Monday, April 26, 2010

Bee Is For Bakersfield

Monday: (04/26) After our showers we were on our way toward Mojave, Tehachapi, and Bakersfield. We gassed up in Mojave then stopped in Tehachapi for lunch at the Apple Shed. I had twice baked potato soup while Lou had a slice of apple pie. I followed my soup with a slice of pie as well. We then walked around downtown checking the antique and thrift stores. Lou found a couple of puzzles at one thrift store and another featherweight sewing machine at an antique store, that wasn't even open, for a great price. We also stopped by the local Ace Hardware store and they had some new lounge chairs for $36 each. We can't restring our existing for that price. Finally we had to leave and were off to Bakersfield.

We arrived at Aunt Helen's about 4:45. Lou and Helen went off to get a couple of pails of strawberries to make jam with. They were busy all evening preparing them.

We went out to Bill Lee's Bamboo Chopsticks Restaurant for dinner. The usual Cantonese Chinese fare with their family dinner #1.

Tuesday: (04/27) Breakfast was strawberry pancakes and eggs.

Today was chore day. I worked at some brush trimming in the yard, got Helen's motorhome started and exercised and other miscellaneous tasks. While we were out in the front yard, Lou noticed the air was full of bees. They were everywhere in the front yard and street. They found a place to settle in, Helen's backyard.

Big Bee Swarm Small Bee Swarm
We also had a swarm of bees arrive in the yard so we got to watch as a beekeeper removed them. The large swarm was about the size of two basketballs. The small swarm on the ground about the size of a baseball. The small swarm contained a queen bee. There may have been a queen in the large swarm as well?

Beekeeper Removing Bees Bees All Boxed Up
The beekeeper carted away about 3 gallows of bees. Good ridence. The aren't a good pet.

Dinner was spaghetti with a green salad.

Wednesday: (04/28) Cereal for breakfast. After breakfast, Lou and I went downtown to the new Central Park for a walk. They have turned an old park with a fenced canal through it into a nice park with a nice water feature in it. Unfortunately there is a duckling trap in it. The little ducks get swept over a weir into some fast water with no place to climb out or rest. Hopefully they fix it.

We also looked around downtown and in the Westchester area. While Lou concentrated on looking around Beverly's Fabric store, I took a walk around and found a place to get the RV oil changed and browsed at motorcycles.

For lunch we went to Donna Kay's Cafe on Oak Street. After lunch we all went our separate ways. I took the RV out to get gas, empty the holding tanks and get an oil change. Among other things, Lou visited some thrift stores.

Thursday: (04/29) Strawberry waffles for breakfast. I finished up posting the recent photos onto this blog. Lou and I will be out on the town today shopping and looking. Lou and Helen were busy finishing the strawberry jam. Lou went out thrifting while Helen and I move her RV to her son's house for storage.

For lunch we went out to Spenser's Restaurant on Rosedale Highway for chicken tortilla soup. We then did some shopping at Lowe's for light switches and OSH for a descent piece of plywood. When we got home, I replaced all Helen's light switches with newer Decor style switches.

Dinner was leftovers, spaghetti, rice, chicken, beans, and other stuff.

Friday: (04/30) Lou and I were off early to the Ranch Market in South Bakersfield for breakfast. Huevos Rancheros for $1.99. We went on a shopping excursion all around town. We got son odd bolts for Lou's sewing machine. We visited Harbor Freight Tools which is always interesting. Lou visited Hancock Fabric next door. We also visited Costco. I stopped by another motorcycle shop, just looking. We drove by my childhood home location which is now a warehouse district and drove by our former house to see how the neighborhood is doing. Our final stop was at the Winco market for some groceries to resupply the RV. So we wasted the entire day out having fun.

Lou's roommate from 35 years ago, Anita, dropped by for a visit. She and Lou went out to dinner at Applebee's.

I cut a piece of plywood to make an attic access door for Helen's garage and installed it.

Helen and I went to dinner at the Casa Mexico restaurant on Rosedale Highway. I had a fish taco and chili relleno and Helen had a chile verde burrito. We then stopped by and picked up the missing switch for Helen's switch conversion project. I miscounted the number of switches I'd need. I had just enough daylight to get the last switch installed.

Saturday: (05/01) Breakfast was oatmeal or grits. Lou and I had a couple of errands before we left. Another stop at the Pioneer Mercantile hardware store for some nylon web strapping and buckles for our chair cover that Lou is making. A stop at Walmart for some items and we were ready to go.

