G and I have been planning to take a road trip to Redding but obstacles keep popping up. This week our barrier is that his work share day got switched from Monday to Tuesday so now we don’t have enough consecutive days off! Argh. To satisfy my desire for the open road, here are more photos from our trip last month.
We had wanted to go through Death Valley on our way to Lone Pine, but the forecast said ‘dust storms’ so we stayed away. This photo is for Courtney!
We visited Manzanar National Historic Site, a former detention camp where Japanese-American citizens were kept during World War II. Unwittingly, we showed up during the annual memorial weekend, where scores of former residents descended to visit the museum and the rememberance ceremony later in the day. We saw groups of them touring the levelled site and overheard bits of memories as we looked at the museum exhibits.
We drove up Mt Whitney to a parking lot at about 8,500 feet and walked for a while. We turned around at about 9,500 feet: we were feeling altitude sickness and some people on the trail ahead were drumming. Being misanthropes, we decided we’d rather turn around than find out who was having a mountain-drum session.
Some kind of flowering bush or tree. The flowers were so tiny. I have small hands, and they were smaller than my fingernails.
The view from so far up. You can actually see the town we stayed in. It’s the thin strip of darker green in the valley (or just click through to see it on Flickr, where I have a note marking it). The Sierra cut up from the valley floor like teeth. It’s unbelievable how deep the valley is: the Sierra to the east, Mt Whitney crowning the range at 15, 505 and the White/Inyo Mtns to the west, about 9,500 ft above the floor.
When we found a patch of snow, we made snowballs! I’m just preparing G for life in Calgary (haha).
Here’s the star of the trip: our little Fit! It’s not the most comfortable car to drive in–it vibrates madly at speeds over 80 mph–but it gets amazing mileage. It gets at least 35 mpg for mixed city/freeway and on our Mt Whitney trip it got 38mpg! I actually drove it for the first time last weekend. I don’t have my license yet (embarrassing) but I practiced driving in a parking lot near my house.
For some reason, I managed not to get photos of the most shocking part of the drive. Highway 395 from Victorville to Lone Pine (a 160 mile stretch) is littered with abandoned buildings. Failed cafes, empty homes, broken-down factories and even strings of railway cars sitting abandoned on the tracks. The dusty, empty plains push people out like we are tumbleweeds.
Compiling this entry has made me want a trip so badly! Next weekend, we are (hopefully) going to Prescott, AZ and clipping through the corner of Nevada on the way there, but returning the short way through Phoenix. And maybe in June we’ll be able to finally get to Redding!