March 9, Friday
Yesterday, our caravan of five left Keyesville Rec Area near Lake Isabella, CA and traveled up 395 to Lone Pine. By the time I arrived on the scene, a site had already been picked out and all I had to do was get level. The sun set shortly thereafter, so pictures had to wait until today. Here’s my view from bed this morning:
Not bad, huh? This is Alabama Hills Rec Area, just west of town. Besides being a backdrop for numerous movie scenes, it’s also one of the prettiest boondocking spots in the country, in my humble opinion. The red rocks of the Hills contrast so vibrantly with the snow-capped Sierra Mountains to the west. The highest point in the lower 48 is visible in this pic, Mt. Whitney, at 14,504 feet.
There’s also a dryer and lower mountain range to the east, the White Mountains. Later in the afternoon the five of us drive to the base of the Sierra and I get this photo looking to east.
In 2016, I camped here in May for a week. The Hills is March is an entirely different beast. It’s windy and getting cold at night, and there’s rain in the forecast for our elevation, snow higher up. The snow in the Sierra still comes right down to the foot of the mountains in patches and Whitney Portal Road is closed. So we don’t get to go up.
Today’s adventure has been aborted, but we’re all sure there will be other chances during our stay here!
March 10, Saturday
Today is a fantastic cloud day.
Usually I consider a fantastic cloud day to be one that is partly cloudy, the shadows rolling across the hillside really make for a great picture. Today’s clouds aren’t like that, it’s completely overcast.
But it’s good. The peaks of the Sierra are missing. Mountains shrouded in clouds look much more enigmatic and otherworldly. I love some me some secretive mountains.
I find myself having to get pictures of everything with the mountains behind. Camp:
A green bush (I believe this is called Mormon Tea):
And… Okay, well this one doesn’t have the mountains behind it. But I liked this little ribbon of water that runs through a canyon near camp:
March 15, Thursday
Time passes, as it is wont to do, and the last few days of our caravan can be summed up as work interspersed with hiking.
On the 13th I finally get a good picture of Cas with the mountains behind. Every RVer should come out to Alabama Hills at least for one night, to get a picture of their rig in these surroundings. This is an unparalleled photo opportunity.
Also on the 13th, Joni is the first to leave the group, then Kelly took off yesterday. Michael pulls out early this morning, leaving just Marshall and I to wave goodbye bundled against the cold. Marshall will be leaving tomorrow, but the two of us take his Jeep out for one last hurrah.
We also go out to Mobius Arch, which is a short walk from camp. The best time to take this loop hike is in the morning, so you can get a picture of Mt. Whitney framed through the opening. In the afternoon you end up with a silhouette which is still kind of cool, but doesn’t have the same impact. So Marshall gets this photo of me facing the other way.
March 16, Friday
After five weeks of camping with the caravan, I find myself alone for the first time in a long time. In fact, other than having about three or four nights alone when I first arrived in Anza-Borrego from Winterhaven, I’ve pretty much been camping with others since Quartzsite started early in January, a far cry from my normal solitary ways.
Much like my work/life balance tends to look like switch that flips between two extremes, my need for time with others and time apart follows the same track. I find I crave more time with people during the winter months, and more time adventuring alone in the summer months. I’d be interested in hearing from other RVers about their tendencies.
On Patreon, I talked a bit about how there’s a transition to go through between camping modes. Goodbyes aren’t as painful for me as they seem to be for some RVers, but when I switch from social to solitary camping, it takes about 24 hours for me to adjust. Same thing when I go from solitary to social.
So today is a transition day, and I know it won’t be a very productive writing day. But hey, there are things I can do to that don’t require a lot of brain power. Like a photoshoot.
Sometimes I feel a bit silly setting up my mini tripod and getting photos of myself for the blog, but this time it’s for an especially good cause. Interstellar Orchard is getting a long-overdue makeover!
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I built this site myself back in 2011 following step-by-step directions from an online guide. I’ve always felt proud of my accomplishment, but little has changed since then and it’s looking dated. More importantly, the WordPress theme I built it on has been discontinued and is no longer getting updates, which sooner or later will lead to problems. It’s time to move on.
In real time it’s early April and I’ve been working with a web designer for over two weeks now on the new site, I can’t wait for you all to see it! E-mail subscribers will already notice the e-mail formatting has been updated for this post.
I don’t know yet the exact date the changes will go live, but it’ll hopefully be in the next week or so.