Tuesday, December 3, 2013

High Sierra Camping part two

It's Saturday morning, and after a short light breakfast, (yogurt and granola - breakfast of camping champions) We are off to Mono lake for a canoe tour.

Mono lake is filled with brine shrimp and flies, and has been the subject of a large conservation effort since Los Angeles county began diverting water away in 1941. It's been a long slow recovery.

The valley is filled with Sage - so strong you can almost drink in the scent.

We get in our not-so-stable canoes and learn a little about he history of the lake.
The Ospreys are slowly returning and making nests at the tops of the tufas.

It's beautiful and serene. Paddling on such a calm surface reminds you of just how small you are...

There are other birds that fill the area. This is a Says Phoebe.

And this is another osprey warming its wings.

I did mention the flies, didn't I?

There is other wildlife too.

Time, salt, mud and some erosion makes these little structures that could be mesa houses if they were larger. As they stand, they are about 8 inches high.

The lake is very salty. This is what happens when you take your water shoes off.
The gulls don't seem to mind.

We finish our tour after about an hour and walk around. One of our team heads home a day early, the rest of us head back to Mammoth and sit still for the afternoon.

I leave early the next morning. It's a pretty ride through Yosemite, I'm not in a rush and enjoy the meadows and lakes of the upper section while slowly working my way around tourist vans and busses.

I make it down to Groveland and the valley has the distinct smell of smoke. Apparently I threaded a needle - a wild fire had taken over the area and they would be evacuating some sections later that day. It would have been a long ride back the other direction.

Arrived at home at 3:00pm. I'm unpacking the sage I harvest from the campsite and placing it all around the house. For the next six days, the house is filled with the smell of the high sierras, and I'm sleeping better.

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Sierra Camping

I didn't have the time to take my bus on this mini-campout. I had to leave late, and I had to make good time.

My ridiculously awesome friends sensed that I needed to get out of town, so they insisted and I went on my other german vehicle. (BMW motorcycle, two cylinders, horizontally opposed, don't hate me.)

Typically, when I go to this part of California, I drive along hwy 120, and turn right on 49, heading to Yosemite. This time, it was 120 to 108 all the way up into MonoVista, Twain Harte, and the Stanislaus National Forest. I'm heading for Buckeye Hot Springs

The Pass at Sonora is at 9,623', and at one point, reaches a 23% grade. It's a twist of the wrist and a lean left, then forward to balance the weight, then right, and a downshift, then... you get the picture.

Here's the map if you want to get an idea of just how twisted this road is.

I connect to 395 at 9:00pm, and make it to Bridgeport  by 9:30. The instructions say to turn toward twin lakes, and look for signs to the hot springs - difficult at night. I miss the turn off, and make it all the way back to Twin Lakes Resort. The bartender there is closing up (at 10???) and tells me where I'm going.

It's another dirt road, and a couple of cliffs, and I'm riding on them at night. Magically, I find the campsite, and my VW friends are there, with food.

I awake to this the next morning.

The hot springs are about a mile walk, none of us are interested.  We opt for Travertine hot springs just outside of Bridgeport instead. So I ride out first, and in hindsight, have no idea how I found this place last night.

I refill in Bridgeport after a brisk paced ride through some beautiful turns on a perfect sunny morning, Bridgeport has the dubious distinction of the most expensive gas in California. I think it was 5.35/gallon. I didn't take a picture of it, my camera would have shattered it's lens in protest.

Travertine Hot springs are located here. I've got a moment to unwind and let my sore shoulders and wrist decompress.

 The water is at about 110f and cools to around 100 be the time it hits the pool.

We warm up, relax, and then head to Mammoth, our second night for camping.

We are just outside of monolake and it's time for a panoramic photo.

We arrive in Mammoth lakes,  and the campsite is full of other vehicles. We find our site and I set up the tent. It's not as comfy as my bus, but I sleep fine in it.

Mike and I decide to explore some of the other vehicles. Hwy 395 is famous for offroad adventures, We were sure to find some machines that had too much money poured into them - not that there is anything wrong with that.

This beast was towing a re-purposed army trailer complete with fold outs for easy access.

I'm a sucker for a sportsmobile. The owner told me that the two screaming children inside were for sale. I think they had a rough day.

We didn't do much other than warm ourselves by a fire, we had a day of Kayaking ahead.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Airhead Treffen 2013

If you have a couple of weeks free, you may want to join the Airhead team on their annual treffen (trip/gathering).

They drive through San Francisco and do their best to get a good photo op in each year.

Here a a few of this years photos, in the same location as 2011.

Just for reference, here are my choices from previous years:



Friday, October 11, 2013

Yahoo Photo Happiness

As long as I'm the topic of Bus photos...

If you use Yahoo Mail, you may use the "themes" to enhance your background or personalize your mail. They have all sorts of generic clouds, rainbows, etc. But recently, they started using peoples images on Flickr, which they own. (Flickr, not the pictures).

I got contacted about this picture:

They wanted to use it. I gave them permission. And now, if you use Yahoo mail, you can use it as a background. Note: To get the background on your iphone/pad download the yahoo mail app. The themes button is at the bottom of the left hand menu.

The rest of the pictures that they use are curated here.

I might be a little bit proud. A little.

And in case you want to know, Hwy 128 outside of Moab in Uath, near Castle Creek. Also, no editing, that's the raw image. It was a good day.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Photo engagement

About a month ago, I got a call from a couple. Big Blue sent them my way, they wanted to rent my bus for an afternoon. They got engaged and wanted a photo session with the bus.

The back story is that he had a bus that was broken, fixed, broken, fixed, broken, fixed... bus pilots know this story all to well. He eventually sold it when money was tight (a story even MORE familiar) but misses it.

So I polished up red for the couple, the photographer did an excellent job.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bus City - Movie night

It's one of my annual "must go to" events. The weekend before Memorial day, the school house canyon campground opens up their site - just for us.

A few years back, several of us discussed a movie night. It would require a projector, a sound system, a screen, and a good movie. This year it happened. The Bus movie was a good excuse to test out the projection system.

One year we will curate the "how to fix" videos and advertisments, and run through the classic ads.
Of course we did the annual Korbel tour and tasting.

Parked at Korbel were several of these funny shaped "only a mother could love" cars. Apparently, the "ultravan" company of Oakland California made these hideous things for a short time, and a small group of insane people restore and drive them. Sounds familiar...

This is my annual excuse to put up the tent, I'm not the only one who does it.

See you next year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A drinking crowd with a VW problem

There are t-shirts of various places around the country that say - a drinking town with a here. I.E. "Breckenridge, a quaint little drinking town with a skiing problem". And "Portland - a quaint little drinking town with a Hipster problem". Our little camping group isn't full of drunks and/or alcoholics, but we like our wine and our beer. Occasionally, we like a cocktail. 

This year at George's Birthday party,  I tried my hand at cocktails. (George is John LaTorre's bus. See Here for more)

For those who prefer an easily made drink, we had other options.
And if drinking an adult beverage is not your think, there is always eating.
Or maybe you don't like the food we brought. Then I hope you have a sweet tooth.
What? You don't like cake? Or food? Or beer? or a cocktail? Then I have no idea why you are camping with us... perhaps you just like to sing.
Or maybe traveling around is your thing

Here's the thing about us... we are an "all of the above" kind of crowd. We don't really care if you bus is new or newer.

Old or older.
Or just weird.
We want to camp, preferably with you. Bring Wine, bring wood. Drive, camp, be well.

Introducing, The Squirrel

I have another VW. I know it's a sickness. I'm cutting and pasting the post that I put on the samba: The Back story: My grandpare...