A Travellerspoint blog

December 2018

Lake Success, CA our last stop this season

Still trying to attempt visiting Sequoia National park, we found an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Success. 20181203_100702.jpg
The area was pretty much on the other side of Mount Whitney. At this point we were directly across from Alabama Hills, where we boondocked a couple days before, just facing Mount Whitney from the West. The weather channel still mentioned road closures and heavy snow on the mountain range, especially toward Mammoth mountain. E44205C3E91A383AD08B53EFD2972814.jpg
We had to sit down and reevaluate our plans. As much as we wanted to push on, it was not a good idea doing that with our home on wheels. Besides that, we were not equipped with snow chains and a break buddy.
We were within reach of our final destination. Pushing on to San Francisco and reporting to college would complete our first journey, giving us peace of mind and stability with a steady place to set up our Winnebago. Yet, I was not ready to call it the end of our trip. E442C4D79E6C481DC6EF4489B3F6B216.jpg Once we started traveling and finding all these amazing places I was hungry to see and learn more. This was a difficult decision. We decided to drive towards San Francisco, take a little break and plan all the big trips into the now closed National parks once the weather gets milder.
We finished our first Journey, driving 3999 miles across the US, starting in South Carolina and finished it in Fairfield, CA.
With all our ducks in a row, getting Tony's classes and college schedule, enrolling Landon into K12 in CA and setting up all our medical appointments, we are ready to explore the State of California.
A new map has been created, using the festive color green for our Winter Journey, to keep track of our mileage log. A handful of amazing new places have been already picked to explore, that I will continue to share with you.
Season 2: the Winter Season has begun.
Happy Holidays!

Posted by Meike Carter 13:13 Comments (0)

Quick overnight stop at Lake Isabella, CA

Our plans changed due to Winter storm Carter. Originally we wanted to hike Mount Whitney and drive further north towards Mammoth lake, but some roads were closed off and we had to come up with plan B.
We decided to skirt the Sierra Nevadas going South and stay overnight at Lake Isabella. 1237E35FCA6D7003F400047D1DACF95B.jpg I was sad leaving Alabama Hills, but also looking forward to a campsite with electricity, running water and internet. After several days of dry camping it was exciting to have these luxuries. We arrived the RV park around noon, set up and immediately gathered all the laundry and washed clothes in the nearby bath house. It was nice to watch TV and catch up on the news and the weather. We were advised of a winter front that was moving over the Sierra Nevadas toward Lake Isabella. Literally within a couple of hours the sunny sky turned grey and stormy and the temperature dropped significantly by the time the clothes were dry. I fixed a big pot of white chicken chili, turned on our fireplace and cuddled up on the couch. 20181129_140600.jpg
For some reason I did not sleep as well as I did when we were in the boonies. The next morning I began uploading my newest YouTube video, but with only 2 bars on the local WIFI it took 2 hours to complete. While waiting on the video to finish, I took a hot long shower, pampering myself after days of quick dips and washing my hair in the kitchen sink.
Once the video published we rolled out of the RV park and headed towards Bakersfield. We needed to stock up on groceries and fill up our diesel and propane tank. Just in case we can't find anything for the night.
12375606E9E613E8E756D1C8F9DF2559.jpg The road from Lake Isabella towards Bakersfield was extremely tight and curvy with mostly 6% grades. We were advised not to pull our Jeep while driving thru that part of the mountains but we tried it anyway. Let me tell you, I was terrified at times but Tony handled the rig very well. It had to be one of the most nerve wrecking trips I have ever been on. Tony's shirt was drenched and my hands clammy from hanging on to the" O crap" bar.
We high fived each other once we arrived Bakersfield safe and sound. It was one of the most scenic routes I have ever been on, it would be more enjoyable in a smaller vehicle. 20181201_113856.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 12:50 Comments (0)

