My Journey

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Hundreds of pictures of your dogs and finally a picture of you.

I spent some time around Tahoe about 15 years ago. Loved the area but not liking how California has changed lately.


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the deputy

Member
Can't even come up with words anymore...that help me describe the captive beauty of the places you've been. Sure am thankful that you take the time to post these great views and moments of your journey. Hard to believe it's only been 400 days...your travels have been amazing for that length of time.

Brian.
 
Ace.....I'm guessing most everyone loves dog pics.....me, not so much.....

Brian.....I sure do appreciate your kind feedback and it just makes it that much easier to do when I hear stuff like that. Thank you.....

So we finally left Lake Tahoe, drove east to Carson City, Nevada for supplies, and then south on Highway 395, returning to California once again. Mono Lake is absolutely gorgeous when you approach from the north and descend the mountains....

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We hung out here for a few hours, hoped to overnight here, but found that overnighting in this area is prohibited.....

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Apparently the City of Los Angeles controls this area and the lake, and has been sucking this lake dry for decades.....and now they're in the process of trying to restore it somewhat over a 20 year period.....

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We moved on and just beyond the southern shores of Mono Lake we departed Highway 395, turned west onto Route 120, and here we did find a spot just within the boundaries of the Inyo National Forest. Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Mountains lay ahead of us.....

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As night fell, we were the only camper parked here (elevation 7,711').....and I thought maybe this isn't such a good spot (legal). I awoke to this.....

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I thought I'd done a fair job of following the great weather so far but it was 4 degrees when I stepped out the door that morning! Too damn cold for me and my camper batteries.....the cold weather finally caught us.....

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An early morning scence just before we entered Yosemite National Park.....

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Crossing the park on Route 120 is such a grand drive. We passed over Tioga Pass (9,943'), and later on we crossed a controlled burn (which would affect the skies a few days later).....

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And then we dropped down into the canyons of Yosemite.....surrounded by the rock cliffs.....

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We had no reservations for a campsite here so at 10:00 a.m. we signed up on a waiting list and ended up being number 22 on the waiting list. At 3:00 p.m. we headed over to the campground to see if we would get lucky enough to get a spot.....they had 22 cancellations so we were in. We drove the valley floor in awe of the huge rock walls.....

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One day I hiked to the top of Vernal Falls (5,044').....

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What an incredible place.....

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Another day I hiked to the top of Upper Yosemite Falls (6,526'), and beyond. It was a killer hike with a total elevation gain of 2,559'.....the river above the falls so beautiful.....

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And the best warning signs ever.....

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Looking out over Yosemite Valley.....

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And a hike to Mirror Lake (4,094').....unfortunately a light snow pack has left the lake dry.....

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We saw very little wildlife during our stay here. We did have one black bear come into the campground early one morning. Unfortunately the rangers scared it away before I had a chance to observe it. But it was all good.....

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A three day weekend and a National Park free day on Sunday told me it was time to move on.....so many cars.....so many people.....

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JD.....it's a beautiful place but just prepare yourself for the crowds in Yosemite Valley.....

Once again we left the high elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains as we drove west and dropped nearly 8,000' of elevation as we approached Fresno, California. With the drop in elevation came a 20 degree rise in temperatures.....daytime highs back in the 70's.....and it'd been quite sometime since I'd seen the palm trees.....

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We spent a few days in Fresno enjoying city life and nice weather. We had no plans here except to load up on food, propane and diesel. A woman I met convinced me to take a drive to the small enclave of Clovis, just to the northeast of Fresno.....

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Not much here to speak of.....

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Then it was right back into the mountains as I needed to see Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park.....two national parks that I've never seen in my travels. Conveniently tucked between the two national parks is Sequoia National Forest.....the perfect setup for free dispersed camping and exploring in the parks. We had nice views from our campsite, although all the smoke from the California forest fires affected the views (and our breathing). I can't begin to fathom what the people of California are going thru right now.....and they were on my mind during our entire stay here.....

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Most of our national park time was spent in Sequoia National Park gawking at the enormous trees.....

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While the dogs hung out in the camper I walked the trails.....

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We also spent plenty of time exploring in the national forest.....a place where dogs are always welcome to run off leash and where you see so few people.....

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Once again we saw no bears.....but no doubt they abound in these forests and possibly cause some trouble.....

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Of course there a was a stop at the Visitors Center in Sequoia National Park. This one display caught my eye.....

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One of the many trails I hiked here was the.....

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And there were quite a few massive trees to see.....

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I had no idea that the world's largest tree was located here.....

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So course I had to see that.....and of course I had to photograph it.....

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And this final picture indicates the size of the tree base.....it is enormous.....

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One thing that absolutely shocked me here was to see that people actually climb the wood fence that surrounds this tree so that they can carve their name onto it's base. WTF are people thinking ?
 
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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
I lived in Visalia back in the 70s. Got up into the Sierras as often as I could. Loved it then but I’m sure it’s way more crowded now. Crying shame about the current fires.


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Ace.....I had to Google Visalia.....I didn't quite make it there as we drove Route 245 south out of Sequoia National Park.....

Chet.....thanks for the link but I'm in Edward Abbey and Desert Solitaire territory now. I'm typically a week or so behind when I post. Last night I happened across your thread on your bumper.....what a nightmare !

