Bishop (CA), Powerlines, White Mountains, Sunset

Death Valley Road Trip – Day 1

My nose is cold. I will lead off with that. Then, Happy Thanksgiving for those in the States. A day of gastronomic indulgence that leads to the start of the holiday shopping season and shopping indulgence the next day. So why is my nose cold, or icy if I am to be accurate? I am camping out in my car with my dog on our way to Death Valley, but we’ve stopped of for the night at the Volcanic Tablelands, just north of Bishop, CA. It’s 25°F outside right now with an expected low of 19°F.  Mind you, I changed the direction of this trip from heading north along Hwy 1/PCH through coastal Northern California and into Oregon because it has been andwill be raining non-stop. The good thing is, I am warm and the pup has been snoring away for the last hour (until I wrote this). It helps to have a Exped Megamat 10 camp mattress with memory foam and a high-R (insulation) value, a +30 Featherlite sleeping bag, and a good old comforters below and above it all. So the only real problem is my exposed nose. Even in the SUV, the air is cold, not see-your-breath-cold, but cold.

I’ve been taking photos mostly with my cell so far, so I will post these phone photos in the trip reports.

As for the trip so far, a slow start to the day. I am pretty sure I set my alarm for 6am, but cozy confines of the bed finally released me at 8. After some final packing of refrigerated items, some last to-dos, and a quick shower, we were on the road by 9:30. These late starts are a bit ironic since when I travel with others, I am ready to go by the planned departure time, but no one else ever is. Now I am my very own annoyance.

Tokala, my dog, is usually an awesome road tripper. He sleeps soon after I started driving and lets me know when he is thirsty (lots of panting) or he needs a bathroom break (he wakes up, shifts around a lot, and starts whining if i don’t pick up on it). Today, he was shifty and whiny from the start. A quick drive to the local school did not help and it took over an hour for him to settle down. I was hoping he wasn’t getting sick.

Since today is day 1 of the trip, most of it is driving through familiar areas. Skirting the area north of Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley, Gardnerville (NV), which gets us into southern route on Hwy 395 along the Eastern Sierra.

As with the last trip down to the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, this trip has an destination, but there are multiple routes and stops possible. So we ended up taking a walk at the Mono Lake Visitors’ Center. Even though it was closed, the area overlooking the lake and trails are still open. We also found the upside down house in Lee Vining, which was maybe 5 blocks away.


Since I’ve been driving the speed limit or even slightly below on these trips, it was getting into late afternoon by now. I am typically not a slow driver, but I see so much more of the scenery by not going fast – and I probably save a ton of gas.

So the decision was to get as far south as Bishop and camp out for the night. The main photo is of one of the roads leading to the Volcanic Tablelands – a giant Volcanic displacement that starts up near Mono Lake. Throughout the Tablelands, Native American have carved petroglyphs into the stone. Some are easier to find than others.

Bishop (CA), Powerlines, White Mountains, Sunset
Bishop (CA), Powerlines, White Mountains, Sunset

Time for bed. For those that had Thanksgiving, I hope it was full of family, friends, great food, and conversation.

Tomorrow – Death Valley.


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