Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bishop Mule Days (2) 2010

They still had eliminations at the fairgrounds. Tomorrow start the finals.
We decided to do things in town. Chappy and I went first to the Elks Lodge and found out that they have now a park, about two miles from the lodge, where members can camp.
We were told that very few people use the facility. I know why, Inyo County charges only $10.00 per day, and they Bishop Elks $20.00.
We also checked out the facilities at the Casino. They charge $5.00.
After visiting the Chamber of Commerce, the sporting goods store, and Vons grocery store, we went home.
The women did their thrift store thing and came home happy.
In the evening we watched "How to succeed in business without really trying". It is a 1967 movie and between the four of us the rating was from very good to bad.
This was a very good day though. I have only one problem now, I can not use the microwave oven using the 2000 watt inverter. The microwave oven runs, but does not heat the food.
After a while the low voltage alarm starts making noise. This means the voltage dropped below 111 volts.
I wonder whether the four house batteries are going weak.

On my morning walk I stopped at Erick Schat’s Bakery. This is one of the gold mines in Bishop, the place is always crowded. It reminds me of Dudley’s bakery in Santa Ysabel.
I like the bread from the German bakery in Los Angeles, and we always have some in the freezer. Today I bought a loaf of 12 grain bread from Schat’s. It is OK, but I can not see why people go banana over it.
After my walk the four of us went to the Bishop City Park where vendors had set up booths and one could buy anything from food to clothing.
Doreen and Dottie were looking for the lady who sold them shirts in Quartzsite. They wanted to exchange them for different sizes. The lady was not here.

In the afternoon we went to the Fairground for some mule and donkey races, and judging of riders.

The meadow where we are parked is slowly filling up.

At 7:00 PM was the official opening of Mule Days. Riders with flags entered the main arena.

Then awards were given for best teams. There was a team of mules pulling a Model A. We felt sorry for the little girl who was sitting on one of the mules, barefoot and had very little clothing on. The sun had almost disappeared and it was cold and windy.

There was also a hearse.

A team of eight mules pulling a wagon performed different maneuvers. This was quite interesting.

The rest of the evening was finals. We did not stay to the end. The weather is not normal for this time of the year; it is too cold at night.
This was an unusual day for the four of us. We thought a lot about our friend Darwin Rytting, whose memorial service was today. Darwin was a member of the Convair Camping Club.

On my morning walk I saw a Pack Team come out of the fairground, and later the Black Percherons. They were on their way to the parade gathering area. The Black Percherons are big beautiful horses.

At 9:45 AM we went to the street where we had positioned our chairs yesterday. One of Chappy’s chairs was gone. I had noticed this on my walk and he was able to bring another one.

At 10:15 the color guards appeared and then the parade got going. This parade is one of the largest where no motorized vehicles are used.
There were pack teams from the Forest Service and private packers.

Fire fighters from the Forest Service were also present.

The parade lasted 90 minutes and was very good.
At 1:30 PM we went to the main arena and watched pack teams compete. Between the competitions the audience was entertained by two clowns. They had a repertoire of old, stale jokes, but it was very entertaining.
The funny entries at the parade were also judged. The girl on a stretcher, on top of a mule, won .
I believe the pack rats were second.

Also between the competitions children were asked to come on the field and throw their shoes on a pile.
The child who picked up his shoes, and ran back to the starting point, received a pair of cowboy boots.

A team of 12 very small mules performed. They looked like ponies and it was astounding how they followed commands.

We have summer weather again.

In the morning we did some housekeeping. I vacuumed the motorhome.
From 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM we walked around the outdoor marketplace. Actually Doreen and Dottie did the walking. Chappy and I sat at the bandstand and listen to a fiddler band.
At 7:00 PM we went to the main arena for the finals. It did get dark fast and all my pictures are too dark.

I still do not get over the fact that more women than men are riding mules.
Tonight, to have some laughs, they did musical tires. Tires were laid out in a large circle and the riders had to stop when the music stopped, get of their mule and step in the tire.
The two clowns were riding funny looking wooden mules. The real mules did not want to come close to them. The clowns also shot blanks in their guns. That caused even more confusion. The riders had to practically pull the mules near the tires. Two mules had enough and ran to the exit gate. The riders could not turn them around.
Finally there was only a man and a teenage girl left. The clowns did their best that the girl won.
This was a fun evening. The weather was perfect. It was not as cold as Friday night.
I learned a lot about mules in the last few days.