We made it away about 11:30 heading East on Highway 178 through the Kern River Canyon. We had a nice visit here in Bakersfield, made much nicer by the unusually nice cooler weather. We stopped in Lake Isabella at the Von's market for lunch. Baked potato soup and a pastrami sandwich.

We continued on highway 178 to highway 14 then North to highway 395 stopping at Coso Junction for a nap and walk before continuing on to Lone Pine.

Note: We left Bakersfield headed back North along the Eastern Sierra mountains. We'll be without Internet most of the time so posts will be sporadic.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Sunday: (04/25) We found a nice level campsite out in the Joshua tree groves at Red Rock Canyon State Park. And of course there are lots of different flowers, most rather small but colorful.

Dinner was leftover spaghetti with fried toast.

Monday: (04/26) We enjoyed leftover potatoes and ham with eggs and biscuit for breakfast then we took our morning walk. We walked out the wash near our camp then up onto the ridge at the top of the bluffs overlooking the campground then back via a different wash. The flowers here are still good, some plants haven't yet flowered and we'll miss the show. While many are tiny, only an inch or so talk, there are still a few bigger flowers. And we found some new flowering bushes. So, the walk was productive. Lou surprised me with a birthday card. I had forgotten that my birthday was today. I'm not sure weather it was the distractions of our travels or senility?


High View Of Our Campsite Low View Of Our Campsite
Our Red Rock Canyon campsite from above on the bluff and below in the desert.

Lizard Flower
We always find lots of interesting things to see on our walks.

Flower Flower
Here at Red Rock Canyon most of the flowers are small. And most are different than elsewhere.

Flower Flower
Some flowers of small stature (1 inch) make a big impression. Even the bushes are competing.

Flower Flower
Left, some are proudly trumpeting.

Flower Flower
The small flowers in the washes look the same except in various colors and shades.

Flower Flower
Some are really decorated.

Flower Flower
Some are frilly.

Flower Flower
Some are solo acts.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lone Pine, Alabama Hills BLM

(Note: we are having Internet connection problems so post will be more sporadic for a while.)

Sunday: (04/18) We headed West on highway 190 toward Lone Pine. It's a pretty good climb out of Death Valley and a pretty steep downgrade on the other side. We pulled over about half way and let the brakes cool some. We stopped at the Inter-agency Information Center and got some information including where to camp.

Our Campsite In The Alabama Hills Alabama Hills
We usually stay at the Tuttle Creek BLM campground but decided to try boondocking off Movie Road on some BLM land used by the film studios. In fact we had to wait to get on the road while they were shooting. Also, our campsite is above a second shooting location. Maybe we'll get to watch them tomorrow.

Dinner was leftovers from our failing refrigerator. Hopefully it gets better here with cooler weather otherwise, we may have to start eating out?

Sinrise View Of Sierras Snowy Sierras
Monday: (04/19) After showers it was breakfast time. More from the refrigerator. Leftover ham sandwiches then yogurt and jam.

Alabama Hills Arch
We took a walk around the boulders nearby. Lots of flowers to be seen. We also walked by the two bigger arches. One nicely frames Mt Whitney while the other is in the shape of a heart. Nice cool sunny weather!

The Motosat dish is still not working so this will be a delayed post.

Brunch was a chicken pot pie. Hiking brings on a good hunger.

Alabama Hills Arch
We drove up the mountain a couple of miles on Whitney Portal Road to a trail to another arch. Very nice arch but difficult to use it to frame the mountains.

Horned Lizard Leopard Lizard
On the way we saw another horned lizard. This one was a different breed than the one we saw at Joshua Tree NP. We also drove over to Tuttle Creek BLM and Diaz Lake to look at campsites but our current camp is good enough. We also saw a leopard lizard though he was a bit camera shy.

Lou fixed chicken with garlic, onions and Parmesan cheese with fresh asparagus for dinner. The wind has gotten stronger and clouds showed up this afternoon so maybe we are in for a storm.

The wind picked up and blew through the night so we enjoyed some time inside tinkering. Lou fixed a green salad for supper.

Tuesday: (04/20) I fixed Don McMuffins for breakfast. The wind is still blowing strongly so, since I like my hat, we're not hiking this morning. Looks like the wind may be here a couple of more days? I processed the pictures from the past couple of days while Lou worked on a new doll. Since the satellite dish is acting up they will all be posted as possible.

We had tomato soup for lunch before driving downtown to look around. The clouds were dropping down the East side of the mountains and the wind was blowing. As were were walking around town, it started to rain some. The mountains look nice shrouded in the clouds.

We stopped at McDonald's for tea and to use their WiFi to catch up on email and blog posts.

