Sunday, March 13, 2011

JEEPING AROUND IN THE ALABAMA HILLS

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It is clouds that give our Earth’s sky it’s personality & bring forth from we humans ooohs & awes at sunrise & sunset.  There are a lot of ooohs & awes here in the great Southwest:))

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Decided to head the Jeep up Whitney Portal road this morning & see how far up into the mountains we could get.  It’s a steady climb upwards to Mount Whitney & when we saw our first Bear caution sign we knew we were into the tree line.  A series of road signs soon told us the road ahead was closed due to snow so we pulled into a large parking area with a lot of cars in it.  Found out from a rock climber there that a lot of the cars belonged to fellow rock climbers.  These young folks loaded themselves down with heavy climbing gear & then hiked up the closed road for 3 miles before even beginning their rugged rock climbing adventures.  There are some things that are totally inconceivable to me I had just heard about another one.

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Noticed a dirt road dropping off the mountain in the direction of Lone Pine so we pointed the Jeep’s nose downward on Hogback Road & enjoyed the long winding run back down into the Alabama Hills.  Turns out we linked right up with Movie Road & it wasn’t long & we were in familiar territory.

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TURNS OUT THE TWO FOLKS IN THIS PICTURE WERE FROM ROCHESTER NY & THAT IS JUST ABOUT WHERE KELLY IS FROM IN SPENCERPORT

I was showing Kelly some of the movie locations along Movie Road when she noticed some rock climbers high up on a rock face.   We Jeeped ourselves over to the base of the rock, ate our egg salad sandwiches & watched the climbers for awhile.  For the life of me I don’t know why people do things like that.

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We have been here in the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine California about 5 days now & from what we have seen we both agree that this is the greatest place we have traveled to so far.  The rocky hills with their rugged beauty are criss crossed with miles & miles of back roads & endless Jeep trails.  With the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west & the Inyo Mountains to the east we are in a large valley with Owens Lake visible to the South.  The beauty of the Alabama Hills is beyond description.

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With 2 of the highest rock climbers back safely on the ground we headed the final distance down to the Valley floor & the little town of Lone Pine.  Stopped at the Visitor’s Center to fill some water jugs, grabbed a tank of gas & drove to the Northern end of town in search of a Cairn marking the spot where 27 residents of Lone Pine lay buried after a devastating earthquake destroyed much of the town on March 26th 1872.  The Cairn stands atop the very fault line that fractured the town.

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It was mid afternoon before we arrived back at the rig.  The clouds were sitting right on the mountain tops with shafts of sunlight playing across the snowy peaks.  Tomorrow we will head up a mountain road just south of us that we have read is very exciting….if you like heights:))

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NIKON D40 AT 300mm

Had a few problems with Live Writer/Picasa regarding my photos in Saturday night’s blog so if anyone clicked on the post early & found the pics a bit fuzzy, the problem is fixed now.  Also had a question about the movie photo pics I used to find the locations.  If you stop at Lone Pine’s Chamber of Commerce or the BEVERLY & JIM ROGERS MUSEUM you can pick up a self guided booklet to the sites.  Each site has a black & white photo in the booklet with directions how to get to the locations.  I simply laid the booklet on the Jeep bumper or on a nearby rock & photographed the B&W photo plus the caption under it.   Nothing is marked at any of these movie locations so you have to do a bit of detective work to find the exact spots & that is part of the fun.  The booklet explains what rock formations to look for plus 5 of the locations are within short walking distance of each other:))

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And, we just picked up another map showing some more movie & TV related locations near Movie Road so I will get myself on over there shortly to see what I can see.  Of particular interest will be the Lone Ranger ambush site from the 1938 movie starring Lee Powell.

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SPRING IS IN THE AIR AROUND HERE & I HEARD MY FIRST ROBIN THIS AFTERNOON.  BIRD ON THE ROCK IS A MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD

Before I forget, someone had inquired about the GPS coordinates for the grassy BLM location we had last week just north of Joshua Tree.  They are: N34*10 13592 by W116*13.7468 (if I got it right)

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THIS OAK TREE IS FROM SHERWOOD FOREST IN ENGLAND

Very early Sunday morning I actually saw ‘time fly.’  My day started at 1:55 a.m. according to the computer.  Motormouse woke me up needing a snuggle so that was that & I was up for the day.  At precisely 2 a.m. & in the blink of an eye I saw the computer clock jump forward to 3 a.m. as we switched to Daylight Saving Time.  Because my body is still set on Ontario time this moving ahead is a bonus for me.  

