Our Eastern Sierra Trip 2019

Our Eastern Sierra Trip 2019

Oct 19–Day 1

Left home at our preferred time of 10AM and drove straight through to Bishop, arriving at 4PM. We checked into the J Diamond RV park. OK place in the middle of town. Met the neighbors. Nice couple. Two kids. Their boy, who was turning one this week, was determined to walk everywhere on his own and not minding falling on a regular basis. Their about to be 4 year old daughter was a real chatty-kathy. Turns out her 4th birthday will be November 20…one day older than Carter. They lived and went to school in San Diego. Confessed they probably spent more time surfing than anything else. They recently lived in the Bay area, but decided to hit the road full-time. Over the next couple of years they wanted to find the best place for them to settle down and raise the kids.

Oct 20–Day 2

Not a cloud in the sky. Headed up Bishop Creek on highway 168 to Lake Sabrina, South Lake and North Lake. It was soon obvious we where a week late to catch the good fall colors. Any color that was left was at lower elevations. Lake Sabrina was packed with tourists and fisherman. No color at all. We decided to pass on North Lake, but check out South Lake. Half way up the road there is a pretty cool waterfall and some color.

On the drive back to Bishop we checked out a couple of campgrounds along Bishop Creek. Good news…fall colors where still hanging on along the creek.

Before settling in for the night we took a quick trip east of Bishop to check out Owens River and to explore a ghost town we found on the map just west of town. After 20 minutes on a bumpy, dusty back road it became obvious the ghost town was long gone. We did go by a cool looking cemetery just off the road. Pretty big. Lots of grave markers. I went to check out the place. Maybe it would turn out to be what’s left of the ghost town.

But…as it turns out the folks of Bishop really love their pets. Yep, it was a pet cemetery. Complete with grave stones and markers. Lots of their loved one’s favorite toys and chewies where neatly placed on the graves. Too cool!

Our neighbors parents arrive in their camper. They’re from the bay area and avid sailers with two boats on the bay.

Oct 21–Day 3

Headed north out of Bishop to check out Convict Lake. Been there several times. We usually have to place to ourselves in October. This time the area was overrun with bussed in tourists and lots of fishermen. No glassy water, but some color still in the trees. Coriena found several good compositions looking through the trees to the mountains in the background. She does know how to find the best “framed shots.”

From Convict Lake we headed back south and left highway 395 at McGee Creek. Followed the road south to Tom’s Place. Beautiful drive. From Tom’s Place we headed west along Rock Creek Road. It’s a beautiful drive up into the Eastern Sierra all the way up to the tree line at 10,000 ft.

Got some cool Rock Creek pic’s. Loved the drive.

Headed back to 395 and a quick trip back to Bishop. Mac & Cheese for lunch. Short nap and worked on my images for the rest to day. Good Day.

Oct 22–Day 4

Left Bishop and headed north to Lee Vining for six nights.

Spent the afternoon working on the big picture plan for working out of Lee Vining. Areas of interest included Yosemite High country via Tioga Pass, the Mono Lake area, Virginia Lake, Lundy Lake and maybe Bodie. Stay tuned.

Oct 23–Day 5

Early morning departure up Tioga Pass road. First stop along the way at a terrific waterfall and canyon scene.

Continued on to Lake Ellery for a mirrored water composition with the sun just beginning to rise above the Mountain.

Tioga Lake had nothing to get inspired about. No mirror, poor light. Turned onto the gravel road to Saddleback Lake, a mile and a half away. The river/meadow scene along the way was terrific.

The lake is nothing to shout home about, but loved to challenging drive along the river.

Head to Tuolumne Meadow. Harsh late morning sun, no clouds, dried out brown meadows.

That’s when the engine warning light came on. Not good when you’re miles from any help if it goes real bad. We took our time to get back to Lee Vining called GMC in Carson city. They couldn’t take us until next Tuesday. Call Reno GMC and they could take us that afternoon. 2 1/2 hour drive, but we made it. They would run diagnostics in the morning. So, we left the Big Boy truck with them and rented a car to get back to Lee Vining. Half way back GMC called and said they were able to run diagnostics. The results were not good. The turbo charger needed to be replaced. We could take the chance and limp back to San Diego. But, with having to tow the Airstream, the risk Big Boy could not make it was too high. GMC had the parts in Reno and estimated two to three days to get the work done. With the weekend that would mean next Tuesday or Wednesday if all went well.

