Sunday, January 9, 2000

Sunday night in Bishop, Ca.  

I drove a few more miles today.  Technically, I drove 60 miles north on Route 395, but I "traveled" further by seeing more interesting sites and visiting two museums.  

I started in Lone Pine by driving up and into the Sierras. Yesterday, as I was driving back to Lone Pine from Death Valley, I noticed a road with many switchbacks  heading high up on a mountain, then disappearing near the peak.  I found the road this morning and began my ascent.  It ended up being about twenty miles long and terminating at the  Cottonwood Pass trail head and campground.  No one was there and I found it to be very peaceful and beautiful.  Also, the views from the road into the valley were absolutely incredible!  I was very glad to have taken that side trip.  

After driving downhill in second gear (steep grade from top to bottom) and returning to Route 395, I accelerated and noticed blue smoke coming out of my exhaust.  I accelerated again and noticed a bit more.  Then there was no more smoke.  I suspect it had to do with too much oil being added to the engine when I had my last oil change (thanks to the mechanic) and the high revs running the engine to slow my descent.  Tomorrow I have more mountain passes to cross, so I can test my theory!  

As I continued north, I stopped at an earthquake historical site containing a gravesite for sixteen of the twenty-six people killed in the 8.3 earthquake that hit the area in 1872.  The area was hit hard by this quake.  

Further up 395 is  the Manzanar Historical Site, an encampment used during World War II to house about 10,000 Americans of Japanese descent.  All but one building has been torn down and removed, but an auto tour with posted signs shows the different areas and uses.  Also, documentation is provided explaining the story behind Manzanar.  The National Park Service is in the process of putting a plan together to create a visitor center in the auditorium, the only remaining building, and developing the site for historical purposes.  Should be interesting to see when it is ready. 

The next town I encountered was Independence.  It is the home of the Eastern California Museum.  The museum has been around since the 1920s, and there is much to be seen.  Their current special exhibit is a display of fifty pictures of the Manzanar Encampment taken during the war by Ansel Adams.  Very impressive photos. Also on display are relics from the area, old buildings, and many, many other items.

Finally I entered Bishop, Ca.  I had visited this town before and used this as a base for my trip to the Bristlecone Pine Forest, in the Inyo National Forest (see October Trip page for site containing pictures.) Just north of town is the Laws Railroad Museum.  Originally set up as a train museum on the site of the Laws California station of a narrow gauge railroad, it has become more of a Western town display.  Many buildings and non- railroad equipment have been added to the museum.  Very nice displays and equipment.

So the question is, when do I turn East and depart California?  Depending on the weather and a few other places I want see, it may be tomorrow.  I heard of some interesting drives in the Mammoth Lakes area I might try.

Routes traveled today: 395 - Forest Service Road 1300 - 395 - 6

Until tomorrow...Thanks for looking in...Igor


Hotel: Holiday Inn Express

Gas: None

Click on picture to get enlarged view:

The Alabama Hills at sunrise!

Looking northeast and down into Owens Valley.

Another view of Owens Valley, looking southeast.

Plaque on rock in previous picture.

Trailhead area at end of FS 1300 road into the Sierras.

Another view of area.

Yet another view...

Animal-like stump!

Historical marker for 1872 earthquake victims.

Mass gravesite

Historical marker and monument

Entrance to Manzanar

Historical marker and stone

Gymnasium and auditorium at Manazaner

View from road through Manzanar

Waterfall and pond built by residents

Another angle of pond

Entrance station to Manzanar

Historical site

Mary Austin's House

Old box car at Eastern Sierra Museum

Old farming machine at Eastern Sierra Museum

Plaque for Camp Independence, north of Independence, Ca.

Location of Camp Independence

Laws Station marker

Train turn around

Train water towers

Some interesting buildings at the Laws Railroad Museum

From inside of the locomotive

Number 9 locomotive

Community buildings at the museum (Red building is school)

The post office is one of the original buildings remaining.

This page accessed  times since January 1, 2001.

Page created by:


Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

All Rights Reserved

Pictures may be used with permission.