Our fond memories of Ashland, Oregon, from our first year of full-timing in the RV in 2012 compelled us to return to this cute little town. The Shakespeare Festival gave us even more reason to spend a few days here. I clearly remember (and that’s not something that happens frequently!) how much we absolutely loved Ashland. We even thought it might be someplace we could live permanently. It had a special ‘vibe’. But, I think that now that we are in our third year on the road, and I’ve seen so many wonderful, adorable, cute little towns that Ashland is now just one more.
We spent the first few days at Emigrant Lake. The weather was very nice albeit a bit chilly in the morning. I must say we are enjoying our solar panels immensely. The lake, however, has a depressingly low water level. And the ground is so thick with stickers that Lucy couldn’t go outside. And then we couldn’t get tickets to the plays we wanted to see.
We got up early (early for us anyway) to go to the Farmers Market in Ashland. Everything was fresh, organic and yummy, as expected!
As we sipped our coffee and devoured our baked goodies, we noticed these gentlemen wearing tin foil covered helmets.
Then we noticed the additional protestors across the street who were worried about the government doing bad things to them.
I’m not trying to start a political debate here. Just found it amusing. Time to move on.
We made a long drive down to Lake Mead, Nevada to meet up with our friends Ingrid and Al (LiveLaughRV.net). They were interested in buying the love seat/jack knife bed that we replaced with my new desk. So we delivered it to them. Hey, anything for a party!
Ingrid and I had a good laugh when we both showed up with the same tee shirt on! We both had fallen in love with Moab Utah last year and ended up buying the same Moab tee shirt. Birds of a feather….
Here is Mike and Al solving the problems of the world again. You’d think they would have it all worked out by now. Pictures are courtesy of Ingrid’s blog.
Time was running out for Mike and I to spend some time up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along Highway 395. So we headed up to June Lake in the hopes of seeing the display of fall colors. And we timed it perfectly!
The weather was PERFECT! About 80 degrees, perfectly clear sky, very gentle breeze, perfect in every way. We took a hike up a mountain trail that gave us a great view of June Lake and Gull Lake. It was quite a climb! The thin air made it even more difficult. Thought we were going to die.
There are so many interesting things to see and do in this area, that it is difficult to choose. We had heard about a few fascinating attractions that we just had to see for ourselves. The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established in 1981 to preserve the limestone “tufa tower” formations. Did you know this lake is over 1 million years old? The towers are formed as the calcium-rich springs flow up from the lake bottom. The calcium bonds to carbonates in the water to form a type of limestone, which then builds on itself to create these towers. As the water level of Mono Lake decreased, the towers were exposed and, of course, stopped growing. It’s amazing (and sad) to realize how much water is gone from Mono Lake. But the tufa towers were awesome to see.
Mike was hungry and ready to find the place that makes the lobster taquitos that everyone raves about. We found it in Lee Vining behind the Mobil Gas Station. The lobster taquitos came with spicy black beans, a mango salad and broccoli slaw. We also got a plate of their carnitas. It was quite good!
With full bellies, we drove up to see the ghost town of Bodie, which became a State Historic Park in 1962. It is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay”. It was a wicked and lawless town where “killings occurred with monotonous regularity”. In 1879, Bodie had a population of 10,000 people and 65 saloons. It was described as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion”. I love the “arrested decay” style of preservation. Like it is frozen in time. What’s left of it anyway. You can wander around the empty streets and peak in the windows of houses and buildings and see the things that were left behind. It was surreal.
The drive up to Bodie was beautiful, too!
Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is another National Monument that we wanted to see. The column formations were formed from basalt lava which flowed here 82,000 years ago and fractured by a glacier passing through about 20,000 years ago. Subsequent earthquakes felled many columns that now lie fragmented below the postpile.
We continued hiking past Devils Postpile to the 101 foot Rainbow Falls. Then we took the 95 steps to the bottom of the falls for a better view (and enjoyed a picnic lunch down there).
The hiking opportunities in the Mono Lake Ranger District are endless. We enjoyed as many as we could and we will definitely return to this area again for more. The hike to Parker Lake required a 2-mile drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to the trailhead, but it was worth it.
Now we were ready to take on a more difficult hike. We knew we just HAD to complete the highly recommended 8-mile hike through the Virginia Lakes. Again, we had perfect weather. And again, we were gasping for air when we got to the steep climbing part at the summit. Wow, this thin air really makes a difference! But, I’ll tell you this was an amazing hike. It ranks right up there with the best of the best in terms of beauty.
Breakfast at the popular Silver Lake Resort Cafe on the June Lake Loop was a great way to begin the celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary, and a great way to wrap up our visit to June Lake. Everything was perfect!