Alabama Hills boondocking at its best

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

On the base of Mount Whitney, driving down Whitney Portal, we pulled right into Movie Dr. and found ourselves in the most amazing place- the Alabama Hills. Tons of movies have been filmed here, such as Star Trek V and Star Trek VII, Maverick, Tremors, Gladiator, Iron Man, Django Unchained, the 2013 version of The Lone Ranger, and the Man of Steel. Back in the day, many western TV series were also filmed in Lone Pine including the 1949 TV Series of The Lone Ranger, Rawhide and Bonanza.
This area is managed by the Bureau of land management (BLM), which is excellent for boondocking. We drove the 40 ft. RV down some dirt roads looking for a great protected area to park. We did not want to get stuck with the rig and decided to disconnect our tow vehicle and scout the place with our Jeep.
There are so many twists and turns around these big boulders , easy to stay hidden in the wide open. 20181130_073850.jpg
We found a great spot shielded on one side by hills with a build in fire cave and a great view onto Mount Whitney on the other. We couldn't believe how quiet and peaceful it was. I fired up the generator, fixed some fresh coffee and prepared dinner. While we had power, all devices were plugged in to be charged. Tony was outside, trying to find an area that gets a signal on the cell phone. Once he got closer to the main road, Whitney Portal he received 4G. That meant, homeschooling won't be done in the RV. It had to be done in town.
When you dry camp everything has to be planned, check for internet and use water and electricity sparingly. Definitely no long showers! Early dinner was finished, a fire outside built and we were wrapped up in blankets sitting in our chairs outside watching the stars. 20181130_073030.jpg 20181130_072951.jpg 20181130_073003.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 09:45 Comments (0)

Mount Whitney, California

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

When we arrived at the base of California's highest peak called Mount Whitney, Winter storm Carter caused the pass up the mountain to shut down.
After just visiting Death Valley, the hottest place on earth and walking Badwater Basin, the lowest elevation in North America, we really wanted to add the highest mountain in the State of California to the list.
Bummer...maybe we will try it in the Spring again.
Mt Whitney Trail starts in Inyo National Forest at Whitney Portal, 8,300 feet above sea level. The trail gains over 6,200 feet of elevation before reaching the summit in Sequoia National Park. The summit of Mt. Whitney is the southern end of the John Muir Trail.
We drove as close as we could, just to see if there is a way. We heard of a rescue that took place when the storm approached , which called for an immediate closure of Mount Whitney. A8DE19BA9F973A7AC7677050CA0E0482.jpg A8DD8ED00A0EFA3DAE398FF853E732F7.jpg
The next morning the sky was a beautiful blue and the sun shining. With the sun's ray warming me up, I would have never guessed that it was 32 degrees. It felt much warmer. A8D80FD4BC4510C8765947FE42DC7FBD.jpg 20181130_151646.jpg 90_20181130_151652.jpg
We really wanted to see some snow and took the Jeep to a campground that is nestled right into the foothills of the mountain. There we spotted a very bouncy dirt road and followed it to the end. There we finally got our snow.

Posted by Meike Carter 11:14 Comments (0)

Badwater Basin, Death Valley

View Winter Journey on Meike Carter's travel map.

Death Valley is one special place !
This area sits in a below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. I did not expect to find mountains, salt creeks, dunes and one of my highlights- Badwater Basin, all within one huge park. Death Valley National Park is made up of 3,336,000 acres.
Two days were definitely not enough to explore.

Death Valley, the name doesn't sound inviting, yet here the beauty of the landscape was mindblowing. In this valley where much of it is below sea level, you can find spectacular wildflower displays, snow covered peaks, beautiful sand dunes, abandoned mines and industrial structures.
The Furnace Creek Inn and the Furnace Creek Ranch provide motel accommodations in the Furnace Creek area. The Stovepipe Wells Village provides motel accommodations and limited camping facilities. The Panamint Springs Resort offers resort accommodations and camping. We stayed at the Furnace Creek campground for $11 per night. The spot we chose was completely dry, but they offer full hookup in the same park for an additional fee.
We really loved our site, because we had a beautiful view of the mountains. No trees or campers were blocking our view .
After we hiked the Mesquite Dunes, we pulled in at Saltwater Creek but decided against the hike. It was already 2 pm by then and we really wanted to make it over to Badwater Basin before it gets dark. The distance between all the different locations are very long and require planning. We skipped eating lunch in the RV and passed right by our campsite on our way to Badwater Basin. 20181128_155528.jpg
This place is absolutely stunning! We walked about a half of a mile into the basin to get the full effect of this spectacular area. We were standing in the lowest elevation in the Western hemisphere, looking up at Dante's Peak that had a marker displayed to show where the sea level is. We were 282 feet below sea level.
60F700BFBDA6670AE58A91FEF65F66E7.jpg 20181128_161137.jpg
Several movies have been filmed in Death Valley, but one that stands out to me is Star Wars. They filmed parts of it at Badwater Basin, due to its interesting landscape.
After all the excitement our stomachs were letting us know, it's time to eat. We did not eat all day, besides breakfast and had walked over 9 miles, per Tony's pedometer. Thankfully, the little Indian village - Timbisha Shoshone- has a restaurant were we ordered some Indian tacos and caught up with social media. I was able to get very spotty internet and was excited to upload a few pictures.

Posted by Meike Carter 01:16 Comments (0)

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