PrologueWhat we are doing, and why we're doing it!
We spent several days camping in the Rogue River State Park -- one of our favorites. It was a good opportunity to catch up on projects and just relax a bit. Soon after we crossed southbound into California, we left I5 and headed east for Donner Pass and some snow in the high Sierra. Ian had been asking for a chance to try snow boarding since we first started heading north, but there hadn't been enough to ski on in Washington. Even the resorts in B.C. were running with minimal services!
The drive up I80 didn't look too promising for snow until we got near the summit where we were richly rewarded. The snow at high altitude was many feet thick. We were doubly blessed with a warm, windless day.
Snow boarding turned out to be a hoot! We spent most of the time for the first few runs laying in the snow and/or doing pinwheels. By the third or fourth run, however, we were able to get from top to bottom without incident.
Not wanting to return to the interstate highways for a long boring drive though California’s central valley, we headed down the east side of the Sierras to Reno, Nevada to visit relatives. We had a wonderful (but short) visit, then bedded down in front of their house. The next day, we started driving south down the eastern side of the Sierras on Hwy 395. By the end of the day, we were back in the high country near Mammoth Lakes where the snow was deeper than ever. The sunset and the sky at dusk was a glorious sight! While it was tempting to just stop and take it all in, we needed to get to lower altitude before stopping for the night so we drove on through the magic of twilight.
After a good night's sleep in Bishop and a required stop at Shotz' Bakery, we started the remainder of the drive to the L.A. basin. The rest of the trip was through high desert, most of it with the Sierra’s to the west and the mountains bounding Death Valley to the east.
For the first part of the trip, we marveled at much snow was on the mountains. The Sierras wore the thickest blanket of snow in memory. Even the Panamint Mountains guarding Death Valley were capped with white!
The southern part of Hwy 395 passes through one of the driest parts of the Mojave desert. Much to our surprise, the landscape was tinged with green instead of the usual ruddy brown. Even more surprising than the green vistas were the occasional hillsides painted with the bright orange or yellow of wildflowers. The only problem with the sudden explosion of life was the abundance of bugs & butterflies committing suicide on the front of the RV!
We'll be in southern California for a couple of weeks while we tend to chores, so it might be a while until we have something fun to write about.