Lou was exploring all the shops. We enjoyed dinner at the Mt Whitney Restaurant. Nice pork ribs with beans and fries.

Wednesday: (04/21) It's cold (30 degrees) this morning but the skies are mostly clear above us with no wind. Some clouds are hanging near the mountains on both the East and West. The mountains on the East that had little snow before yesterday are cover ed today. Some mountain tops to the West are solidly covered this morning. Looks like a good hiking day.

Lou fixed peppers, onions and potatoes with eggs and smoked pork shop for breakfast. She also baked some brownies since it was cold this morning and because they're so good.

We enjoyed listening to the local radio stations. They're in Bishop but cover the whole Eastern Sierra. It's neat to hear the sports casts which are about the high schools and to hear peoples anniversaries announced and other small town news. We only seem to get two stations one strong signal that plays country music and presents the usual right wing flavored news. I prefer the weak signaled middle of the road music station. It seems to be more intellectual than red neck. Yesterday we enjoyed it when it was playing a reading of a book about an Indian medicine man.

And then there is the fishing news. General fishing season starts this Saturday but fishing has been open South of Independence even now. We aren't fishermen yet but may come back sometime and try it here. The streams sure are nice.

Alabama Hills Wash Sierra Viewed Over Alabama Hills
About 10am I took a hike from our camp East toward town and into the rocks. The rocks do seem endless but they do thin out toward town so I scrambled down toward a stream I heard and scrambled over boulders and rocks following it back toward camp. It definitely wasn't a trail but eventually I did come upone a trail that led to a road that returned to our camp. On the way I found the usual excellent wild flower viewing including some new ones and some excellent examples of previously seen flowers. I guess I must have been a terror on clothes when I was young because I managed to put a hole in my pants on the hike. It's a good thing I was wearing long pants thought or I'd have a hole in me. When I'm around big rocks I'm ten years old again except that I feel the hike more afterwords.

Lou worked on her dolls while I took the hike. The 40 degree weather discouraged her from hiking.

When I returned to camp Lou fixed grilled cheese sandwiches and portobello mushroom soup for lunch. Then it was nap time for me but for some reason Lou had enough energy to take a hike, now that it warmed into the high 50's.

Lou fixed dinner of leftover ribs and fries for Lou and a sausage and leftover breakfast potatoes for me all with steamed vegetables. About 6pm after dinner we took a walk. Basically we took my morning hike in reverse except we avoided the rock clinging part that I did and found an easy slope back to the trail and home. Lou got a good look at the stream.

Snow In Alabama hills
The skies were clear above us for our hike, just some clouds by the mountains on either side of us like they had been much of the day. About 8pm we had a lightening storm with some strikes really close and some hail for about 15 minutes. The hail was more like snow.

Thursday: (04/22) We woke to overcast skies but only an occasional sprinkle and no wind. We took the RV down to dump. The dump is at the Boulder Creek RV park south of town, no dumps in the county parks or BLM here. We stopped for breakfast in Lone Pine at McDonald's. The dollar menu is pretty good. The Internet is free so we spent some time there relaxing in the RV parked in the Park behind McDonald's while it rained. When it clears and all the Internet needs are satisfied we go to the dump.

One advantage of the colder weather is the refrigerator is back to normal. Hope that continues. Not sure if it's repaired itself or just likes the cold weather more.

Lou fixed lunch here by the park as the sun came out and the rain had stopped. Sausage and potato salad.

After Lunch, Lou was out exploring the downtown area while I continued to take advantage of the Internet to make some program updates and downloads. About 2pm we finally took care of the main task for the day, going to dump our tanks and get water at the Boulder Creek RV Park south of town. Only $7 but they don't have a real dump just empty spaces and they are part of the club that thinks water flows uphill so I had to nurse the hose to discharge up over the curb of the inlet. There are no dumps in the county parks or BLM here.

With our work done, we returned to the park and Lou continued her explorations while I continued working on the computer. We went to a free concert at the high school auditorium at 7pm. The group Incendio is a group of talented guitarists playing a variety of guitar styles. The percussionist was outstanding. He played the box he sat on, bongo drums, symbols and a huge variety of other bells and rattles. The two lead guitarists really pick out the tunes and one uses a guitar syntisizer which sounded like a piano and other voices used to great advantage. The bass player actually played the bass not just the usual three note repeat. In addition, she plays a mean 12 string guitar. Very nice evening concert and it was free.

Since we were planning to go to the concert, we just remained in the RV in town and then drove up the hill back to our campsite about 10pm.

Friday: (04/23) Lou fixed biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. It's quite windy this morning but nice and clear with snow covered mountains.

