Bishop #2

60_is_the_new_50_225_buttonYou may have heard the expression “60 is the new 50”. Really? What does that mean for trees 4000+ years old?

We visited the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains just east of Bishop, CA. The Schulman Grove is located at an altitude of 10000ft/3000m. Getting there requires a 6000ft vertical climb from the Owens Valley. Some of the trees in the Schulman Grove are more than 4000 years old. These trees started their existence when the Egyptians built the pyramids. That fact is truly mind-boggling.

Ironically, Dr. Edmund Schulman, one of the gentlemen that discovered the Ancient Bristlecone Pines sadly died at the young age of 48 years.

We extended our stay in Bishop by a few days and now plan to leave on Nov. 9, 2016, the day after the US presidential election. Depending on the outcome of the election we may drive straight to the Canadian border and apply for refugee status. Stay tuned.

Bishop #1

Driving the motorhome, a 36ft long, 12.5ft high and 15t heavy machine through strong crosswinds from Carson City, NV to Bishop, CA proved to be a challenging task. We arrived in Bishop on Monday and on Tuesday we took our first hike on the Rock Creek Trail above Tom’s Place into the John Muir Wilderness.

On Wednesday I went with the boys for another hike into the John Muir Wilderness again, following the Bishop Pass Trail. The dogs are developing impressive hiking skills on the trails and they enjoy these outings tremendously.

 

Thursday’s plan calls for a trip to the White Mountains above Big Pine, CA and a visit with the ancient Bristlecones, the “oldest living things” on this planet. Stay tuned.

Sawtooth Mountains

 

_bds6937In a surprise move winter caught up with us on a campground in the small community of Ketchum, ID. Nighttime temperatures dropped to about 17F/-8C and on several days we woke up to find fresh snow on the ground. One can easily keep warm in a motorhome, but it is no fun. It rained for a few days and the weather was generally miserable. However, the overall experience was fantastic. Rain or shine, I took great hikes with the dogs in the Sawtooth Mountain National Forest surrounding the city. The number of trailheads in a 10 miles radius around the city is amazing and the variety of terrain was deeply satisfying for the dogs and me. If possible, we will spend a larger chunk of time in Ketchum in the near future.

 

The season between Labor Day and the beginning of winter was characterized by a general lack of tourists. The kids are back in school and the ski season has not started yet. sawtooth-brewery

One evening we sampled some fine beers in the Sawtooth Brewery and ended up watching people in the brew pub. The atmosphere was relaxed, folks had a good time, they ate, they drank beer, they played games and there were people of all ages. However, it took us a quite a while to realize that there were no brown, black, yellow or blue people in the room. Caucasians only. Interesting.

On Sunday we did a road trip to Stanley approximately 60 miles north of Ketchum at the intersection of highways 75 and 21. Stanley is not the end of the world, but one can see the end of the world from Stanley. On the positive side, Stanley (a community of 70 inhabitants) is located at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains and the vistas are excellent. After a great hike at the Redfish Lake we were in the mood for a good cup of coffee. Silly us, the audacity to expect a good cup of coffee in Stanley clearly demonstrated how snobbish we have become in the San Francisco Bay Area (sarcasm).

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One of the greatest American authors (IMO) lived and died in Ketchum. Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in his house in Sun Valley in July 1961 and has been put to rest in Ketchum. A simple grave and a small statue are the only public displays of the literature laureate.

Our initial plan was to roll west and turn south in eastern Oregon. Due to the bad weather we changed our plan (we are extremely flexible) and decided to turn south immediately and turn west later. I am posting this blog from our short-term stay in Carson City, NV. After the weekend we will move for a longer stay to Bishop, CA. The eastern Sierra Nevada and the Owens Valley are waiting for us. Stay tuned.

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Moving West

We traveled almost 600 miles over two days starting in South Dakota, crossed northern Wyoming from the east to the west and stopped for a rest day in Montana. Even though the weather was not very good today we visited the Yellowstone National Park and enjoyed the geysers in the lower and middle basin. Once it started snowing we retreated into the warmth and comfort of the motorhome. Temperatures are predicted to fall tonight to 19F/-7C.

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In retrospect I have to say that western South Dakota was a very positive experience and I am glad we made the trip. In particular the Black Hills offered high quality outdoor enjoyment and the vistas of the Badlands National Park were fantastic. Rapid City is a very nice small community. People are friendly and the streets are clean. Measured by San Francisco Bay Area standards things seem to be in order and that without a noticeable presence of law enforcement.

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Tomorrow we will travel to Ketchum, ID for a one-week stay in the Sawtooth Mountains. Stay tuned.

 

South Dakota – Great Faces, Great Places

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Our initial plan was to leave Rapid City today and head west. However, we extended our stay by four days and will leave the state of South Dakota on Sunday. One of the privileges we enjoy as fulltime RVers is freedom of movement. We can stay or leave whenever and wherever we want.

Over the last week we got a number of things done. The main reason for coming to South Dakota in the first place was for me to obtain my driver’s license. I got the driver’s license and it only took 20 min and $28. I have to say, the DMV in Rapid City demonstrated a level of efficiency I have not seen before in a government-controlled office.

We spent one day at the Badlands National Park …

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We spent another day at Mount Rushmore …

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In addition we hiked several times in the Black Hills. The Black Hills offer fantastic hiking amongst granite needles, creeks, lakes and beautiful forest. Our dogs have become lifetime members of the Black Hills fan club.

Talking about dogs. I took Cooper to a veterinarian to have his limping left leg checked. He occasionally limps but he seems to be pain-free. The doctor took an x-ray and determined that the left leg bone-structure is perfectly normal. She suspected that Cooper might have incurred a soft-tissue injury at some time in the past. Time will tell if the limping disappears in the future.

It’s getting cold here in South Dakota during the nights and the residents of Rapid City are preparing for winter. The campground is almost empty and many outdoor facilities are in the process of closing down. Our plan is to head west to Sun Valley, ID and spend a week in the Sawtooth Mountains with a short stopover in Montana at the western entrance to the Yellowstone National Park. After the week in Idaho we will roll into Oregon and head south through California following the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada. Weather permitting; we hope to spend time in the Bishop, CA area. After that we will head to the winter playground in southern California and Arizona.

 

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Stay tuned.