Saturday, September 20, 2008

In Which Sundry & Hydra are Ferried About Town - Saturday 9/20/2008 (Part Three)

Also in which Sundry and Hydra never make it to Hydra's birthday lunch in Indepedence, opting to have their Tahoe slowly lose power and die in a red zone at the edge of Lone Pine, CA. Pop. 1665, elevation 3733.

We met a nice man who stopped to see if he could help. And a nice sheriff who looked about 26 years old checked to make sure we were okay while we waited for the AAA tow back to the garage we'd already talked to.

They'd have to do a bunch of work, and they were about to close until Monday. I don't want to go into the gory details of the difficult conversations with the angry mechanic, who is the only mechanic in town, who everyone says overcharges.

Also in which we find out how a photographer entertains herself while waiting for a tow.

This is outside one of the public buildings in Lone Pine, across from the film museum. You're instructed to look through the pipe to see Mount Whitney on a clear day.

See it?

View of Mount Whitney on a cloudy day.

We heard several people look through this and laugh as we sat there...waiting.

Dee dee dum. Oh, look at the cool thing that has fallen from the tree overhead!

Our ride arrives.

We are simultaneously thrilled and frightened to find that we have to ride inside the Tahoe while it's being transported on the back of the truck!

We've never been down this road before! (Neither has the Joy Luck Duck, seen here hanging on for dear life.

Hydra waves like the queen as we are carried past the homes of those who have to actually drive their vehicles from one place to the other.

Our destination for the time being. Sigh.

We got a ride back to the campground, about five miles away, with a woman associated with the shop somehow. Maybe angry guy's wife.

She said her great grandpa Bill built the shack on top of Mount Whitney.

Whitney Portal Hike - Saturday 9/20/2008 (Part 2)

We ventured up to Whitney Portal, the place where fearless mortals begin their climb to the top of the tallest mountain in the contiguous U.S., Mount Whitney. So cool that WPA workers built this trail for us in the 1930s. What a great thing the WPA was.

Hydra enters the breach. The big rocks make me feel like a little kid!

Hydra overcomes his usual shyness and busts loose with some melodrama.

Falls at Whitney Portal.

Here we go, about to drop about 5000 feet in 13 miles. This is the road that is going to put the Tahoe in the hospital.

A view of the Alabama Hills from Whitney Portal Road.

Return to Manzanar - Saturday 9/20/2008 (Part 1)

We visit the Manzanar National Historic Site every time we're in the Owens Valley, which is once or twice a year for the past eight years or more. They've been slowing adding information and restorations, including a really wonderful interpretive center.

If you're traveling through you really must stop and explore.

This is the entrance to the graveyard. People have hung origami figures all around it.

The central monument in the graveyard.

People put mementos on the monument. This apple came from one of the trees in the orchard here. Manzanar means orchard in Spanish. There was a very small town here by that name around the turn of the 19th Century.

One of the baby graves.

The ranger at the interpretive center told us that they'd made progress in excavating Peace Park, one of several gardens built by the Japanese-American internees during their time at Manzanar. We'd seen the standing stones before, but the painted writing had worn away.

This is amazing! This was taken from the newly excavated basin of one of the intricately constructed ponds. Dirt used to come almost all the way up to the rocks and covered many of them. The site's much bigger than we realized from what used to protrude.

The ranger told us they'd removed as much as four feet of sand!

Elk tracks near Peace Park. They have the run of the place and it seemd like they might actually have been frolicking here earlier in the day!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cultural Lone Pine - Friday 9/19/2008

Hydra went out to the Alabama Hills--where lots and lots of movies were filmed, including Iron Man--to scan the dirt with his metal detector while I hung out at the coffee house in town and started reading Braveheart's fab new novel.

After a few hours, I wandered over to the Southern Inyo Museum and struck up a conversation with the volunteer there.

Most of the stuff in the museum started out in the now defunct Darwin Museum. But Darwin's pretty isolated and dwindling.

Lots of locals have donated personal histories and collections, like the one that includes some pretty cool skeletons and bugs. From talking to the volunteer, it seems like lots of people stop in and tell him bits and pieces of history. I hope he writes them down.

These are books that contain images of livestock brands that were in use in California. I was surprised at the number of them in the book from 1926, which is on top. There are 2 or three columns on each page.

Oh, the book underneath it? California Brands in 1980!

In the evening, we went to the film museum for a screening of Mule Train (1950) starring Gene Autry. The big Lone Pine film festival is held the second week of October every year, so they are gearing up and there are some interesting new exhibits. We didn't get there early enough to see much, so we missed the Iron Man exhibit

I'd like to see this movie here sometime. I've seen it several times, of course. Gene Autry is really no Gary Cooper!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Upward and Onward! - 9/18/2008

My tribute to John Ford.