Good news was we would be able to extend our camp until Wednesday of Thursday, the last day the camp would be open for the year.

Oct 24–Day 6

Good news call from GMC. the Big Boy would be done Monday, Tuesday at the latest. So, we extended our stay through Wednesday just to have a little insurance should things not go as planned.

Worked on images. Took a couple of walks along main street. Ice cream at the frozen custard stand hit the spot. Grabbed a photo of the motel on main street we stayed at the first time we visited Lee Vining many years ago.

It was the rickety, unleveled floors of the motel that inspired us to buy a camper trailer. We have never looked back!

We took an early evening trip to the Mono Lake Museum then drove to Black Point on the north side of the lake. The trip along a very rough, one lane gravel road was worth it. The Islands were the big attraction from this side of the lake.

Decided to check out the sunset possibilities on the south side of the lake. the light was fading fast, but got a couple images from near Tufa Point.

Pasta dinner. Right Stuff movie. Starting to get pretty cold. But, a nice night.

Oct 25–Day 7

Nice drive south to June Lake. No color, but it’s always fun to get into the mountains.

From there, we went further south to the Obsidian Dome area. The geological scene was spectacular.

The geologic history of the Eastern Sierra and the Great Basin is what makes the Eastern Sierra so great.

Oct 26–Day 8

Took the day off and just hung around camp reading, quilting and playing with images. Nights have been real cold. In the teens. We disconnected the water every night, relying on the internal water and pump if needed for the toilet. Heated worked nicely. All’s well.

Cool clouds forming over Mono Lake in the AM. Headed to the west end access road just north from our camp.

Really liking the pic’s I got from there. Settled into relax mode again.

Oct 28–Day 9

Connected with GMC. Good news the Big Boy is all fixed. Headed to Reno. They brought the truck out and the emergency brake cable was hanging on the ground. Good grief!! Michael who did the turbo job had it fixed in less than ten minutes. Headed back with the Big Boy to Lee Vining. Settled in and got everything ready to leave first thing in the morning.

Oct 29–Day 10

Headed out to Lone Pine at 9AM. Checked in by noon. Settled in for another day of relaxing. Some local dining. We earned it.

We did think about heading over to Alabama Hills, but the air quality sucked…lots of haze. Good excuse to stay put and be ready to leave for home in the morning.

Oct 30–Day 11

On the road home from Lone Pine. Very high winds, but all went pretty well until we got to the 15/215 split. We always take the 15. No sooner had we taken the 15 when brake lights went on and everything stopped. We crawled for the next hour and a half. Five 18 wheelers had over turned in the high winds. Lots of smoke from the Hill fire near Riverside that just started not long before we passed there. Pretty ugly. We pressed on, but the high winds kept us from going much over 45 MPH until we got to Temecula.

Home at last.

Monterey & Big Sur 2016

Monterey & Big Sur 2016

We made a quick trip in early November to one of our favorite places…Monterey. We stayed at the Marina Dunes RV Park about half way between Monterey and Moss Landing. Nice setting, but a little too much traffic noice from the Coast Highway. Fortunately, it was a shot walk to the Marina Dunes Beach.

Lots of big surf…

And sunsets on the beach were very cool…

The majority of the time was spent at one of our favorite parks…Point Lobos

I spent some time working on my long exposure techniques. The resulting photos are surreal…

We have driven by Point Sur Lighthouse many times, but never stopped. Several days a week Point Sur is open for tours.

Lots of hiking to get to the top of the hill, but the views were worth it…

The lighthouse itself is being restored by a very passionate volunteer group…

This is a light on display similar to the original that the group is working to get returned to the site…

The workshop is filled with original tools…

With Moss Landing just up the road from our camp, we couldn’t pass up a visit the slough and our friends the Sea Otters…

We finished with a quick trip up the coast to Santa Cruz to catch the Monarch Butterfly migration

Mom& Dad’s 70th

Mom& Dad’s 70th

June 23, 2016…70 great years…1 great family

And it all started here…

We put together a super video to celebrate the moment…Click on Mom & Dad to watch!

Easter 2016

Easter 2016

Every Year the annual easter egg hunt takes place in our backyard.  The eggs are filled with cash. So, Connor and Julia are very competitive…to say the least!

