Sunday, June 23, 2019

Boca Campground

Margaret once again relied on one of our most used resources, California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards, for our next camping location. After our grocery shopping in Tahoe City, we headed east on Interstate 80, hoping the road over Boca Dam was open to access Boca Campground. The U.S. Forest Service Website information hadn't been updated for over a year, but it was definitely past snow season; and we figured the dam road should be open by then. However, it turned out that the dam was under construction, so the road remained closed. (Bummer!) So, we went back from whence we came; and using the GasBuddy app, I found the lowest price gasoline to fill up the Roadtrek. That bargain gas station happened to be located in the Historic District of Truckee, CA. What a quaint, fascinating, and crowded few blocks it was. (The immediate area of the gas station was made even more crowded by an Amtrak passenger train that was waiting to depart and was blocking the road.) I think if it wasn't so late, and if we could have found a parking spot large enough, we would have explored the town. As it was, it was nearly 7:00 p.m.; but we thought we had plenty of time before dark to get to the campground and find a campsite. Hah!

Between the directions from the U.S. Forest Service Website and Google Maps, we determined the alternate route to the campground was by way of Highway 89. The highway miles sped by; it was the several miles on dirt roads that presented us with challenges. At a complicated intersection of dirt roads, Google Maps ended up rerouting (unbeknownst to Margaret, the driver). There were California Highway Patrol officers blocking the forest road straight ahead (along with a detainee in handcuffs!). Continuing to follow the app's directions, we turned to the right there and ended up on a jeep track, which was narrow, rocky, and washed out in places. The Roadtrek is not an offroad vehicle, and we were riding high on either side several times to avoid bottoming out. Things were getting tossed about in the back; but Margaret did well maneuvering, and we didn’t tip over. My anxiety levels go through the roof in times like those, but Margaret remained calm and capable. It had been a very long day, my knee was throbbing, and a short scouting walk ahead on that trail hadn't helped it any. The jeep trail didn't look right to either of us and got muddy where I scouted ahead, so Margaret made a safe three point reverse and returned to the four-way dirt intersection.

The Roadtrek in our little campsite with a beautiful view! Photo by Virginia.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Site Navigation Tips

Note that you can now follow or subscribe to this blog to be notified of new posts.
The Amazon Affiliate program didn’t work out, and we really don’t want to clutter up our pretty Website with Google Ads. So, for now we’re trying a tip jar to accept donations for Virginia to afford basic necessities. Any amount is appreciated; no amount is too small. Thanks!

To navigate our Website, the computer/web view has horizontal, named tabs at the top for other pages, such as “About Us” and “Index.” The mobile view doesn’t show the side columns, and page navigation is a drop down menu at the top. At the very bottom of each mobile page, you may also toggle between “View web version” and “View mobile version.”

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lake Tahoe Basin

We arrived at this unnamed free U.S. Forest Service campground off of Luther Pass after dark, but the drive to get there was very scenic. We left our previous location after squeaking out every last minute on their public Wi-Fi. Continuing north on Highway 395, we stayed in California by driving west on Highway 89 and finally to Highway 88 (versus continuing north and entering Nevada). The route was certainly quiet. I think we may have passed only a half-dozen other vehicles during the approximately 40 mile trek through the mountains. We drove through the Carson Iceberg Wilderness, and the West Fork Carson River wound its way beside and under the highway for several miles. At one point, coming slowly around a corner, there were five deer on the left shoulder probably no more than 40 feet away from us. Margaret stopped the Roadtrek, and three of the deer crossed in front of us and straight up the cliff to our right. The two remaining deer split up—one going down the cliff to our left and the other following the first three up on our right. They were remarkably agile and out of sight in a flash!

It was so dark when we arrived at the Forest Service campground that we ended up driving through the entire campground and turning around to try and spot a campsite because we could only see a short distance beyond both sides of the road! This campground is better suited to tent campers, but we managed to find a fairly level parking spot for the night (which turned out to be a campsite, we realized in the light of day). The one nice thing about arriving after dark was stepping outside first thing in the morning and seeing just how wondrously majestic it was in the light of day. Wow! It was definitely take-your-breath-away beautiful! The huge Jeffrey Pines were so healthy, lustrous, and aromatic! Oh, and there were springs and creeks seemingly everywhere! Margaret and I both wonder why such a magnificent campground hasn't been named. Get on it, powers-that-be; this heavenly spot deserves a special name!

The view from our campsite. Photo by Margaret.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest - Bridgeport, CA

After a long day driving and sightseeing at Mono Lake Park and Bodie State Historic Park, we were more than ready to stop and camp somewhere beautiful, quiet, and hopefully with a cell signal. One of our regular sources (California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards) had recommended an area of free dispersed camping in the forest not too far from the town of Bridgeport, CA. After a brief stop for gas and goodies in town, we headed southwest up into Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (toi-YAH-bee) in the direction of Buckeye Hot Springs. Once we left the maintained road, the gravel forest road was a bit rough and quite steep in places; but the directions we had were concise, and we found a beautiful spot to camp under the trees. There were two other groups camping nearby when we arrived, but they were respectfully quiet. We also had two out of four bars LTE, which was a real treat. Especially given how remote it felt.