Bishop Mule Days are over, so is the Memorial Day weekend.
This morning we went to a RV Park and emptied the holding tanks of the motorhome.
I had won a T- shirt and to get it had to go to the Paiute Indian Casino. I was familiar with this system and signed up for a casino card. They gave me $10.00 to play with and the T-shirt. I lost the money in five minutes. So I put another dollar in the machine and nothing happened. We left, since I did not want to pay more money for the shirt, one dollar was enough.
In the afternoon we did some reading and get ready for the trip South.
At 6:00 PM we went with Dottie and Chappy to a Mexican restaurant. The food was good.
Here are the last picture of our cow pasture, our home for the last week. Most of the campers have left. Only a few stayed, and will leave tomorrow.

We left Bishop at 6:30 AM and arrived in Inyokern at 9:00 AM.
We are staying at a RV Park which accepts Passport America. For $ 12.50 we have full hookups, a luxury which we enjoy, since the temperature here is 91 degrees F.
After a few bites to eat we left for Randsburg, a living ghost town. A few of the buildings are still used.

From Randsburg we took a small county road to Red Rock State Park. The visitor center is closed three days a week, but the camp ground is open.

Back at the motorhome we had a late lunch and a nap, and then went to Ridgecrest, to the Maturango Museum. This museum has artifacts from the very past, like tools and equipment Native Americans used,
and new things, like weapons the US Navy is testing at the China Lake base.

This morning we visited the Trona Pinnacles. The pinnacles are tufa formations.
To get there we had to drive seven miles on a dirt road. Sections of the road were bad and I had to slowly drive around holes and rocks.
It was a good test for my new Saturn. We returned to the highway without having lost any parts.

Our next stop was the Wild Horse and Burro Corral Facility. Here they have hundreds of horses and burros.
They were taken from public lands and one can adopt them. Those animals are beautiful.

We enjoyed those two places.
At the Navel Air Weapons Station at China Lake we had a disappointment. We presented our drivers licenses, registration and insurance papers for the car, and filled out the proper papers.
The lady was getting our passes ready for visiting the museum at the base.
Then she asked us whether we were born in the United States. When we said no, she called her supervisor.
I told them that I was in the army and had a secret clearance while working for Convair. It did not help.
From now on, when we travel, we have to bring our passports along.
Visiting this museum was the main purpose staying in the Ridgecrest area.

At 5:30 AM we were on the road. We tried to get close to the ocean as soon as possible. The weather people had predicted a heat wave.
When we arrived at Carlsbad at 9:00 AM, there was no sun, only June gloom.
At noon that clears up.
Now we have to get through the bags of mail and prepare for the Julian Outing, with the Convair Camping Club, which starts Monday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bishop Mule Days 2010

This was a driving day. We left Sweetwater County Park at 7:00 AM and arrived at Diaz Lake at 2:00 PM.
Our first stop was Costco at Temecula. The store is located at Winchester, but can not be seen from the road. We had the wrong address and went too far. We asked for directions and came back.
We were told to make a left turn on Margarita. We still did not see the store and went too far again on Margarita. We had to ask again for directions. This time we found the store.
Gasoline was $2.99 at Arco. I told Doreen if Costco is not cheaper I will bite myself, because of what we had to go through to find the Costco gas station. The price was the same $2.99 per gallon.
In Adelanto we had lunch. I picked up a Whopper and Junior Whopper at Burger King and we ate them in the motorhome.
The drive North on 395 was not easy. We had a strong wind from the side and at one stretch we followed a wide load vehicle slowly for an hour.
After setting up the motorhome we drove in to Lone Pine, bought 20 pounds of navel oranges from a street vendor, checked out the library and went to the Visitor Center.
The temperature was 80 degrees F. during the day and it cooled off in the evening.

When I got up this morning it was cool in the motorhome, 55 degrees F. I turned on the catalytic heater.
After breakfast I walked to the other side of the lake.