Julia is quite proud of her haul…

Connor Just flies all over the place…

Still looking for the hunts biggest payout…the Golden Egg…

But…for the first time this year, just finding the Golden Egg was only the start. It only contained the first of many clues they had to track down the find the big jackpot…

In the end, all goes as planned and they count their loot…

A Baltimore Spring–Carter Time

A Baltimore Spring–Carter Time

April, May and most of June found us in Baltimore helping the kids out while Dustin was away at Jimmy John’s training. Here’s the full story (minus the Great Flood) as told by Carter…

Click on Carter to see his version of things!!

Yep. It was a great chance for us to spend real quality time with Carter and Chrissie. And the timing of the trip allowed us to be in Baltimore for the closing of our Jimmy John’s franchise deal.

Carter says…Go jimmy John’s!

Valley of Fire 2016

Valley of Fire 2016

From the Grand Canyon we headed to the Valley of Fire, just north of Las Vegas.  Over the years living in Vegas we had the opportunity to make several trips to the Valley of Fire.  It never ceases to amaze us.

Pictures don’t do this special place justice…

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Like everywhere in America, Indians tamed the land and left their marks for us to wonder over…
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The nights were clear and crisp. But, the lights of Las Vegas many miles to the southwest made photographing the Milky Way very challenging…
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Grand Canyon in the Fall

Grand Canyon in the Fall

This was the second time we have headed to the Grand Canyon.  The first was in February of 1971.  We had been married only a couple of weeks and had just settled into our new life in Las Vegas.  I had just started my training in the F-111 at Nellis AFB.  Long story, short… We booked a donkey trip down into the canyon. We hit heavy snow around Flagstaff.  Almost ran out of gas.  Slept in the car.  But, we finally made it to the canyon.  It was still snowing heavily. When we asked to cancel the donkey trip, a very surprised ranger said “Why cancel? The donkey trip never cancels because of snow.”  We played our wimp card and got our money back and went skiing in Flagstaff.

The plan this November was to spend a week or longer at the canyon.  But, on our second day…guess what


This time we didn’t need to wimp out.  We were warm and cozy in the Airstream and stormy weather makes for some great photo ops.

The canyon is spectacular in every way…

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Denali National Park

Denali National Park

After a great week on Prince William Sound we headed off to Denali National Park.  The last week of September is the last week to park facilities are open.  If you like to have a national park all to yourself,  the end of September is the only time to go.  Even with a few days of snow flurries, the weather was quite mild.  No…the weather was perfect!

The bus system can get you anywhere you want to go.  But we were determined to see some moose.  So, we spent most of our days in our own car driving the main park road that had the most “watch for rutting moose” signs. Unfortunately, moose cannot read and were no where to be seen. Regardless, the country is spectacular.

We did one bus tour that took us 90 miles up to Kantishna, the last stop on an amazing, winding, gravel road that is only open to a few cars that have to enter a lottery.

The country was amazing…
Fall in Denali Park

The Dall Sheep was the icing on the cake…
Dall's Sheep in Denali

Dall's Sheep in Denali

Dall's Sheep

Dall's Sheep in Denali

The Ptarmigan at this time of year are just starting to turn white. In a couple of months they will be pure white…
Ptarmigan in Denali

Prince William Sound Aboard m/v Discovery

Prince William Sound Aboard m/v Discovery

The “Alaska Season” is pretty short by Lower 48 standards.  May through September is about it.  We decided it was about time we see some of the wonders of that wonderful, wild place.  Since we can’t help ourselves, when an interesting adventure that centers around a boat, we opted to join a Sierra Club Adventure to PrinceWilliam sound aboard the classic motor vessel DiscoverySitting just off Harriman glacier.

Waiting Off Harriman Glacier

Click here to see a short a video slide show of our amazing adventure…

There was no shortage of critters in Prince William Sound…
Glad we were downwind from this amazing gang of Sea Lions
Sea Lions near Dutch Group, Prince William Sound

Around every bend we we were entertained by Otters like these guys
Sea Otter Along Port Wells, Prince William Sound

There’s nothing quite like a Dall’s Porpoise enjoying the bow wave
Dall's Porpoise Along Port Wells, Prince William Sound

I was anticipating at least a few bears getting in a late meal of salmon. Unfortunately, by late September all we saw of the salmon were their scattered remains. Consequently, the bears where no where to be seen.

We saw only a couple of humpback whales during our week on the sound. And they were a long way off spoiling any photo ops. I suspect most were already headed out on their migration to warmer waters to the south.

A few more Discovery pic’s…

Harriman Glacier

Day 5 Hike

Day 5 Hike

Waiting Off Harriman Glacier