Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trying to Escape the Heat

DSC09535                                                                      Rock Creek, CA

We finally made our way out of Jojoba Hills on Saturday morning. We learned one thing, and that is we would not stay there into July again. June was not bad, and we could tolerate the 80s and low 90s that we experienced, but when the heat wave hit and our last couple days were in the 100s, there was no way our AC could keep us cool enough. Maybe if we had a better insulated RV and one with dual air conditioners it would have helped, but no matter what it was hot. Luckily Terry and LuAnn invited us for happy hour Friday night at their place, which was cooler than ours. Yes, the 88 degrees was inside and the AC never cut off all day.


Before we left Jim managed to repair the toilet, and not only did he fix the broken foot pedal spring cartridge, but he also took the toilet off and replaced the flush valve and put on new seals. It’s the first time in years that our toilet has held water, which is taking some getting used to. I wisely went to Temecula for groceries so I didn’t have to be a part of that nasty job!

He also replaced the steering damper on the Lazy Daze, which was a relatively quick and easy job once he figured out where to put bottle jack to raise the front fend or better access.

I, meanwhile, cleaned up all the patio furniture and put it in the shed after moving stuff back into the car. Now that we have storage we have to be sure not to leave things behind that we might need.

We have what we think is an orange tree in our yard but the previous residents said it had never produced fruit over the four years they were there.


I noticed lots of little fruit a few weeks ago so we’ll see what they turn into this fall/winter.


We had planned to stop and visit friends Robin and Lydia in Ridgecrest on Saturday but it was even hotter there and we just couldn’t tolerate another triple digit day, so once we hit 395 we just kept going, waiting for the temperature to drop. Jim was worried about driving in such high heat but we had no problems. Passing through Bishop, where it was 102 degrees, we found a vacant lot about a block from Schat’s bakery and stopped to pick up a few Energy Loaves. We then continued on to Tom’s Place and French Camp forest service campground, at just over 7,000’ elevation and 85 degrees. Still warm but it felt great compared to the three previous days. Although the campground was only about half full, we could not find a site that was level and long enough for us so we drove another 6 miles up the road to Crowley Lake BLM campground. After 349 miles of driving we were more than ready to stop for the day.

With the senior pass it’s $4 a night, which gets you a spot of dirt with a picnic table, very clean vault toilets, potable water for filling jugs, a dump station, and some pretty nice views.


Driver side.


Passenger side.



We wanted to stay in this area to revisit Little Lakes Valley, one of our favorite hikes when we were here in 2013. It was late Sunday morning before we made our way up Rock Creek Rd to the trailhead at 10,200’. We were surprised to find a parking spot in the main lot, and no cars parked along the road or the overflow lot, but most people probably started earlier in the morning and had already finished by the time we got there. There was only a 20% chance of an afternoon thunderstorm so we were hoping for the best. And we didn’t know how far we would get considering we have not acclimated to the elevation and haven’t been hiking much lately.



It’s all uphill but not super steep so we just took it slow. Photo ops abound here.


After a half mile there is a junction where we stopped to catch our breath. We did this hike twice and both times continued straight towards Morgan Pass, so I asked a woman who was passing by if she knew anything about the other trail to Mono Pass. She said since we hadn’t gone that way before we should at least go to Ruby Lake, but she didn’t know how far that was. She said there was more elevation gain but the views made it worthwhile, so we decided to try something different.


Instead of being down in the valley passing by numerous lakes, this trail ascends rocky switchbacks up the eastern slope of Mt. Starr, where the views of the valley just get better and better.







0.3 mile spur trail to Ruby Lake.


The sky was getting dark and it sprinkled a bit, but we made it to the lake before the thunder began. Luckily it only lasted a few minutes and blew away from us. We had come 2.5 miles and climbed almost 1,000’ so this was a good place to turn back anyway.



Clearing skies made for some nicer shots on the way down. This was my favorite.