The Roadtrek, shaded by the towering Jeffrey Pines. Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mono Lake Park & Bodie State Historic Park

After three nights camping on Grant Lake, it was 02 June and time to move on. We had just a few miles to drive to see the lovely little Mono Lake Park. We walked around the park oohing and ahhing over its lushness and the creek running through it. Margaret walked Peaches around in the grass, which turned out to be the ideal rolling stuff for her (see in the video below). It was a beautiful day of about 65 degrees, blue skies with puffy white clouds, a slight breeze, and mostly just the sounds of birds and running water to hear.

 Mono Lake Park. Photo by Virginia.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mammoth & June Lake Scenic Loops & Grant Lake Camping

After our couple hours touring the Hot Creek Geologic Site, we headed north on Highway 395 to the Mammoth Scenic Loop. The drive was awe inspiring! The shimmering pine trees, snow patches, puffy white clouds and cerulean sky...ahhh. We stopped at Lower Twin Lake; and even though the wind chill was nearing painful levels, how could we not gawk?

Lower Twin Lake. Photo by Margaret.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Hot Creek Geologic Site

After staying put for two weeks, it was exciting to get on the road again and to see new sights. Just a few miles north of where we had camped at Crowley Lake Campground, is this fascinating geothermal area—Hot Creek Geologic Site. Margaret found out about this area from the ebook, California Boondocking: The Desert and Eastern Sierra—A Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide by Marianne Edwards, which has been an invaluable guide for us.  Hot Creek begins mostly from snow melt as Mammoth Creek in the eastern Sierra Nevada. It flows east through the Long Valley Caldera, where the water is warmed by geothermal springs at the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery. The geothermal springs come up through two faults as scalding hot calcium-rich water into several pools along the creek at the bottom of the Hot Creek Gorge. Parts of the creek were actually fenced off due to the “geysering” of the hazardously hot water back in 2006.

Driving east on Hot Creek Hatchery Road. Photo by Virginia.

Bishop to Tuff Campground to Crowley Lake

This entry will be posted more than two weeks after our last one—mainly because we stayed in one location for two weeks, and we had no steady cell phone signal while there. Sorry for the delay!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Goodale Creek Campground

Goodale Creek Campground was another beautiful location we were reluctant to leave. Margaret found it using the Campendium app after we'd spent the previous night on U.S. Forest Service Land northeast of the town of Big Pine: a location where we thought we would have a cell signal, some quiet time, and great views. It turned out there was a peek-a-boo signal (which is highly frustrating!), and we also had an incident of a disgruntled, drinking person, who showed up the following morning. He seemed very displeased that we were camping where he wanted to meet someone. He did finally leave without incident.

We ended up driving back into Big Pine seeking a signal and a new place to camp—hence, our lovely six-night stay at Goodale Creek Campground. What an amazing alternate choice it was!

 Photo by Margaret.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Manzanar National Historic Site

After leaving Alabama Hills, we stopped briefly in Lone Pine for some more groceries and at the post office to mail some things and pick up a General Delivery item for Margaret. We got on our way with plans to stop just 12 miles north at the Manzanar National Historic Site, known officially beginning June 1, 1942 to its closing as the Manzanar War Relocation Center.

 The sign's appearance hasn't changed. All photos by Virginia.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area (CA)

We left Red Rock Canyon State Park on the morning of May 1, once again heading north. We stopped briefly in Pearsonville to catch up on our iPhones, to call my daughter, and to get veggie subs at Subway. (We added our own tasty vegan Provolone cheese, Tofurky deli slices, and our preferred special condiments to make them extra yummy!)

We drove to Lone Pine to get a few groceries (mostly produce). All the while, I was gawking at Mount Whitney, which is a major draw for hikers/mountaineers. Then we let Google Maps continue to direct us to our next camping adventure—Alabama Hills—where we hoped to boondock for a few days. After searching for an easily accessible campsite just off the main road (Movie Road) so Margaret’s Roadtrek wouldn’t bottom out on the rocks and potholes, we found a perfect pull-through site next to Movie Road farther in after it turned into a smaller dirt road. It was close enough to level that we only needed one leveling ramp. The view made almost anything worth it!

And what a welcome it is! Photo by Virginia.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Randsburg to Coso Junction to Red Rock Canyon State Park

We gassed up the Roadtrek before leaving the “big city” of Barstow, CA, on April 25 and drove west on Highway 58 before heading north on Highway 395. After crossing from San Bernardino County into Kern County, we stopped for a visit in the old gold mining town of Randsburg. There were 70 residents per the 2010 U.S. Census; and according to the town’s Wikipedia page, it relies on tourists but only opens on weekends and holidays. Since we visited on a weekday, the only business open was a tavern, which we chose to forego. It was nearly 100°F; so we left Peaches in the Roadtrek with the generator and A/C going. After checking out the exteriors of the cool historic buildings on the main drag, we continued driving north.

Randsburg Historical Marker. Photo by Virginia.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Amboy Crater to Roy’s Café to Barstow

We left White Tank Campground (Joshua Tree National Park) at 12:30 pm on April 24 and drove east through Twentynine Palms, then north to Amboy Road. It was over 100°F, but the Roadtrek’s A/C kept the three of us cool during the miles of desolate desert.

Amboy Road. Photo by Virginia.