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Posts from the ‘BLM’ Category

Settling Into Utah

 

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Photo credit @gm3sm

For the past 10 days we’ve been based in southwest Utah, near the town of Hurricane.  In all honestly, not too much is happening that is not part of our normal routine, but we’ve managed to catch-up with a handful of fellow full-time travelers, some of whom have joined us here on the mesa.

We really like this part of the southwest.  The area has a good vibe and is quickly grabbing hold of Kelly and me.  And, coupled with a need to catch-up on some business travel from a conveniently located airport, I think we will stay here for another month, possibly longer.

In the process, we hope to visit Zion National Park at least once and I definitely plan to get in more time riding the world class mountain biking trails littering the area.

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photo credit @gm3

 

The Alabama Hills

For many years, many people talked affectionately about the the Alabama Hills, a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains that is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Last week we set-up shop and found a fantastic boondocking spot.  As is often the case, we didn’t get enough time to explore, but did get out when we could.

Visually, this area is amazing, huge boulders and and spires contrasting with the sharp ridges of the Sierra Nevada.  Nothing I can say will fully do justice – one simply needs to visit and take the beauty with their own eyes.DSCF4109DSCF4115DSCF4108DSCF4118DSCF4127

Getting Our Groove Back

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Ahh … back to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  It’s been a long time coming.

Having returned her long term rental car after work, Kelly arrived to the trailer Friday night signifying that our visit to Half Moon Bay was over.  Seven weeks after we arrived, we were finally free to resume what has become to us a ‘normal’ way of life.  With urgency that cannot be explained, later that evening we finally got the hell out of the Bay Area, and in the process began what will be a realignment to our previously planned 2017 travel route.

We didn’t get too far that night – 90 minutes of driving was all.  But symbolically we made huge strides.  Once again we were mobile.  All that mattered as we pulled into a Camping World parking lot for the night was that we were moving towards greener pastures – no more RV park, no more daily commutes into the office, no anchor keeping us stationary.

Our destination was the town of Lone Pine, a sleepy little community nestled into the bosom of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.  As we awoke Saturday morning 400 miles lie between where we were and where we wanted to be.  Covering that amount of distance in a single day has become nearly unfathomable for us, however in this case, the push seemed like a fair trade off considering the raw beauty that awaited us.

As you can see in the picture above, we’ve done just fine for ourselves.  Our BLM boondocking spot provides us with all we could ask for, especially when considering the cost is free. We’ll sit here for a week, then hopefully sync up with a few friends further east.  Until then, this is location will be a fantastic place to call home.

 

 

 

A Desert Holiday

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Again this year, Kelly and I spent the holidays in the desert, far away from the snow and ice plaguing much of the country.

With plans to rendezvous with fellow nomadic travelers, we pointed Moose and the Airstream west.  About 2.5 hours later we arrived to Quartzsite, AZ – a location many fulltime RV travelers will know (arguably) as the RV capital of the Southwest.  At least during winter months anyway.

A town of 3,600 residents that swells to nearly 100,000 (yes – 100,000) during winter, Quartzsite is an RV mecca of sorts. When visiting this time of year expect big rigs and big crowds.

Almost as if playing bumper cars with one another, most RVs situate close to town.  Not us.

With a goal to avoids the crowds, we set-up shop about 20 miles south of town on a sweet patch of BLM land adjacent to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.  For ten days, the grounds were nearly empty as we shared hundreds of acres with only one other couple.  Effectively the middle of nowhere, we felt right at home.

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photo credit @gm3sf

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photo credit @gm3sf

photo credit @gm3sf

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Shortly after Christmas Day the New Year’s crew began arriving and we eventually peaked at ten total rigs.  Kelly and I already knew most of the group, but did make a few new acquaintances.

Our group could not have asked for better weather as bid adieu to 2016.  We enjoyed a fantastic group pot luck dinner, champagne, and loads of good laughter as the calendar rolled over into 2017.

It was perfect.

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photo credit @gm3sf

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Photo credit @gm3sf

 

Visiting The Sierra Nevada Mountains

Over the years I have heard countless praise for the Eastern Sierras, but have never had a good opportunity to visit.  Specifically, I’ve been itching to spend time wandering the highly acclaimed Hwy 395 (California) corridor, which travels from suburban Los Angeles northbound through Oregon before terminating at the US-Canada border.   Over a distance roughly 560 miles, this scenic  byway boasts some of the most beautiful mountains in the west.

On the heels of a stay in Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows, our first stop was the popular Oh Ridge Campground, a national forest campground adjacent to June Lake.

Descending Tioga Pass

Descending Tioga Pass

I’d heard that the descent out of Yosemite along Tioga Pass can be a bit harrowing in tow.  As this was my first big mountain decent with the Airstream, 12 miles of mostly shoulder-less, steep grade with just enough sharp turns included had me sufficiently stressed out.  In end, the descent wasn’t too bad, but I was plenty happy to have that portion of the trip behind me.

Tioga Pass road officially ends at Hwy 395, but on a strong recommendation from my neighbor, we stopped a bit short of its termination point in order to spent a few hours hiking through Lee Vining Canyon.

Winding next to a small creek, the canyon trail connects a number of wonderful forest service campgrounds.  Primitive, quiet, solar-friendly, and offering cheap prices (especially if you have an interagency pass), these campgrounds are a jewel.  Given their close proximity to Yosemite’s east entrance, coupled with a fraction of the crowds, you can bet I’ll likely stay at one of these sites when I next visit Yosemite.

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Lee Vining Canyon

Brother-in-law Chris, Kelly, and Dave

Brother-in-law Chris, Kelly, and Dave

Arrival to Oh Ridge was about as easy as I could hope.  The park was nearly empty and excluding the handful of direct waterfront sites, we had our pick of the campground.  Oh Ridge is lovely and I’d highly recommend it as a “home base” for many excursions.  Within an hour’s drive to the north or south, many day hiking options are available across a wide variety of terrain.

Our Oh Ridge Campsite

Our Oh Ridge Campsite

Playing with Lilly in June Lake

Playing with Lilly in June Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mono Lake

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Brodie Ghost Town

Bodie Ghost Town

Having concluded a few nights at Oh Ridge, it was time to push about 1.5hrs south to our boondocking site north of Bishop. Using social media insights from other bloggers, we narrowed into a section of BLM land and snagged a great site about 15 minutes north of town.

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

Bishop Boondocking Site

I’d heard a lot of good feedback regarding the town of Bishop, but I’m still not sure if I can give a strong endorsement.  That said, the surrounding area is A+ and for that reason, I’d highly recommend Bishop, less for the town, but more because of the abundant surrounding outdoor playland.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Tyee Lakes Trail

Also, there is a Ford dealer in Bishop, which provided me an opportunity to test-drive a new truck.  I was very pleasantly surprised with the ride quality of the new diesel-powered F-250, which now has me thinking upgrade …