Again, I’m behind on posting. I know it’s clearly a theme for me so just roll with it (written on January 28th).
Our detainment at the Shell in Inyokern was short lived. They opened the 395 after a few hours and we were back on the road. However, it was getting dark and it was still incredibly windy, quite frankly we were surprised they opened interstate again. We drove a little ways down to a rest area and stayed there for the night.
Jan 18, our first stop before Mammoth was some more climbing, we went bouldering at Happy Boulders in Bishop. The road going in was pretty wash-boarded which made for a very slow and bumpy ride to the boulder area. That night we stayed at the Volcanic Flatland’s, which is some expansive BLM camping just outside of Bishop. We had an amazing first campsite on top of the flatland’s with a stunning sunset. Took the dogs on a run and even whipped out our portable potty and accompanying tent. Getting the tent back in its tiny round holder is another story, one that involves watching a Youtube video about 50 times and looking like fools trying to fold this thing back into a circle. We also finally put up some led string lights in the van, only took us 2 months to find them and finally string them up. I keep telling myself that one day the van will no longer have work to be done on it, but i’m pretty sure that’s a fantasy.
Jan 19, a Saturday which means laundry and in town errands. We attempted to get a shower but the laundry facility with showers only held showers from 8pm-10pm, which we thought was a little odd and just gave up. We did our laundry and camped out at our favorite coffee shop in Bishop, the Looney Bean. Also used their wifi to download more Netflix shows and movies. That night we stayed at the Pleasent Valley Pit Campground, which is a semi developed BLM campground that we payed $2.50/night (thank you USFD interagency pass). For this we got some pit toilets, a flat campsite, and trash dumps. Sadly no water or shower.
Jan 20, Sunday. At this point we really need to refill our water canisters. We headed a little down the road from the BLM campground to the Pleasant Valley Campground, run by the county which had free well water. First off, I’ve never had well water, so the taste of this stuff was a little bit of a shock to me. I definitely thought we were going to end up with some kind of water born illness, but alas we’re both still fine. The adventure for Sunday was rock climbing at Owen’s River Gorge. We did a grand total of 1 very long route (Babushka) on the aptly named warm-up wall and called it quits for the day. Eric wasn’t feeling great, he had been battling a cold for the last week (he’s finally over it, but gave it to me). Our resting place for the night was the free Volcanic Flatland’s once again. Unfortunately, our very first campsite on the top of the flatland’s had already been nabbed with a solitary tent in place. But, it was no matter we found a place. Took the dogs on a run again and chilled out until the Blood Moon. Despite all the effort Eric went through to set up cameras to capture a time lapse of the event, mother nature decided it would be fun to make it rain….all night.
Jan 21, Monday. We leisurely got up and headed to Sad Boulders. It’s the next canyon over from Happy Boulders, someone had fun naming these places. Messed around on the rocks a little bit, then made our way up to Mammoth, finally. That night we opted to stay at the RV park in order to make use of their hot tub and showers. It was a well spent $50.
Jan 22, Tuesday. Got up bright and early, for once, and headed straight to Mammoth Mountain. We actually nabbed a pretty great parking spot to my surprise. Geared up and hit the mountain. It was a stunning day, cool and sunny. Amazing visibility, no crowds, and great skiing. Eric took some fun GoPro videos with the fancy voice command GP7. At lunch we went back to van to check on the doggos and have a bite to eat. The people parked next to us were friendly, but the girl in the group was admittedly a bit odd. She was very interested in our dogs, especially Sadie, even offered to take her for a walk. We obliged since we felt like we didn’t really have a choice. In hind site it probably wasn’t the best idea since we think she was pretty drunk. Overall it was a great day on the mountain. We headed back down to Bishop for an indulgent pizza. We tried to return to the Volcanic Flatland’s one last time, but to our disbelief every single spot was taken….ON A TUESDAY! So we went back to the Pleasant Valley Pit Campground.
