this.

The rig in the campsite. So cool to wake up there!

We hiked up to this interesting formation as our first goal. It's Hydra's birthday hike! Happy Birthday, Hydra!

Hydra explores the broken up back side of the cliffs. These big boulders were impressive!

Scary alien-looking pod beings. What are these?

Atop the ridge. The weather was perfect for hiking. Cool temps and lots of sun.

From this vantage point, it becomes clear why the ranger station was just about wiped out in the floods a few years ago. Yes, that's it down there where all those (currently) dry stream beds converge!

Showing the scale of the mushroom rock that's so impressive. You can see this from Highway 14 as you drive by, but it's worth a stop.

I liked the double rear-view images as we went on our merry way.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I am trying, friends. I was off camping in Red Rock Canyon and outside Lone Pine, CA over the weekend. Can't get the photos to load!