Stopping in Oregon

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I camped at Summer Lake in 2013 and have wanted to return for years.  Last fall I was planning on returning but with a weather forecast of bitter cold and snow, I aborted that plan.  On this trip, on my way south I was going to stay.  Instead I only saw Summer Lake as I hurriedly drove south working to keep ahead of a bitter cold front descending from the north.  Now today.  As I drove north I was driving through dark gray skies and snow.  In places there was a couple of inches of snow covering the ground.  The wind was blowing cold.  I made the decision that if I could find a place to fill my propane tanks for the furnace, I would turn off the road and stay.  I was able to get the propane tanks filled – I ventured to Summer Lake.  It was better than I remembered.  

American White Pelicans
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Grimes Point Area

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After seeing the ancient Bristlecone Pines, I wanted to get back to Nevada. Too many people in Owens Valley. I didn’t know that Highway 395 in California was a four-lane road, that Bishop had many stoplights, and that gas stations were in all the towns. I skedaddled back to Nevada and settled in at Lahontan State Park River Campground. So much better.

I drove over to Grimes Point to see a few things I had heard about.  There is a petroglyph site that is adjacent to Highway 50 and southeast of Fallon.  An easy stop.  A five-minute walk and you start seeing petroglyphs.  I was able to leave my old dog in the truck with the windows down and watch him as I viewed the petroglyphs.  

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Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

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There I was, sitting in my trailer during a dust storm in Mina, Nevada surfing the internet.  And I read that someone had visited the ancient Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains weeks ago.  What?  Could this be correct?  It was.  

I’ve always wanted to see the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees, ever since I heard about them.  They are the oldest known living plant on earth.  Some are older than 4,000 years old.  They live at 10,000 feet elevation where the snow doesn’t leave the roads until June usually.  When I left on this trip, I didn’t think there was any possibility that I could see them.  I was too early in the year for the roads to be open.  And then I heard it was possible to drive to the trees.  My travel plans got flipped, instead of going north, I headed south to Big Pine.

Driving east on Hwy 168 to see the pines. Photo credit Thoms G., Google Earth.
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Mina, Nevada

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Haven’t heard of Mina?  If not, you don’t watch the USGS earthquake web page.  Last year it was the nearest town to an earthquake swarm of over 200 earthquakes greater that a magnitude 2.0.  There was no major damage that I heard of, but the ground was rocking and rolling for months.    

Above is a snip from the USGS Earthquake web site.  Each dot represents an earthquake. Mina is about fifteen miles north of these earthquakes.

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Catch-all Calienta

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Following are a few miscellaneous items from my time spent around the Kershaw Ryan State Park.

I’m cautious about what roads I drive down.  I look at aerials and I don’t drive a road that I see vegetation growing in the middle of the road.  I ask locals about road conditions.  I read about other people’s adventures.   But sometimes that all fails.  Lots of vegetation can grow after an eight-year-old road report indicating that a car could drive the road.  Yes, technically a car could drive the road, but pin striping results.  There was no place to turn around.  I cringed and laughed.

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Nevada Calls

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After driving through Nevada last year in March, I knew I wanted to return.  I left Seattle the first week of April and had a generally plan to make a counter clockwise loop of the state.  But plans are made to be broken.  A cold weather forecast keep getting colder and the high winds warning area grew and the projected wind velocities kept increasing.  Snow entered into many forecasts.  I ended up at Kershaw Ryan State Park to hunker down for the bad weather.  

The winds are starting.
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Going West – The Olympic Peninsula, West Side

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After seeing the north side of the peninsula, I headed southwest to Kalalock. This is a campground I remember as a kid going to a number of times in the winter. Yup – in the winter. My mom would hear that a storm was coming and off we would go to camp at the Kalalock campground in our Siesta trailer. We would then walk the beach looking for glass fishing floats caught in the logs. And we found a few not broken.

Kalalock Beach
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Going West – The Olympic Peninsula, North Side

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This trip would be different.  There would be no searching for the middle of nowhere.  I left Seattle a month later then my usual time for a fall trip and snow had already fallen on Snoqualmie Pass making travel eastward seem cold.  So I headed west to the Olympic Peninsula.

Fort Worden looking west
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