Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Northern California 2014

5-27-14
I left Bishop at 5:40 AM. Right after Bishop Highway 395 goes up from 4,000 feet altitude to 7,000 feet. It is a slow climb, but with beautiful scenery.


I stopped at the Mono Lake Visitor Center in Lee Vining to eat breakfast, and make myself presentable. Then I went for a walk. Mono Lake almost disappeared. Los Angeles took too much water from the rivers feeding into the lake. 

 
The tufa formations are deposits of calcium carbonate formed by evaporation or precipitation in a lake. 


Blue flowers are blooming near the lake. 


Then I drove to the Honeymoon Flat Campground near Twin Lakes, west of Bridgeport, California.
The campground is located next to the Robinson Creek.


I set up the motorhome and started to worry. All the camp sites can be reserved. There is no telephone service in those canyons. The camp host was not on duty until 5:30 PM. People who had the campsite left this morning. The next people are coming June the 4th. I did not know whether other campers made reservations for the next two days. I drove to the next forest campground and asked the host there. He told me not to worry; most likely nobody will come until the weekend.
I packed a lunch and drove to Bodie, the Ghost Town. Bodie is one of the best preserved ghost towns. Because it is out of the way vandals did not do any damage. Now it is a California State Park. 



Bodie had a population of ten thousand. Many of the homes burned down during a big fire. The town is located on a hill.


When the mines stopped working people just left. One can look through the windows and see merchandise on shelves in the store. 


In houses most the furniture is still there. Newspapers are on tables and sewing machines and other devices were left behind. 


If it was not for a heavy coat of dust the school room looks like it could have been used recently.


The church is still in good shape.  

 
Old, large equipment is laying all over the place. 


I went to the cemetery and noticed that people died at an early age. There were many graves of children. 


On the way home I saw a big flock of sheep.


I also saw Bagpipe Bob on the side of the road eating lunch, and deciding whether to unhook his Smart Car and go to Bodie.
Twin Lake is a typical Alpine Lake. The water is cold and clear.


In the evening I talked to the host. She had just come from a shopping trip. She was unloading groceries from her car. She told me not to worry about my site. I left her and did not get very far when I heard her scream. She was laying on the floor face up.
I went back and knelled down. I asked her how her back felt. I did not want to help her getting up if she had a back problem. She hurt the back of her head though. After a while she was ready to get up. I pulled her up and it appears that she will be fine. She had tripped over her toy poodle.

5-28-14
This morning I went back to Lee Vining to see the tufa towers. From Conway Summit one has a good view of Mono Lake.


I stopped again at the Mono Basin Visitor Center and watched the movie about the lake.
The tufa towers are petrified springs. 


From the visitor center I drove to the South Tufa Area. 


There are many tufa towers. 


The Navy had a top secret facility during the Cold War on the lake. All the buildings are gone. 


On my way home I stopped in Bridgeport and walked around a bit. The Bridgeport Inn is an eye catching building. 


The Mono County Court House is a very beautiful building too. 


Bridgeport is located in a valley. 


After dinner I went for a walk. A couple had their dog swim in the creek. The dog wore a life jacket.


Honeymoon Flat Campground is an outstanding facility. The sites are big and there is the Robinson Creek and all those trees. When I arrived the children told me about the bear which came around about every day. I did not see him, but I saw six deer.  

5-29-14
I am now in Truckee, California. The drive on highway 395, along the Eastern Sierras, was very scenic. On one side were the snow covered mountains and the valleys are still green, and thousands of cattle are feeding in the meadows.
Granite Flats Campground is next to the Truckee River. My camp site is next to the river and I can hear and see the rushing water from my motorhome.
So far we are twelve WINs. 

5-30-14
Today we drove around Lake Tahoe. It was a 103 mile excursion. We stopped only for the highlights, in the next couple of days we can go to specific places.