About noon we went downtown again. A visit to the Post Office, and a little Internet at McDonald's. Lou stopped by the Chamber Of Commerce to get some directions to a couple of points of Interest.

In 1872 there was a big earthquake here the leveled 56 of 59 buildings in town. Adobe doesn't hold up well to earthquakes. We drove out to a place North of town where the slip is visible and stopped by the victims grave site. Earthquakes aren't rare here. Diaz Lake to the South is an earthquake depression. We also drove out northeast of town to see the old Lone Pine railroad depot. It's part of the old narrow gauge line that the Laws Railroad Museum is part of. Before returning home we stopped for dinner at the Mr Whitney Cafe again for their prime rib special.

When we got home we enjoyed the excellent view of the mountains. There are no clouds at all on or behind them today. The first no cloud day since we arrived. Hopefully the wind is through now. It's pretty nice out this evening.

Saturday: (04/24) After breakfast of Don McMuffins we took a hike through the rocks. We walked up the wash below our camp into the rocks then over a hill when the wash came to just sand hills.

Horned Lizard
We then followed another wash back down through the rocks to where we started and then home. As usual, we came upon some flowers never seen before. And another horded lizard sighting.

Sierra Viewed Over Alabama Hills Sierra Viewed Over Alabama Hills
Again, the same view looks different a few feet away or at a different time.

Lou fixed chili sizes for lunch then we drove downtown for Lou to check a couple of garage sales while I checked email and posted the blog. McDonald's WiFi wasn't working so I used the Espresso Cafe down the street.

On the way home, Lou dropped me off and I walked home. The pink and yellow ribbon trail  that leaves from our campsite toward town ends at the picnic area just outside of town. I hiked up the hill to the water tank then found the trail which is a gravel road at that point and hiked up the Alabama hills to home. It's a nice hike of about 2-3 miles but it's all up. Our campsite is 4.5 miles from town but the trail angles directly toward camp.

When I got back it was definitely time to relax.

I fixed spaghetti for dinner. After dinner we tried one more hike. The mountains just to our East are typical Alabama Hills rocks and some of the highest but there appeared to be a nice slope up to a saddle between the two. We hadn't hiked up it yet and Lou hoped she could get a better cell phone signal from there. Well, these hills fool you. It wasn't a gentle slope. It was very steep and there was a hidden wash crossing it so Lou didn't make it to the top. She did get a good enough signal as far as she went so while she talked I checked the top, or near the top. Some very nice rock caves are there. The top will have to wait for another time if ever. They are like a castle at the top and would involve some rock climbing.

Sunday: (04/25) Another nice clear day but the wind is blowing a bit. Hopefully it dies down enough for a pleasant drive South to Red Rock Canyon SP. Today was laundry day so before we depart we'll do it. For breakfast we got a couple of togo breakfasts ham and eggs for Lou and corned beef hash and eggs for me. They don't skimp so it came in too huge bags. Lou's ham required it's own container. It is the Alabama Hills Cafe and Bakery. maybe next time we'll start with a slice of pie. It is off the highway and seems to be where the locals go.

Lou had a couple of things to get at the hardware store, the pharmacy and the market while I updated this blog.

It's been nice here in the hills and we'll definitely be back, maybe even in a week or so after our visit to Bakersfield. Current plan is to come back North via 395. We departed at noon and fortunately the wind had died down. Next stop will be Red Rock Canyon State Park just South on Highway 395 then 30 or so miles down Highway 14.

Interesting Alabama Hills Rocks:

Fish Rock
Lots of stone faced critters in the Alabama Hills. Some of the rocks look like animate objects like the fish above. You have to always be looking around because the view critters change depending on the sun and your position.

Elephant Rock In Alabama Hills St Bernard Dog Rock
This elephant rock was seen on this mornings hike. The St Bernard dog is just below our campsite.

Some flowers we've seen here in the Alabama Hills:

Flower Flower
And then there are more flowers

Flowers In Alabama Hills Flowers In Alabama Hills
The flowers put on a good show everywhere. Here are some we've seen here in the Alabama Hills.

Flowers In Alabama Hills Flowers In Alabama Hills
These small yellow flowers were like a carpet in some areas. And the red paintbrushes are an interesting touch here and there.

Flowers In Alabama Hills
I've spotted this interesting flower.

Flowers In Alabama Hills Flowers In Alabama Hills
Some flowers can do a lot with just five petals. Sometimes a bush is more than a bush.

Yellow Centered White Flower Yellow Centered White Flower
These flowers are real showmwn.

Flower Flower
These were only seen as the single plant photographed.