We were glad we took a new-to-us trail, in spite of it being more difficult. You really can’t go wrong as all of the trails here are extremely scenic.The funny thing is, although we haven’t been at elevation, we didn’t feel any worse than we ever do on these kinds of hikes. Last summer in CO we camped at 9,000’ for weeks and the hiking never got any easier.


Yesterday we took the bikes to Mammoth Lakes and rode the mostly paved Town Loop. It’s hilly and our legs were tired from the hike the day before, but we stopped along the way at several outdoor gear shops and only rode 7.5 miles, which was plenty.

Check out the height of the sign with the cross country skier. The snow must get pretty deep!




After the ride we went by Black Doubt Brewing Co, where we had a most excellent Peanut Butter Imperial Stout on nitro. Pam, you would have loved it!


We followed up our beer with dinner at Zpizza. Today we’re moving a short 36 miles north to Lee Vining to do a little exploring on the east side of Yosemite. It feels good to be traveling again.


  1. Gulp! My heart is in my throat to see so many of the places we visited those many years ago when we lived in California. The area around Bishop was always the goal. Lovely photos; thank you for sharing them.

    I'm still teared up from just having read about Katie, but your pictures helped a bit.

    Virtual hugs,


    1. We met up with Barbara and Katie many times and loved that sweet little dog. I was heartbroken to read about it, too.

      Bishop is NOT the place to be in summer!

  2. Love Little Lakes Valley! My very favorite hike! Think I saw you there in 2013.

    1. Yes, I remember how funny it was to see someone we knew on the trail! If you haven't taken the Mono Pass trail, it's really lovely, but then it all is up there.

  3. Thank you for another great report. At least the humidity did not equal the temperature like here.

    1. You are right about the humidity. It makes a huge difference when it's only in the teens. The problem is we had sun baking the side of the rig in the afternoon when the sun was the hottest so it was really hard to keep cool.

  4. Another beautiful hike for you, I don't think the Eastern Sierra could ever become boring! !

  5. Love it!!!! Imagine hiking that shit everyday all summer long...

    1. It's not too shabby where you spend your summer hiking, either :-)

  6. So glad you took the other trail. What amazing views!! We'll have to give this one a try during our next visit now that we live so much closer to this area. Traveling 395 was so much fun, and we have lots left to explore. Did you camp on the side of Crowley Lake that has the columns? We could get to them on our second visit because the water was too high.

    1. You would have loved this trail. Maybe you two can make it to the pass to see what else we missed.
      No, the BLM campground just has a view of Crowley Lake. It is on the west side of 395. We need a jeep to try and get to those columns!

    2. We thought Crowley Lake columns were on the other side from your photo. I forgot to mention the beer. Peanut butter nitro stout sounds wonderful!!

  7. I hiked up Rock Creek in late April but turned back because of snow. Once again, timing is everything! The area you hiked looks great.

    1. Road was still closed due to snow a couple years ago when we passed this way in May. I think late summer/early fall is the best time to hike in this area, but it's beautiful anytime.

  8. We hiked the Little Lakes Trail in the early fall a couple of years ago and loved it! Definitely our favorite hike in the area. I'm impressed that you haven't been hiking at elevation and didn't even feel it. The bike trail looks like fun—we'll try that next time!

    1. We hiked Little Lakes in the fall the first time,too. Love that area!

  9. Although we miss our neighbors, we are happy for the two of you that you were able to escape the heat somewhat and get in some great hikes. Keep those beautiful photos coming. Tomorrow we are off to San Diego for a couple of days.

    1. Enjoy your respite in San Diego. Say hi to Norm and Shirley for us!

  10. Looks like absolutely gorgeous country like I knew it would. Definitely need to explore more of 395 and the Eastern Sierras. Was hoping for a job there that didn't pan out.

    1. Too bad that job didn't work out. Your camera would be working overtime around here.

  11. Your pics of the mountain hike are stunning!! We love that area too, although it definitely gets some of the heat. Glad you were able to escape the worst of it - and with a fully functioning toilet!! Nothing better than a peanut butter stout :-)

    1. Last night in Reno we had a peanut butter chocolate stout. There seems to be a pattern here.