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Felicia & Jeff over at HIGGINS POD have made some modifications to their newer travel trailer & are anxious to haul it out of winter storage & get it on the road for some early Spring camping.  Russ over at TRAVELS IN THERAPY is having some indecision problems in thinking about future travel plans.  Revisit all the old familiar places or forge on to new destinations.  It’s a common problem for a lot of us hitch itch people for sure………

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GROANER’S CORNER:))    As a blonde crawls out of her wrecked jeep, the local sheriff asks her what happened.

The blonde began, "It was the strangest thing! I looked up and saw a tree, so I swerved to the right. Then I saw another tree, so I swerved to left. Then there was another tree, and another and another ..."

The sheriff thought for a minute and then said, "I don’t know how to tell you this, but the only thing even resembling a tree on this road for thirty miles is your air freshener!!”

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The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right now...... AL.

15 comments:

  1. My middle son has always been an avid rock climber, and has climbed nearly all e major peaks on the West Coast.a. I don't even like to think about it, Now that he has a son I wish he would Leave all that stuff behind' but he'll probably be teaching the boy before long. He gets his love of the outdoors from me, so I am happy about that.

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  2. there is snow on them thar hills!..are you sure you in the southwest!??..rock climbers are a 'crazy bunch'!..my feet would be firmly planted on the ground..not a big fan of heights!!

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  3. You always get the best "Mountain shots" I have ever laid my eyes on Al! Well done. Sure won't get a picture of me climbing rock...

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  4. I try to go down 395 the last week of Sept to the first week of Oct. I end up in Lone Pine in time for the Movie Festival. They have placards set up all over the Alabama Hills with pictures of scenes from the movies, and the placards are set right where the scene took place. You would love it!

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  5. Just curious as to what type of survival equipment you keep in the jeep when you venture off onto these back country roads, water, food, blankets, etc.

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  6. This is my favorite place so far, too.....The photos take my breath away....Definitely on our "do it, damnit" list...

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  7. What's the weather like there? Is it warm--seeing all that snow makes us think it is cold!

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  8. Al, thanks for the mention.

    We just love that area down there too. If you stay put for awhile, we'll be right down to join you. It's been super windy and rainy here, so we're looking for some sunshine. Your pictures are wonderful additions to our dreary days here in Eugene.

    Again, thanks so much for sharing. You have such terrific photos, and such a way with words! Love your writing, too. Obviously, we are your devoted followers, and will happily continue.

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  9. What a contrast to see the snowy mountains in the desert.,,

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  10. We are used to your excellent photos but this new place sure has given them extra kick. Sometimes it is not the photographer, it is the subject, but this time I think both are working in our favour.

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  11. The Eastern Sierras, the open desert, the rolling hills and huge rocks...what more could a body want? I can't wait to get back down there - and this time, spend more time in the area around Lone Pine and not be so all-fired hot to trot to Bishop (although Bishop will always be my true love!). No place on earth that I love better than the Owens Valley. Thank you so much for sharing all the wonderful pictures and descriptions.

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  12. I know that many of your readers know and love Lone Pine - me included. Thanks for your wonderful posts!

    Sitting here in Sacramento, looking out on a dreary, rainy day, your photos and commentary transport me to Lone Pine, to Whitney Portal Road (getting up to that higher elevation is important in summer!), to movie road. I know the road you are taking to the south - whew!

    I'm so glad you are loving Lone Pine... it is truly a special area. Lone Pine to Lee Vining... I could spend half the year there! Are you sure you want to go back to Cochise County next winter? :)

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  13. I know why Rock climbers do it. Just because they can... and they enjoy it.

    As for me I just cant find enough enjoyment in learning all the stuff you need to know to do all the beautiful photography work some people do or bouncing around in a jeep on dusty roads or hiking up a rocky trail, that just dont rock my boat ...but I sure enjoy reading about you enjoying it to the max... Just because you can :-)

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  14. We woke up to 2 inches of new snow here in Kansas City, and it may be colder and more nasty farther North, so enjoy your stay in warm California and don't be in too much of a hurry about driving East!

    And I think you have found a new place on Earth to add to your favorites list! And I'll bet you will be back again.

    Rod

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  15. Breath taking pictures as usual. After reading your blog for a while, I was reminded of an audio book series we have enjoyed over the years called "Hank the Cowdog." I just wrote a blog about it and I think you would love the stories! They remind me of the ranches.

    I know you enjoy humor, from your groaners corner!

    My blog is at http://merika-merika.blogspot.com/

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