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Leaving Lake Tahoe on 207 for the pretty drive back over the mountains we were headed for US 395 south and one of our favorite places, Bishop CA. (you can read our 2015 Bishop blog post here ).  The reputation of US395 as one of America’s loveliest routes is well earned and we suggest it be on your MVL (Must Visit List).

Last time we were in this part of the country it was mid May; this time mid October, and the Aspen trees had turned to their magnificently shimmering yellow fall color.  Along the West Walker River we enjoyed the babbling sound as it flowed over water rounded rocks and the sunlight danced and sparkled in the stream and leaves.


The West Walker River. Back East, we call this a creek.

As we got closer to Mono Lake and the part of 395 we’d driven several times before we were amazed and delighted at how new and different the landscape looked to us.  Last time there was very little green and the mountains were covered with snow.  This time, with no snow to hide the detail and the vibrant streaks of Aspen Gold the countryside looked entirely different.  What a treat!!20161011-_EKP2562-Pano

We checked into the Bishop Fairgrounds RV Park and after settling in walked over to the Imperial Gourmet were you can get decent Chinese in a place where they will tell the customer kids who were running around like it’s a playground, to go sit down!!  Yippeee 🙂

Next morning after a lazy start we went for lunch at Great Basin Bakery.  We have suggested this place before and stand by that recommendation!  YUM!  Then we drove out Rt. 168 West, a lovely drive up to Lake Sabrina.


Lake Sabrina in the eastern Sierra.  This mountain water was dammed as part of the extensive water claims made by Los Angeles in the early 1900’s. 

We took a walk part way around the lake and enjoyed this beautiful spot tucked in the Eastern Sierra Mountains at over 9,100 feet.  Created by a dam on the middle fork of Bishop Creek this a popular fishing spot although both times we’ve been here it’s been off season and so we’ve had the place largely to ourselves…. always a plus in the peace and quiet department 🙂


These Sequoias were along the trail around Lake Sabrina.

Looking for our next adventure the following day we headed out US HWY 6 (which starts in Bishop and runs to Provincetown, Massachusetts) to Chidago Canyon Rd where I had seen a map notation for the Red Rock Petroglyphs.  The road is dirt and very rough with nonstop washboard which Ed hates.  We persisted on for the 3.7 miles (of a 20+ mile road) to an outcropping of rocks marked as the Petroglyphs Trail where indeed, many are covered with petroglyphs.


Along the Petroglyph Trail east of Bishop, California.  Marti calls this Sheep Rock.

As the road had been so rough we decided to head back out to HWY 6 and go on up to tiny Benton and west over CA 120 to US 395 south of Lee Vining.


Looking down from the Chidago Canyon Road into the valley, irrigated hay crop circles are so green against the dry desert.  The White Mountains, the eastern side of the Owens Valley, are in the background. They were snow covered when we were here last.

Giving me a map can be dangerous 🙂   I noted Benton Crossing Rd off 120 goes over to 395 and as we’d done 120 before suggested we take it instead.  Sure says Ed, so off we go.  Guess what…..not too far along there it is, the other end of Chidago Canyon Rd!  “Come on honey”, says I, “let’s see if it’s smoother”, and because the man either loves me or is equally nuts, he turns in and it’s ok, not bad at all.  Ha Ha….little did we know!  For quite a ways we wandered through the desert landscape thinking this is a piece of cake, then the road started getting a bit narrower and hillier, but ok.  We started seeing outcroppings of red rock as we headed steadily, slowly downhill.


This rock is part of a formation called Bishop Tuff formed in the eruption that created the Long Valley Caldera 767,000 years ago.  It is soft volcanic ash and easily eroded by wind and water which creates the fun shapes.

The road got narrower and twistier and with no hope of turning around and with no options, we headed into delightful Red Rock Canyon!


… and naively we go…


… into Red Rock Canyon. 

Thankfully I am married to an EXCELLENT driver, who took instruction very well when I got out four different times to direct minute wheel turns, stops and goes!  If anyone had come from the other direction we have no idea what we’d have done but we never saw another soul all day and later looking on the internet I’m pretty sure this is not a place to which many come.  Thank Goodness!


This is not the narrowest spot.  This is the spot where Marti could open the door, sort of.  The overhanging rocks were the real problem.

The only bad side was the amazingly fine red dust that covered EVERYTHING in our RV even the clothes in my drawer, but what a wonderful adventure and a truly fun day in a really cool place!  We finished our day with a fabulous meal at Sage and suggest it as a MVL restaurant when in Bishop.

Following through with my hope to see at least one of the many aliens reported by others over the years, we set off for The Extraterrestrial Highway, State Rt. 375 in Nevada.  We’ve been in Nevada. Basically it’s empty, but BOY HOWDY…….



There are enough mountains to make it almost pretty and with free range cattle to slow you down on the roads and low flying aircraft warnings in the middle of serious nowhere land it’s mildly entertaining.  Then there’s Rachel!  We spent the night here at the “RV Park” and had hamburgers for lunch and eggs, bacon & grits for breakfast at Little A’Le’ Inn Café.


Too much fun to be had in Rachel.

All in all a fun stop and do take a minute to read their webpage.  I’ve seen big cities that have less important and entertaining information!


Marti is the photographer in our family who goes out before the coffee is cooked.  She wandered out into the Rachel desert to watch the full moon go down and the Sun come up.

Thanks for reading!  Our next posting will be Zion National Park, you won’t want to miss Ed’s photographs!


Aspenglow along West Walker River. 


Lake Sabrina out of season.


Aspen leaves are so pretty, I love the yellow, yellow.


We started out a little late in the day and couldn’t make it around the lake before dark.  We will have to come back another time.


Whack-A-Mole Wheels parked at the Petroglyph Trail.


Ed says these are prehistoric teenager’s text messages.


The last time we were here, the White Mountains were covered in snow.  This time the brightness is sunlight.


Aspens flowing down the crease along Rt. 120 before heading down Chidago Canyon Road.


What kind of aircraft???  It is the Extraterrestrial Highway.


Nevada. It is the end of nowhere, but it is also pretty in its own right.


They found one the Government missed!


Marti – “Does this rock make my ass look big?” Ed – “Just say goodbye.”


Wait, wait, wait!  Ed found an alien too!