Lone Pine (actually Diaz Lake just south of Lone Pine) to Dayton, NV: 260 miles (elapsed time: no idea. Too many stops and side trips)
Dayton, NV to Lake Almanor, CA: 165 miles (~3 hrs 50 min.)
Total mileage since San Carlos: 1320
Monday, I got up bright and early and hit the road at 6:00 AM. I knew that my first stop would be in Lone Pine at McD’s for some grub and some wifi. From McD’s I planned my trip out for the day and also e-mailed my niece Bethany, who lives in Dayton, Nevada with her husband and two daughters. I said I’d be going through tomorrow and could they stand an RV parked out front overnight. I was pretty sure they were on a camping trip for the long weekend so didn’t really expect an answer until late today or maybe tomorrow morning. My plan for the day’s trip was to go maybe as far as Mammoth Lakes and get an RV park with laundry facilities and just kick back the rest of the day.
The drive up along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains was absolutely beautiful.
However, there was a price to pay for all this beautiful scenery. Highway 395 along there is just one long uphill grade after another. In between are short little downhill grades but not enough to offset the pain of the climbs. We’d be chugging up the road at 30 mph in 2nd gear and finally reach a summit at 5,000 feet. Then we’d start downhill for a bit, actually getting back into 4th gear and almost traveling the speed limit. Then, we’d start up again. This time we’d top out at 6,000 feet. The we’d repeat the whole cycle for another 1,000 feet. I think we finally topped out at something like 8,130 feet. Poor ol’ Flipper. She worked her little butt off but never overheated. What a trooper but what an ordeal. But, it is beautiful.
Passed through Bishop where I stopped for a few groceries and things. Then on to Mammoth Lakes. I hadn’t realized that Mammoth Lakes was off the highway a couple miles but, since it was still way early, it didn’t really matter. Well, other than the fact that, at this point I was über sensitive to every inch of elevation gain or loss and the trip into ML constituted a net gain. The town was crawling with tourists. I can only imagine what it looks like during winter sports season. The snow fences and chain-up areas told me all I needed to know about winter here. Stopped at McD’s again. This time I had a mocha frappe to pay for my wifi use. Mostly just checked e-mail and looked to see what RV parks were available in the area. There weren’t too many but one that was just back up the road 1/4 mile had all the amenities I was looking for. The only problem was the price: $42/night for what they call a partial hook-up. That means water, electricity, and cable for your TV (if we had one). A sewer connection was another $5.00 but they did have a dump station so that was no biggie.
I pulled in and went into the office. There was a party in front of me and I’m glad there was. While they were trying to get checked in, a few things came up. First, check-in time wasn’t until 2:00. It was now about 11:30. They were assigned a site for later but, if they wanted to ensure that they got that particular site, there was a “site-hold” fee. If they didn’t pay that, they could end up just about anywhere. I didn’t really care where I would end up but this just told me that this was a nickel-and-dime you kind of place. Plus, what was I going to do for 2-1/2 hours while I waited for check-in time? The next nickel and dime item that came up was, while they were checking in a camper came in to pay for showers. Pay for showers???? What’s the $42 for? And worse, two showers set him back $6.00. So, $42 for my site and $3 for a shower? Wonder what they were going to charge me for a dump out. I decided this was definitely not my kind of place and I moved on.
At this point I didn’t really have a plan. Figured I’d just keep driving north until something caught my eye. early afternoon, I passed through Gardnerville. Kind of a nice looking little town. And, lo and behold, there was a Mickey D’s. So, feeling a need for a mango-pineapple smoothie, I pulled in. Thought I’d plug into the wifi and see what was available in the area and see if maybe I’d gotten a reply from Bethany yet. Well, no reply but, thinking that maybe she monitored Facebook more than regular e-mail, I messaged her from there. I also found a very good deal on an RV site, with amenities, at a casino at Topaz Lake. So, I plugged the address into Dora and headed for it. As I was driving along through Gardnerville, I hit the “show map” feature on Dora and saw that Topaz Lake was 22 miles back the way I had just come, right at the California border. Now I remembered seeing it. Well, that just seemed stupid. If I drove there for the night, that would mean that tomorrow I’d have driven 44 miles just to be where I was right at that moment. OK, back to McD’s.
I started checking out RV parks in the Carson City area. Figured, if nothing else, I’d just stay in one of them, even though it was very close to Bethany’s house. But I didn’t want to just drop in. However, about then I got a FB message from her saying that they’d just returned from camping and had just now finished unloading the gear. Knowing what it was like to return from a 3-day camping trip with 2 school-age kids and tomorrow a work/school day, I hesitated asking. But, if we could move the visit to today, I ‘d save a full day of waiting around for them to get home from work tomorrow and they could have a normal evening tomorrow. You gotta love family. Bethany said, sure, come on over. Just excuse the mess. No problem, what mess? So, that’s how I came to spend last night in Dayton, Nevada.
This morning I got up and saw everyone off to work or school. Then had a shower and some breakfast and hit the road about 9:20. My goal for the day was Lake Almanor, California, on Hwy 89. I drove to Carson City, then Incline Village on the north shore of Lake Tahoe.
From there I headed up to Lake Almanor. I drove through forests and alpine meadows. Stopped alongside a little stream to put some socks on (hey, it was kind of cool up there).
Stopped at the general store in Graeagle for some pepperoni sticks and a peach Snapple for the road. Arrived at Whispering Pines RV park at about 1:30. It’s a pretty little RV park with maybe 25 spaces. It’s in the trees and nicely shaded, which is not so good for my solar panels but, since I can plug in to electricity, it doesn’t matter. They have a laundry room on the honor system (leave your money in the coffee can on the owner’s front porch) and the wifi and showers are included.
All in all, I’m feeling pretty darn good about life right now. Laundry’s almost done, I’m caught up on the blog, batteries are charged up, fridge is cold, and I have a big ol’ ribeye steak for dinner tonight. Oh, and for the first time since I can’t remember when, I’m not sweaty.