We stopped for a while at the Gatekeepers Museum and the dam.
In Sunnyside we visited a restaurant, not to eat, just to go on the beach. The temperature was about 70 degrees F. and two young women were sunning themselves on the edge of the water.


Everybody participated on this day trip and we took a group picture.


At Emerald Bay we stopped at the Vikingsholm Castle Overlook. Because of large trees the castle
cannot be seen.


Lunch we had at Heavenly Village, a ski area. Some ate in restaurants, a few of us had brought their own lunch.


 I walked around in the neighborhood and came upon those electrical switch boxes, the same we made at S&C Electric in Chicago. They are normally olive green. Here they is one adorned with beautiful pictures.

 5-31-14
Today small groups did their own thing. Donna B., Gene and I headed for the Vikingholm Castle. When I drove out of the campground and entered the highway I noticed a red light on the dashboard of the car. I stopped on the side of the road and by then the light had disappeared. Gene remembered he had a light come up on his truck. He had forgotten about it and he wanted to go back to his truck and take another look. We drove back to the campground and the light was still coming on when Gene turned on the engine. He decided not to come along with us and go to town to a garage or a Chevy dealer.
Donna B. and I continued on.
We parked at the Emerald Bay Overlook and walked down the one mile, steep trail.


Vikingsholm was built by Mrs. Lora J. Knight of Santa Barbara, California. She came from Galena, Illinois where her husband was a corporate lawyer. He was involved with several big companies and accumulated a lot of money. They moved to California. After his death Mrs. Knight remarried and got divorced a short time later.
In 1928 she bought 280 acres in Emerald Bay, on Lake Tahoe. Since the bay reminded her of a fjord in Norway she wanted to build a home in Scandinavian Stile. Her niece by marriage had married an architect from Sweden. Mrs. Knight, her niece and the husband went to Sweden, Norway and Finland and looked for ideas for construction of the home.   
Two hundred workmen completed the home in six months, in 1929.

The property has a private beach with a dock for small boats and the large boat Mrs. Knight owned.

On the island was a tea room.


Since the Norwegian and Swedish governments did not allow her to bring some furniture to the United States because they were historically significant, she had authentic furnishing duplicated in detail down to the measurements , colorations and aging of the wood. The tables in the living room have very intricate carvings and are very beautiful.


The balcony was constructed without using nails.


The dining room table can be extended to seat twelve people.


The servant quarters have a sod covered roof, which was covered with flowers during the summer when Mrs. Knight and her staff of fifteen were in residence.


There were five guest rooms with their own bath room.


 Mrs. Knight’s bedroom was in the private quarters.


The kitchen was modern for the time.


After the visit of the castle we walked up to the Lower Falls.


We had planned to walk also to the Upper Falls, but Donna had a better idea. Since we had bought a day parking pass for the California State Parks, she suggested to go to the Donner Memorial State Park now and take advantage of the pass.
The park is named after the Donner Party who came west and took a short cut, which slowed them down instead of making time. They were surprised by a winter storm and many died. Some had survived on a deer they caught and on the bodies of their deceased companions.


We toured the museum and walked the short trail to the lake where people in boats enjoyed the weekend.


Some members of our group went to the Renaissance Fair today.

6-1-14
I went back to the Gatekeeper Museum. The gatekeeper had an important position. There were gun fights and law suits over water. The dam controls the water at the Outlet Point from Lake Tahoe.


Below the dam are rafting companies. 


At the outlet were geese begging for food. 


Today was Americas most beautiful ride. Over 3000 bicyclists were riding the 70 miles around Lake Tahoe.


I stopped at Squaw Valley Resort where the 1960 Winter Olympics were held. 


I always wanted to go to Cabela’s , the large outfitting store. There is one near Reno and today I had my chance. The store has a large aquarium with big fish in it. 


There are displays of all kinds of animals. 


It is very entertaining to walk around in the store. 
I drove one more time to the lake and enjoyed the view.