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Weatherman

Trip Report: Camping in the Sierras

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I returned yesterday morning from a camping trip to the Sierras.

Aug 3: Arrived in Reno and went downtown for the evening. If you haven't been to Reno before, it's an old school Americana casino town. But many of the locals are outdoor-oriented. It's less than an hour from Lake Tahoe and major ski areas. 

Aug 4: Woke up in Reno to oppressive smoke. Street signs a block away were hazy. Visibility was under 1 mile. We spent the afternoon in Truckee and drove to South Lake Tahoe.

Aug 5: we woke up to cool, clean air and greatly improved visibility in South Lake Tahoe. We went shopping for our camping supplied and drove to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. As the afternoon wore on, we found plenty more smoke in the mountains which made for an apocalyptic scene. FYI, gas in the rural areas was $5.00 per gallon. For real.

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Aug 6: Waking up in morning it was clear we were not prepared for how cold it got that night. It went down at least to 45 if not colder.

We drove as deep in Yosemite as we could get, but didn't get anywhere near the valley as most of the park was closed. Instead we turned around and went to Mammoth for the day. We were forced to park at the ski area and take a shuttle to the Devil's Postpile National Monument. This was the one day I regret. The parking and shuttling took way too long, and the Postpile didn't justify the effort.

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After the Postpile, we went shopping in Mammoth for some warmer clothes for the camping night to come. That evening an elk casually grazed directly behind our tent in Tuolumne Meadows.

Aug 7: Woke in the Tuolumne a bit warmer due to more appropriate sleeping arrangements. We drove to Bishop to do a little more shopping, then up to the Bristle Cones Pines in the White Mountains.

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We took our rented Toyota 4Runner off road up to 12,000 feet.

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That night we drove through Lone Pine and the Alabama Hills. If you've never been, the Alabama Hills are a unique topography that was used to film hundreds of Westerns. We camped next to a mountain brook in Whitney Portal at the base camp to Mount Whitney.

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Aug 8: Day trip to Death Valley. The temperature was 122 degrees.

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At the camp site that evening a black bear walked right through out site between us and the car. My wife freaked out and ran to the car, only to find another black bear behind the car. She was not happy. We found bear paw prints on the car window making it clear they were very curious.

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Aug 8: We had breakfast at the store at Whitney Portal. For $12 you got 3 eggs, 4 pieces of bacon, the largest pancake I have ever see, and unlimited maple syrup for Vermont. The pancake over spilled the plate by a couple inches on both sides. Best breakfast ever.

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Visited the Manzanar concentration camp outside of Lone Pine. Then drove around the Sierras to Kings Canyon.

Aug 10: We explored Kings Canyon and Sequoia. The place was overrun with European tourists. I mean completely overrun.

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Aug 11: We toured some "underground" garden in Fresno and then flew home. We got upgrade to first class so I did some "getting drunk on a plane". The wife got very angry with me.

Things about the trip that stuck with me:

  • Over the course of the trip my wife accumulated an entire duffle bag filled with souvenirs.
  • We were unusual as tourists because we were American. Everywhere we went the tourists were mostly European. Overwhelmingly so.
  • I love off-roading and camping. It was a great time. But make sure to sleep above 6,000 feet in California in the summer
  • I have mixed feelings on the Toyota 4Runner that we rented. It is ancient technology all around. It doesn't have good acceleration or enough power to pass going uphill. The engine is loud and ride is unrefined. Fuel economy is as bad as my full size truck but for a much smaller vehicle. It is not an enjoyable highway driver. But take it off the pavement and it thrived. I really enjoyed it as a dirt road vehicle.
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Manzanar concentration camp - Not quite the right term and may be offensive to some.

Your talking about the Japanese internment camp? If so that is the correct term.

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6 hours ago, Benski said:


Your talking about the Japanese internment camp? If so that is the correct term.

And the term used on the monument at the entrance to the camp.

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9 hours ago, SkiMangoJazz said:

The first line of the Wikipedia page.

 

Manzanar is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were interned during World War II from December 1942 to 1945.

Wikipedia is not a source to quote since it is an open source.  The camps were a terrible thing to do but a far cry from the Nazis camps. 

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From Brittanica.   The Nazi concentration camps were the worst of the worst - no doubt, but are only a type of concentration camp, not a definition of one.

 

Concentration camp, internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order. Persons are placed in such camps often on the basis of identification with a particular ethnic or political group rather than as individuals and without benefit either of indictment or fair trial. Concentration camps are to be distinguished from prisons interning persons lawfully convicted of civil crimes and from prisoner-of-war camps in which captured military personnel are held under the laws of war. They are also to be distinguished from refugee camps or detention and relocation centres for the temporary accommodation of large numbers of displaced persons.

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2 hours ago, SkiMangoJazz said:

From Brittanica.   The Nazi concentration camps were the worst of the worst - no doubt, but are only a type of concentration camp, not a definition of one.

 

Concentration camp, internment centre for political prisoners and members of national or minority groups who are confined for reasons of state security, exploitation, or punishment, usually by executive decree or military order. Persons are placed in such camps often on the basis of identification with a particular ethnic or political group rather than as individuals and without benefit either of indictment or fair trial. Concentration camps are to be distinguished from prisons interning persons lawfully convicted of civil crimes and from prisoner-of-war camps in which captured military personnel are held under the laws of war. They are also to be distinguished from refugee camps or detention and relocation centres for the temporary accommodation of large numbers of displaced persons.

i think the Nazi's have taken that word out of normal vernacular.  

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Who woudda thunk Reno was where all the smoke went??  What did you think of the Giant Sequoias?  They stand out even surrounded by 5000 tourists.  Haven't got a report back from my daughters yet.  Believe they were curtailing some of the Sierra portion of their visit to CA, but still might get to Sequoia NP.

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