The view from our camper around six a.m. Wow, are we glad we took off last night. There's no water or electricity at the campsites, but the refrigerator actually can run on gas so our yogurt was fine.

Gorgeous morning and we're here for it! See the moon over the rock?

Don't worry, no encounters of the third kind were in the offing.

We decided to take a different approach to this cliff than we did last year at this time. There's a photo on this post that shows Hyrda at the top of this cliff.

Yeah, okay, I'll admit it. There was a point shortly after Hydra scaled this rock and jumped over a two-foot gap between boulders when I froze up for a little bit. I had gotten us into this, but I couldn't quite hoist myself up to the next level (which would still require me to leap a veritable gorge of some 24 inches.)

My legs are not as long as Hydra's. I couldn't quite get a knee under myself to move up his route. And there was a nasty space between the rocks on my optional path that really looked like a great place to break an ankle.

Mind you, I had a hiking stick in one hand and a water bottle and a camera hanging from a strap slung over my shoulder as I was attempting this. Hydra came my way and took the stick and the strap and sort of talked me through it. "You can do it!"

Yes. I can.

We really pushed our boundaries on this hike, both of us. Big rock climbing, thinking our way through the tumble of boulders, pushing past fear.

Heh... Hydra was a little shocked when he saw the photo above... "That's not me!?"

We took a nice calm dry creek bed back toward the campsite. I think we deserved it!

This was the view from our campsite at Boulder Creek. We had a nice day of walking around nearby Lone Pine, CA, reading and relaxing. Bought some groceries at Joseph's Market (established 1895!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Red Rock at Night, Camper's Delight - Wednesday 9/17/2008

After work on Wednesday, we tossed what we needed for the night and the next morning, and the birds, and clothes in to the Tahoe and hooked up the trailer and took off.

It's only about an hour and fifteen minutes to Red Rock Canyon, and that gets us 1/3 of the way to our destination for the weekend : Lone Pine, CA in the Owens Valley.

We arrived at the campground just before dark. There's no water or electric, so we didn't even unhook the camper. We had propane, so I heated up some hot dogs.

If you'd told me when I was in high school that I'd be living in California and I'd have a parrot for a pet, I might have asked for my fortune-telling money back.

But if you'd told me that I would lie on my back one evening and watch a million stars ease into view while my darling played guitar to the rocks, I would probably have bought that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ghost Trees - Tuesday 9/16/2008

Can you see them?

Taken from the sidewalk in front of Braveheart's house, 5:30 a.m.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Faygo - Sunday 9/14/2008

What? Doesn't everyone take her groceries out to the yard for a photo shoot?

OneL has never heard of Faygo. Never heard of Faygo!??

I guess it was a regional thing. It was and is bottled in Detroit. Maybe that's why I haven't seen it in years. It's being sold at BevMo stores in California as a novelty.

Faygo Redpop, the orignial Redpop. Once my beverage of choice. I remember sitting on the basement stairs with Anabahabek talking about the elections. We both decided on Hubert Humphrey, so I guess you could say I've been a Democrat since I was seven years old.

Faygo Cream Soda. A little rarer than some flavors. I remember it being a special thing to walk to a little neighborhood store from my Grandma B's house in Huntington, Indiana to buy a pop. I vividly recall tilting my head back and swigging as I barefooted it back to her house on the hot sidewalk.

Faygo Rock & Rye. It says "Cream Cola" on the bottle. I don't remember having this, but then I've never been a huge cola fan. Cream cola? I'll let you know.

Faygo Orange. Was it Faygo Orange or Nehi Orange I fed to a pony in Kentucky when we were on vacation? You got to ride the pony and you could buy it a drink after. Quaint.

Anabahabek and I bucked the cola-as-a-mature-drink trend and sipped orange soda all through high school. Rebel, rebel... Sing it girls!

Faygo Grape. I remember reaching down into the icy water of the old fashioned cooler at the back of Goss's Grocery at Big Lake to fetch a cold one. Everything tasted better after a swim in the lake.

Hiking and Eggplant - Sunday 9/14/2008

Yeah, I admit it. I couldn't think of a snappy title to combine the concepts of hiking and eggplant Parmesan.

I feel like such a failure.

Our boots post-hike. Another nearly two hour trek around the peaks. We went from our back yard to Sundry's mountain all the way back to Hydra's mountain. A first!

Loverly eggplants from Sanchez Produce.

Mom sent me a recipe for eggplant parmesan that she found online. I couldn't say when the last time was that I used a whole quarter cup in a recipe that didn't result in a cake.

The finished product. Fans include mom, me, Hydra ("You can make this again!") and my writing group.