395 Trip Part two – Lone Pine

We arrived in Lone Pine on Sunday May 12th.  I had planned to camp at Lone Pine CG however when we got there, a long up hill slog, we found it to be very tight quarters, unlevel pads, cranky camp host and simply did not feel good.  This CG was at the foot of the Sierra just below Mt. Whitney Portal.  So we headed back toward the town and the Alabama Hills where I heard there was lots of boon docking sites.  Sure enough, we found an awesome spot right near Hopalong Cassidy Canyon.   Just gorgeous views all around and very private.  But of course, no water or bathrooms, garbage cans etc.  We did have some neighbors that stayed for one night from Germany.  Very nice young couple who were tent camping near us.

Before we arrived we stopped in Bishop which is a nice sized town with plenty of gas options, kmart, Vons, grocery outlet … plenty of places to stock up at.

Since we needed to have access to water and toilets we decided to try Tuttle Creek CG.  We love it!  Only $4/night with our senior discount, really nice sites with views of Mt. Whitney and Tuttle creek running right behind us.  Apparently loaded with trout, although I failed to get a fishing license this year.  Anyway, we liked it so much we stayed for five nights.

We drove the jeep to the site of the temple in Gunga Din movie from the 30’s and drove all over movie trail road including many 4wdr offshoots.  Even flew the drone over some areas regardless of the problem I am having with the gimbal jiggle.

We visited the movie museum in town for $5, a must see.  They even have a movie about history of the area regarding movie production.  We drove out Stove Pipe Wells in Death Valley which was not that impressive from the direction we came in.

We did, however, see some FA-18 Navy fighter jets come roaring through Rainbow Canyon (sometimes called Star Wars Canyon) and entering the vast death valley desert.  Lots of people were stationed there waiting for the jets arrival with cameras and binoculars etc.  Quite a treat.  We just happened to be at this view point at the right time.  These jets are flying between 400 – 500 mph.  I have video of these jets included in my overall video however, you can see great shots of this on fighter jets video.  Subsequently on August 1, 2019 a pilot crashed in this very canyon.   A first for this for this place.  Terrible tragedy.

Another cool adventure was the hike up to the Tuttle Creek Ashram.   This was an abandoned building that had been the dream of Franklin Merrell-Wolff and his followers. Him and his wife began building this Ashram with their followers in the 1920’s.  He was a famous philosopher and mystic.  Born in 1887.  The Ashram was almost complete in 1950 when his wife died and the project abandoned.  Lots of info about him on the web just search it up.   Anyway, the hike is a steep climb to the 7750′ level near Lone Pine Peak.  First quarter of the trip is very steep so we left the dogs back in the RV.  Took us about an hour to get there.  Glorious views from the building.  Amazing to think they dragged cement and rock and equipment all the way up there to build it.  The road to the trail head was a little spooky with a cliff on one side of the road and soft dirt/sand or loose rocks.

I took some drone videos but since the camera gimbal is screwed up, they have a wobbly affect.  Jello affect.  I, so far, have not been able to fix it.  So there are a few clips in the video of drone shots without the wobble, but most had to be scrapped.

All together we spent six nights in Lone Pine.  At Tuttle Creek CG we paid total of $20 for five night and of course the boondocking night was free.  The whole area is just a photographers delight.  Below is an 18 minute video of our trip followed by some photos of the Lone Pine area.


Author: Geoff

Quick rundown: Grew up in Lombard, Illinois, went to Arizona State University, worked as a CPA with Arthur Andersen & Co, then Laventhal and Horwath, then Rolling Stones, then Heron International, then Goodby Berlin and Silverstein in San Francisco. Moved to the foothills in 1990 and traded futures and designed websites. Married to Kate Stewart, now living in Colfax, CA. We have six grandchildren. I enjoy camping in our RV, hiking, kayaking, fishing, droning and cross country skiing Also conga drumming, photography and dogs.