My Solo Wanderings of the West

kennyj

Explorer
The next move up the hill was to this campsite about 10 miles outside Mammoth Lakes. I spent a good part of the summer based at this site, making occasional moves to other areas I wanted to check out. Camp was at about 8,000 feet so the summer temps were perfect, usually in the 70s with a few days bumping into the low 80s. And always sunny.


Nearby there are two different routes up to the summit of Bald Mountain east of 395 so I did a long loop to the top and back. What amazing views!


Looking northwest from Bald Mountain lookout.


Of course above the town of Mammoth Lakes are the lakes of the Mammoth Lakes basin. Much of the lakes area didn’t open until 4th of July or later because of the record snowfall.


I can’t even list all the great roads and trails I explored in that area. I put a ton of miles on the bike!

I took a side trip up Tioga Pass to visit Yosemite. This is the incredible grade up from Lee Vining.


The overlook at Olmsted Point looking toward Half Dome. From this viewpoint with binoculars you can watch the hikers on the Half Dome Cables.


A couple views of Tenaya Lake in Yosemite.




continued…
 

kennyj

Explorer
I left the trailer in storage and headed north for a visit to Oregon and Washington. I camped in a bunch of new spots along the way.
This was a beautiful little campground up the highway to Sonora Pass. Nearby was the US Marines Mountain Warfare training center.
I stayed a couple days to explore up the pass and some of the area.


Reaching Oregon, I always wanted to visit the Cascade Lakes Highway area. Unfortunately I didn’t know that all the lakes would be drained by mid-August so a lake-front campsite was now a riverfront site. It was still a beautiful area with many roads to explore and quite a change from the Sierras.


I took about 2 weeks, visiting some new areas, traveling from Mammoth to Springfield where I had a great visit with family and did a little camping in the area around Eugene.
I didn’t make it to Washington as something came up and I had to return to Mammoth. I got settled back in the trailer and started the Fall move back south, trying to stay ahead of September freezing nighttime temps.
Fall colors were starting in the higher elevations. From Bishop I spent a day riding up to South Lake, North Lake, and Sabrina Lake.
This was taken along Bishop Creek.


From Bishop I headed back south staying at Aberdeen, then to Tuttle Creek at Lone Pine.
I took a ride up the mountain to Horseshoe Meadows. What a beautiful ride with amazing views!


Looking north up the Owens Valley from the top of the switchback road. The green area in the valley is the town of Lone Pine with the spine of the Alabama Hills to the left, Diaz Lake to the right.


I’ve since left the Sierras heading south with stays along the way near Ridgecrest and Joshua Tree.
As of today I’m in the southern desert starting another snowbird season. I’m camped here on BLM land west of Earp, CA.
 

chet6.7

Explorer
That is some nice country,thanks for the update. Are you happy with the TT? I am thinking about a cargo trailer conversion,price is a factor of course,but, being able to just move into a TT is appealing.
 

zb39

Adventurer
Awesome write up!! The pics are amazing, so clear and gorgeous. That is some very beautiful country you have camped in. This really made my day, thanks so much.
I am also surprised how some people will camp right next to you even though there are a ton of spaces. Some people can't be fixed.
 

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jzzr83

New member
The last few days I finally caught up from page 50ish where I left off many months ago. Sorry to hear that it is too hard posting on this site as it was very nice seeing your updates. If you are posting anywhere else and I missed it please let us know so I can follow there!
 

eric.halim

New member
Are you travelling solo? I really into this too, but I wonder like what if we get sick, what if accident or incident or maybe some criminals theft and so on. Please share some tips on this area.
 

kennyj

Explorer
I haven’t thought much about this thread but I just saw it bumped up so I thought I would post a little update. Regards to all that posted earlier and thanks for posting!

@ eric.halim, I don’t have any advice except for, don’t get sick, don’t have an accident, and don’t get robbed! Seriously. I just try to stay healthy, be cautious in the things I do, and avoid sketchy situations.

On to the update... This past winter was like those before until the reality of a pandemic started to set in. Suddenly all the closures and travel restrictions were creating new challenges for full-time travelers and groups were popping up on the internet, sharing information about places open and closed and even people offering camping spots on their private property to stranded travelers.

A pic of some winter desert camping

*desert camping.jpg

I headed for a relatively safe haven in the still-open vast BLM camping areas around Quartzsite Arizona and hunkered down. But the end of the snowbird season around early April was to bring the end of many services and worse, the beginning of hot desert temperatures.

Many people were making plans to move to higher elevations and cooler temperatures, but reports were coming in of closed areas and shortages of dispersed camping spots. Roads leading to many dispersed camping areas were behind locked gates. The closures of all developed recreation areas were putting extra burden on the limited number of dispersed camp spots in the high country like Prescott and Sedona.

I opted to put off any travel for the time being and tough it out in soon-to-be too hot Quartzsite and reserved a spot in a local RV park for a month, with full hookups to allow running the AC in the camper. Many others seemed to have the same idea as the park was pretty full at a time when the park owner said they would normally have emptied out.

Being stuck in Quartzsite was not a bad thing as I really like the small-town feel there, especially outside of snowbird season. I managed some bike rides around the area but as temperatures soared I knew it was foolhardy to be going out on solo bike rides, deep into old mining country on days of 105 degrees.

Later, with my month at the RV park coming to an end I knew I had to find some cooler temps. Even with triple digit days, so far overnight temps had been in the 60s offering some relief, but the coming forecast was for even hotter days plus nighttime temps way up in the 80s. It was time to move somewhere cooler. But the camping situation in the high country still didn’t sound good.

So i decided to head south, actually 150 miles south in latitude, to southeast Arizona and Bisbee. Most of SE Arizona is over 4000 feet, Bisbee about 5000, so much cooler than the low desert I left. Bisbee is such a cool old town and its been fun exploring the area on the bike.

Some pics of old Bisbee I borrowed from google pics

*main-street-bisbee.jpg

*main st 2.jpg

And a pic i took looking down from high above Bisbee on a ride up to Juniper Flats

*jupiter flats.JPG

My time here in Bisbee will end soon and things are finally starting to open up, so my plan is to put the trailer in storage and head out for some van camping and bike riding. I’m looking at the mountains up highway 191 north of Clifton. I’ve always wanted to explore 191, and then maybe into New Mexico to spend more time in the Gila mountains that I enjoyed in 2017.
 

WeLikeCamping

Explorer
The 191 is pretty awesome - and very windy. When it says 15mph, heed it, especially pulling that trailer. There is all sorts of awesome camping/riding around Alpine - and if you are into campgrounds, there are a few - but not opening until the end of June. Plenty of dispersed all around though. I'm heading up that way this weekend for a couple-week stay. I'm pretty familiar with that whole area.
 

kennyj

Explorer
The 191 is pretty awesome - and very windy. When it says 15mph, heed it, especially pulling that trailer. There is all sorts of awesome camping/riding around Alpine - and if you are into campgrounds, there are a few - but not opening until the end of June. Plenty of dispersed all around though. I'm heading up that way this weekend for a couple-week stay. I'm pretty familiar with that whole area.
I'm looking forward to it, but first I'm going to move back into the van and leave the trailer in storage, probably around Sierra Vista. It will be so much easier and fun getting into mountain spots without the hassle of towing a trailer and on those crazy roads! I will enjoy a summer exploring and return to the trailer at the end of summer.
 
Kenny great to hear from you! Lots of dispersed camping in Northern CA get out of AZ :) If you can keep us caught up a bit more miss reading your travels.
 
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