When Doreen was ready we prepared to go sightseeing. First I wanted to turn the motorhome around to get more sun on the solar panel. I moved the car and then moved the motorhome back. Doreen had asked me whether she should go outside and direct me. I was so sure that the car was out of the way and told her to stay inside the motorhome.
While moving back I heard a car horn at the side and I stopped right away. I felt a bump though.
I knew right away that I had hit the car and felt really stupid. The ranger had seen what I was doing and leaned on the horn, of his truck, to warn me.
Doreen and I got out of the rig and I was expecting the worst. I was lucky again. The bumper on the car has a light discoloring from rubbing against the motorhome.
I could have hit the side of the car and done a lot of damage. The ranger came at the right time. On this trip I made now several stupid moves.
We went to the Mt. Whitney Portal Recreation Area. The road goes straight up for 13 miles.
There was snow at the end of the road. We stopped next to a waterfall.

On the way down we took pictures of beautiful flowers on the side of the road.

In the afternoon we went to the Movie Museum. Many movies were made in the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine.

The admission includes a movie in the evening. When we arrived for the movie, we were told that the movie was not being shown tonight. We will be back tomorrow night.

This was a day of rest. In the morning I went to the library. The WIFI was down, but the librarian let me use my memory stick on the library computer.
Adding the pictures to my blog was easy, transferring text was complicated for me. It took me a long time to figure it out. On my own computer it is easy.
Dottie and Chappy arrived at noon. They also had a tough time driving North on highway 395. It was windy most of the day.
At 3:45 PM Doreen and I went back to the museum for the movie. They showed two Lone Ranger movies. Judging by the length of them, they must have been TV shows.
When we went to bed the wind had picked up again and the motorhome was shaking. We felt sorry for the people in tents and tent trailers.

When I woke up it was 44 degrees F in the motorhome. It had snowed in the night and there was now snow in the mountains at the east side of Owens Valley. The Sierra Mountains received more snow and there is now snow at 7,000 feet.

We left Lone Pine at 12:00 PM. Chappy and I tried to empty the holding tanks at a Rest Area before we reached Bishop. The dump stations at most Rest Areas in California are closed now, including this one.
Chappy went to the Shell gasoline station in Bishop to empty the holding tanks on his motorhome while we continued on and stopped at the Indian Casino and filled up the motorhome gasoline tank, and the propane tank. Gasoline is cheaper at the casino, almost 30 cents per gallon.
Then we went to the Fairgrounds and found our camping spot. We are parked in a large meadow. There were cattle here, we can tell. We have to be careful when we walk around.
Dottie and Chappy came to our motorhome for dinner. When we were finished eating we watched a movie.
It was a Western.

When I woke up, this morning, there was no wind, and no clouds in the sky. It was 38 degrees F. in the motorhome.
During the day the sun came out and the temperature was pleasant.
We are now five rigs. Our neighbor came early yesterday. The three of us keep the running of the generator to a minimum. All of us have solar panels.

We have a very good spot. In the back of the motorhome is a small creek. Tomorrow most of the people will arrive and fill up the spaces in front of us.

Presently we see only cows and their calves and the mountains in the background.

Some people on donkeys came by.

At 10:00 AM we left for Toms Place. It is located on highway 395, 25 miles North of Bishop. Chappy and Dotty will go there after Mule Days and do some fishing for trout.

On the way back we took a back road. It was a beautiful ride, with the snow covered mountains and the Owens Valley below.

In the afternoon I went to McDonalds and got my E mail. The library in Bishop has no WIFI; they have computers though. Unfortunately they do not let me use my memory stick, and sitting there and typing my stuff takes too long.
This was a very good day. While I was at McDonalds, Doreen went with Chappy and Dottie to K Mart and Von’s. She got her shopping fix.

This morning I took a long walk. I came by the place where people exercised their mules.

On the way home I went along Main Street.

At 10:00 AM we left for Lake Sabrina and North Lake. The lakes are at an altitude of about 8,500 feet.

We had dinner at Chappy and Dottie’s motorhome.

Doreen joined me this morning for a long walk.
At 10:00 AM we went to the main arena for English Jumping. The mules and riders had to jump over obstacles. It was funny sometimes, because the mules did not want to jump.

There are not many people in the bleachers since today are only elimination trials.
At 1:00 PM we went back for the buggy trials. The teams had to maneuver around obstacles. Backing up was very difficult, and it was hilarious sometimes.

Opening Night Supper was at 6:00 PM. The food was good and plenty of it. The entertainment was not my style; a lot of people enjoyed it though.

The weather was perfect today.