Sunday, June 26, 2016

Through the fire zone.

Just a short note to tell everyone that we made it out of the fire zone at Lee Vining this morning. We left the campground at 7:30 and had to wait about 20 minutes for the pilot car. They escorted us to the north end of Mono Lake.

It must have been a really interesting day on Friday at Mono Lodge as the fire burned right up to the back of the motel. Hand crews with shovels were still digging up hot spots as we went by this morning.

Edison brought in a large load of power poles last night and they had a very large number of trucks staging along the highway at Mono Lodge this morning. Hard to tell where they lost poles as we went by.

Other than it being a long day, 300 miles, and hot, in the nineties, we are fine. Tomorrow is another 270 mile day to Redmond, OR.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Every RV’er knows that not all plans go as scheduled.

Our plans certainly haven’t. We have gone from the frying pan into the fire or I should say, from one fire to another fire.

We left one fire at home only to get stopped by another fire in the Eastern Sierra.

We left home at 6:10 AM on Thursday to get ahead of the morning rush hour traffic. We stopped in Fillmore for an Egg McMuffin and that put us going up I-5, the “Grapevine” when the temp was only 72 degrees and little traffic. Perfect! We stopped in Mojave for fuel and then carried on North on Hwy 395.

Our original destination was the Elks Club in Ridgecrest but the temperature was predicted to be 108 degrees so we abandoned that in favor of Boulder Creek RV Park South of Lone Pine. However, when we got that far we decided it was too early to stop so continued on to Brown’s Town at Bishop, CA.

The temperature here was 103 so we stayed inside with the AC on the remainder of the afternoon. It did cool off overnight so sleeping was ok.
Sierra Nevada Mountains from Bishop.
The next morning we fueled up in Bishop and Clyda said she saw a sign that Hwy 395 was closed at Lee Vining due to a fire. I immediately got on my phone and confirmed that yes, there was a fire and yes, the road was closed. Our plan was to go to Glass Creek at Mammoth anyway so that would be a good place to wait out the road closure if we could get in.

We arrived about 10:30 and the place looked pretty full. As we drove around a guy stopped us and said only one site was open if we wanted it. So, we took it. We were lucky as more rigs showed up and there were no open sites. The bad news is that the campground was full of off road vehicles of all kinds along with their big motor homes and long trailers. It is not a very nice place anymore and doubt if we will every stop there again.

As the highway continued to closed we decided to take a picnic lunch and go to June Lake for the day. When we arrived at June Lake Junction it appeared from the traffic that the road may be open so I stopped and asked a waitress if in fact the road was open and she replied “Yes.” So, we turned around and went back to the camp ground for the RV. After a quick lunch we hooked up and left.

When we got to the Hwy 120 turnoff to Benson a sign said “Hwy 395 closed.” Now what do we do. I kept on driving into Lee Vining and at the North end of town all traffic was stopped. We pulled off to the side and talked to a young couple walking back from where the road was closed by vehicles with flashing lights and they told us that “the road was closed by a rock slide from the fire until Cal-Trans could install a K-rail to contain the slide and who knew how long that would be.”

So we made a u-turn and stopped along the road while we decided “whats next?” I just so happens that Mono Vista RV park was right there so we pulled in and secured a site for the night. This park was on our original schedule when we first planned this trip but got dropped when our plans changed. I guess it was meant to be.
Fire visible from our campground.
We are right next to the fire and also within view of the road closure. And hour after we got here they opened the road one lane at a time with escort. So, we relaxed along with every one else in the same situation and will leave early in the morning for our next stop, by passing Carson City, NV and going on to Likely, CA which will put us back on schedule.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Trip planning and a nearby fire.

While not quit a month since my last post, still long enough I guess.

I have been working and planning for our trip to Lynden, Washington starting next Thursday the 23rd. I do a little each day.

We will make the trip in 8 days with little time for sight seeing. It really doesn’t matter as we have made this same trip many times before. A few of the nightly stops will be different this time but I will report on those as we travel.

Now however, we have a large fire burning to the West of us on the coastal range. It started 3 days ago and has grown each day since. It has been named the Sherpa Fire after the ranch where it started. During the day the winds blow from West to East along the coast but at night they shift to the South and blow down over the mountains (called sundowner winds) causing the fire to cross Highway 101. In places the center medium has burned and the highway has been closed for the last 2 nights when this happens. Probably will be closed again tonight. The sundowner winds have been 35 to 45 MPH which plays havoc with attempts to control the fire. There are some pretty dramatic photos on line of the fire at night. Check Google Images and Sherpa Fire for those.

So far the only building to burn was the pump station for the State Park at El Capitan which was located way up a canyon. We have several friends living on ranches in the fire area and are in contact with them. It has been reported on TV that there have been losses to avocados, lemons, and olive groves.

We are about 10 miles from the fire I would guess and the standby evacuation line is a road about 3 miles West of us. If they move it closer to us, a lot of houses are in danger not only ours. If we are forced to evacuate we will take the RV and move to one of the staging areas set up for that and wait it out.
Smoke as seen from our backyard yesterday(sorry for the pole).

For now we keep the house closed up to keep the smell of smoke out and also the ash that falls. It hasn’t been too bad so far. However it is supposed to get into the 90’s here on Monday which will mean using fans to keep cool.