As I was saying, we drove south on Route 245 out of Sequoia National Park with Death Valley National Park as our next planned destination. It would be the third national park in the same general vicinity, and the third National Park that I'd yet to visit in my past travels. We needed to drive east, and once again cross the Sierra Nevada mountains. There were four possible routes, three of which crossed the mountains, and then the one furthest south which circled around the mountains. I chose Walker Pass (5,250'), not the highest pass, yet still a mountain pass. The approach from Bakersfield, California was most amazing.....we passed through an orange grove.....one of many on the drive south.....

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Then we entered a canyon finally driving east.....

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A few stops along the way.....

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Smoke from the California wildfires settled in the canyon.....

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Exiting the canyon, driving north on Route 395, I could see that the Sierra Nevada mountains were holding the smoke from blowing further east. That was good news for us but I felt horrible that I could leave so easily while at the same time listening on the radio of so many families suffering......

We found a spot to spend the night just west of the entrance to Death Valley National Park.....

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The following morning we entered with plans to stay at a national park campground for maybe three or four days. We stopped high above the valley to take in the views.....

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The plans to stay in the park were ditched after seeing the Stovepipe Wells campground.....it just wasn't for me. So we drove through the park that day.....a stop at the Harmony Borax Works.....

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In the late 1800's borax was mined from the valley for five years. Apparently this was once well known for its twenty mule driven team that hauled the ore west.....

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A few more stops and we found ourselves exiting the park.....
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
Too bad you kinda breezed through Death Valley. I’ve visited that park many times, first time early 70s and last time 2017. Sure it’s getting more crowded each time but the park is worth putting up with the “tourons”. There are many neat places to avoid the herds too.


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Ace.....maybe another time. I think doing three National Parks in so few days was poor planning. I'm definitely a national forest kind of guy.....

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We stopped in the tiny, tiny town of Death Valley Junction, once a booming metropolis with nearly 300 residents, but now (after a Google search) I found that it has a population of "less than 4".....

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Not too far out of Death Valley National Park I came across one of the oddest places that I've overnighted.....an abandoned RV campground. It was like hitting the jackpot parking on a nice, secluded, level concrete pad for the night.....

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I even found enough wood to have a campfire that evening.....a great stone fire ring was already in place.....

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It was real beautiful out there in the desert.....

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Next stop.....Red Rock Canyon.....about twenty miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada.....

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We spent a few days and nights here camped at Late Night Trailhead.....

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Obviously that's a perfect spot for a guy that enjoys hiking as much as I do.....plenty of trails to keep us occupied.....

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The bright city lights of Las Vegas could be seen as night fell upon us.....

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The morning sunrise always included at least one hot air balloon.....

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Our next stop would be in the big city of Las Vegas, Nevada. I had plans to hang out with a friend for the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as taking care of a few issues while in the big city. Wednesday morning we made our way to Interstate Batteries (what a rude bunch of people) to work on a battery issue which turned into a week long event, and was eventually resolved elsewhere. The truck got its third oil change and a new K & N air filter as the odometer rolled beyond 18,000 miles.....

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Once again utilizing ioverlander, we found ourselves a spot to "camp" in the auxiliary parking lot which belonged to the Mandalay Bay Casino.....

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Typically this would not be somewhere that I'd want to stay for more than a few nights.....the noise level was nearly unbearable. Just to the west of our spot was a six lane highway leading to the strip (Las Vegas Boulevard). To the east and to the south was the airport.....

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Helicopters and private jets all day and into the night.....

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At times my "campground" was packed with buses and trucks.....

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This guy was my neighbor for a few days. He cruised around in his Ferrari and lived in his recently purchased motorhome. Pretty cool set up I'd say.....

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Justin Timberlake's crew came into town for a few days. Eleven Prevost buses, 15 semis, and a crew of 80 people. A bus driver told me that Justin Timberlake canceled his shows in Vegas due to a throat issue. As a matter of fact, he said that the whole crew had been traveling for a month and every show had been canceled since his last performance in New York over a month ago. WOW !!!!!

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We stayed in Las Vegas for nearly two weeks. It had been quite a while since we'd stayed anywhere for more than a few nights.....I think I just plain got tired of moving. We enjoyed walking on Las Vegas Boulevard quite a bit. Tourists just love this Las Vegas sign.....I guess it's iconic.....

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We saw these guys again while walking on the strip. You may remember that we crossed paths in Bozeman, Montana this summer.....

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Tanner and I walked the strip at least twice per day, except for a few nights when we stayed in an industrial area. So many people loved on that dog.....so many tourists missing their pups that they left back home.....Tanner just loved everyone of them.....

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Yukon was not impressed with the strip. It's tough watching her age lately as she's no longer interested in the long walks (at least on a leash in Vegas). She got her 6 month check up while we were in Vegas and all is well. Typically she's just fine with napping in the camper bed.....

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This little church was close by our campground.....located right on Las Vegas Boulevard. Apparently lots of people still come here to tie the knot.....

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Marijuana is legal in Nevada now and as you might imagine it's huge in Vegas. The smell of marijuana just seems to float in the air as you walk the strip.....

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Trucks and taxis advertising weed drive the strip all day and night.....

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I wish this was real.....I truly wonder how much longer we will be on the road.....

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Tanner may feel the same.....

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I enjoyed my stay in Las Vegas, and I can honestly can say that surprised me. But after our nearly two week stay, daytime temperatures dropped from the low 70's to the high 50's.....it was time to move further south.....

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