We headed south from Reno back into California to Lee Vining , a small town on Mono Lake, a beautiful turquoise desert lake. The lake has no outlets which causes high levels of salts to accumulate, and probably adds to the reason for it’s color. Although no fish can survive in its waters, it’s still perfectly safe to swim in
Our campground, Lower Lee Vinings, was about 11 miles miles from the entrance to Yosemite and only $7 per night, not only a bargain but convenient too
A really pretty park with very few campers around. The temperatures had dropped significantly but that didn’t stop the tenters who were braving it at 26 degrees at night
We’d caught Yosemite at a time when the days were sunny, warm and uncrowded, which gave us the opportunity to marvel at the wonderful granite rock formations
It was a 2 1/2 hour drive from one side of the park to the other along the Toga Pass
As we neared El Capitan the smoke we’d seen the day before became visible again, then we found ourselves a mere 14 miles from the fire. We did manage to capture some photos before it got really bad.
We saw a climber about half way up El Capitan. An amazing, sheer granite rock which attracts climbers from around the world, who even camp on small ledges on the way up.
We left Lower Lee Vinings when we got cut off from Verizon for “Terms and Conditions Violation” WTF is that!!! No warnings just made our service null and void. They also marked our $200 jet pack as never to be activated again. So now this is a damn brick. AT&T did not work in the campground and unfortunately we still feel the need to be connected. Anyway, we saw what we came to see in the area, so bye-bye.
We had planned to visit Sequoia National Park but our expert navigator hadn’t realized the entrance was on the other side of the park, about 4 hours away. Next time!
We headed further south to Lone Pine, which turned out to be an unexpected surprise.
Just outside of town we drove into the Alabama Hills dry camping area
The landscape was so unusual with oddly shaped, rounded rocks. It wasn’t too difficult to find a spot, although we did see some coaches parked in such areas that you had to wonder how on earth they got there.
What we didn’t realize was this was a very popular area for filming western TV shows and films back in the 50’s and 60’s, and we were parked on Movie Rd. where the Lone Ranger was filmed, also Maverick, Hop-a-long Cassidy and How the West Was Won. It was very easy to visualize as you panned the landscape.
We were even provided a map to show what films were made where, which fired up the imagination even more. The actor Randolph Scott even built a house amongst the boulders, as he was filming here so much
We drove the 13 mile scenic route around Alabama Hills, off Movie Rd. and found families of campers snuggled into spots all over the area, enjoying the scenery and peaceful surroundings
Of course we had to visit the Museum of Western Film History, especially popular with the gentlemen born in the 40’s and 50’s. It was interesting to see the old camera equipment they used
We even sat for a while and watched an episode of the Lone Ranger, and saw on film the area that we were parked in
Lone Pine was a lovely little town, real cowboys on horseback in town. We found the Mexicans behind the Post Office serving great tacos for $2
A very interesting town, that was a very pleasant surprise, and the area again emphasized how much the West differs from the East.
Time to move on and explore more amazing sights of this country, next stop Death Valley.