Jan 23, Wednesday. Our last day in Bishop. We mostly came down from Mammoth and back to Bishop so that Eric could pick up mail from the Post Office. We have figured out we can do General Delivery through the USPS. We just need to figure out how to be in the area of the mail when it arrives. We hung out around Bishop did some climbing, went back to the Volcanic Flatland’s (and actually got a spot), took the dogs on a run and hung out.
Jan 24, Thursday. This was a travel day to Tahoe. We mapped our route and planned our next skiing days to revolve around Kirkwood, Heavenly, Squaw and Northstar. Finding available camping on the other hand was not as well planned out. So after driving all the way to Kirkwood Ski Resort we drove all the way back out of the Mountains to a Walmart Parking Lot for our first overnight at a Walmart. We weren’t alone there were definitely at least 3 other small RVs.
Jan 25, Friday. We originally planned to ski Kirkwood but decided we’d just skip it since finding overnight parking was such a nightmare. Instead we headed to Heavenly. We got ourselves parked, skis out, bathroom runs done, and then got in the lift line. Eric goes through, I do not. That day we discovered my Epic Pass was a complete rip off and waste of money. Turns out my 4-Day pass, which we thought gave me 4 days at all the resorts on the Epic pass, only gave me 4 days TOTAL. Needless to say I was pissed and disappointed, and I will never forgive Vail for having such a greedy elitist business model. Don’t get me wrong their business model is lucrative and brilliant if you want to make tons of money. But, incredibly off-putting for actual snow lovers who want a full season of skiing at different resorts. Due to our new found hatred of all things Vail owned we’re boycotting all Vail owned resorts. Partly because I can’t ski at them without paying and partly because we vehemently disagree with their business model. I should note that since Eric bought his Epic pass as part of the military deal he can ski basically unlimited at all the Vail Resorts.
After our very disappointing and discouraging morning we continued our journey around Lake Tahoe. It was a beautiful drive. We couldn’t really find any close overnight parking to Squaw Valley, since all viable options were closed for the winter season, so we stayed at another RV Park. The RV Park/Mobile Home community in Truckee has by far been the cheapest RV place we’ve stayed for a cool $30. I also finally used my AAA discount.
Jan 26, Saturday. Normally we never ski on the weekends, but this was an exception. Skiing at Squaw Valley was incredible. We went all over the mountain, saw the Olympic Rings, and even hit up the jumps park, where we both managed to get some serious air. Honestly, I’m amazed I landed all the jumps, and a little proud that I went off them too. That night I managed to find an overnight parking lot in Truckee. We went to a Starbucks for a little bit to get some coffee and wifi before heading back to our overnight spot. When we returned the overnight lot had a few more vans, specifically 2 other vans that were the exact same color as ours. I should have taken a picture cause we looked like a van posse.
Jan 27, Sunday. I attempted to plan out a backcountry ski day to Castle Peak, and left a few details out. But we made it none the less. Our backcountry ski day to Castle Peak was our most difficult and arduous day yet. What I had anticipated being a 2 hour trip, total, turned out to be a 4 hour trip to the top with a 30 minute trip back. At one point the Peak was so steep we had to take our skis off and hike the rest of the way up. We finally made it to the top and were both dying, that was a difficult hike, all while carrying skis. We hiked down a little bit from top, since in reality it was too steep and icy to feasibly ski down, took our skins off and skied down some very nice thick fresh powder. By the time we got back to the van the Sno Park parking area was a riot, there were young families everywhere with little kids going sledding and we really weren’t sure if we were going to be able to get the van past the poorly parked cars. Luckily we did and made our way to Reno. Eric’s amazing brother got us a few nights at La Quinta which were badly needed after a week+ of absolute physical exhaustion of rock climbing and skiing day after day.
That brings us to today! So we’re in Reno until tomorrow. We’ll catch a movie (Aquaman), do laundry, get groceries, and clean the van up a little. Next we’re headed for Salt Lake City.
Resort Skiing: 15
Wipe Outs: R-3 E-3 (we had a few wipeouts at Squaw)
French Press Coffee Makers: 2
(we need to find a french press that’s durable and not made of glass)