First off we apologize again for so many pictures and the length of this update. I think we need to get back to updates more often during our busy times or at least break them up a little LOL!!
Sunday (4/8) we lifted our jacks and said farewell to Pahrump Nevada and dropped down into Death Valley and headed towards Lone Pine California. We said our “see ya down the road’s) to Bob & Karen the night before who were planning to leave a little later than us.
Our destination in Lone Pine was the Boulder Creek RV Park about 3 miles south of town, we had toyed with the idea of boondocking but figured we would do the full hookup thing and explore the area for dry camping spots for our next time through.
For the record Boulder Creek RV Park is a nice clean spot to stay with just ok sized sites with some nice views of the area. And it’s ran but some very friendly people which means a lot these days.
Our friends Gary & Lisa were in the area for 1 more day when we rolled in and were camped at Tuttle Creek Campground. They suggested that we get together for an early dinner at the Totem Café after we got settled in which of course we thought was a great idea.
After our meal we followed them to their campsite and sat around the fire until about 9:30 before saying our “travel safe’s” and “see ya down the roads”. We have bumped into Gary & Lisa about 5 times since our hitting the road and enjoy each and every time. Who knows, with a little luck we may bump into them again this summer if our path takes us the way I think it might.
Ok, because we are behind on our blog I think we will be a bit abbreviated on this one and just run entire stay together.
Because there have been over 400 movies, TV shows and commercials were filmed in The Alabama Hills area outside of town there is a great Movie Museum with an extensive collection of movie costumes, movie cars, props, posters, and other memorabilia.
The first film to be made here was “The Round Up for Paramount” in 1920 and Fatty Arbuckle stared in in.
We probably spent 2 hours roaming around before moving on.
Of course we spent a good chunk of time driving through and hiking around Alabama Hill’s and Movie Road.
There are two main types of rock exposed at Alabama Hills. One is an orange, drab weathered metamorphosed volcanic rock that is 150-200 million years old. The other type of rock exposed here is 82 to 85 million year old biotite monzo-granite which weathers to potato-shaped large boulders, many stand on end due to spheroidal weathering acting on many nearly vertical joints in the rock.
There are dozens of natural arches scattered around and they can be accessed by short hikes from the Whitney Portal Road, the Movie Flat Road and the Horseshoe Meadows Road. Among the notable features of the area are: Mobius Arch, Lathe Arch, the Eye of Alabama and Whitney Portal Arch.
Back to movies, films like Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, The Lone Ranger and Bonanza and classics such as Gunga Din, The Walking Hills, Yellow Sky, Springfield Rifle, The Violent Men, Bad Day, Black Rock, parts of How the West Was Won, and Joe Kidd were all filmed here.
More recent productions such as Tremors and Joshua Tree, were filmed at “movie ranch” sites known as Movie Flats and Movie Flat Road. In Gladiator, actor Russell Crowe rides a horse in front of the Alabama’s, with Mount Whitney in the background, for a scene presumably set in Spain.
Star Trek Generations was filmed here in addition to Overton, Nevada and Paramount Studios. This range was also one of the filming locations for Disney’s Dinosaur. More recently, many parts of the films Iron Man, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and the independent, experimental film 3.14… were filmed here. Does any of the areas look familiar LOL!!
We also visited Manzanar which is most widely known as one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945. Manzanar was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.
For the life of me I don’t remember this being taught in school but maybe I skipped that day. I bet there is a better chance that this part of history is something to shameful to be discussed and was just ignored. Anyway, instead of me trying to put into words what we leaned we will just share a clip I found on the internet with you along with some pictures, OK.
In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 into law which eventually forced close to 120,000 Japanese-Americans in the western part of the United States to leave their homes and move to one of ten ‘relocation’ centers or to other facilities across the nation.
This order came about as a result of great prejudice and wartime hysteria after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Even before the Japanese-Americans were relocated, their livelihood was seriously threatened when all accounts in American branches of Japanese banks were frozen. Then, religious and political leaders were arrested and often put into holding facilities or relocation camps without letting their families know what had happened to them.
The order to have all Japanese-Americans relocated had serious consequences for the Japanese-American community. Even children adopted by Caucasian parents were removed from their homes to be relocated. Sadly, most of those relocated were American citizens by birth. Many families wound up spending three years in facilities. Most lost or had to sell their homes at a great loss and close down numerous businesses.
The War Relocation Authority (WRA)
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was created to set up relocation facilities.
They were located in desolate, isolated places. The first camp to open was Manzanar in California. Over 10,000 people lived there at its height.
The relocation centers were to be self-sufficient with their own hospitals, post offices, schools, etc. And everything was surrounded by barbed wire. Guard towers dotted the scene.
The guards lived separately from the Japanese-Americans.
In Manzanar, apartments were small and ranged from 16 x 20 feet to 24 x 20 feet. Obviously, smaller families received smaller apartments. They were often built of subpar materials and with shoddy workmanship so many of the inhabitants spent some time making their new homes livable. Further, because of its location, the camp was subject to dust storms and extreme temperatures.
Manzanar is also the best preserved of all Japanese-American internment camps not only in terms of site preservation but also in terms of a pictorial representation of life in the camp in 1943. This was the year that Ansel Adams visited Manzanar and took stirring photographs capturing the daily life and surroundings of the camp. His pictures allow us to step back into the time of innocent people who were imprisoned for no other reason than they were of Japanese descent.
When the relocation centers were closed at the end of World War II, the WRA provided inhabitants who had less than $500 a small sum of money ($25), train fare, and meals on the way home. Many inhabitants, however, had nowhere to go. In the end, some had to be evicted because they had not left the camps.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act that provided redress for Japanese-Americans. Each living survivor was paid $20,000 for the forced incarceration. In 1989, President Bush issued a formal apology. It is impossible to pay for the sins of the past, but it is important to learn from our errors and not make the same mistakes again, especially in our post-September 11th world. Lumping all people of a specific ethnic origin together as happened with the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans is the antithesis of the freedoms upon which our country was founded.
Well that place was an eye opener and I would guess we spent at least 3 hours in the museum and walking the grounds.
We headed to Independence one day to visit the Eastern California Museum which was founded in 1928 and has been operated by the County of Inyo since 1968.
This place was chocked full of information related to the cultural and natural history of Inyo County and the Eastern Sierra, from Death Valley to Mono Lake.
In addition to physical artifacts the Museum also houses about 27,000 historic photographs of the Eastern Sierra region, the majority of which date from the late 1800s through the 1950s.
Of course all of the stuff inside was interesting and cool but I liked the outside stuff. Old and rusty and in all stages of disrepair.
Unfortunately it was such a windy day that it was hard to really enjoy the outside area but we made the best of it but I saw Diane patiently hiding from the wind every chance she got giving me all the time I wanted to wander through.
On our last day in the area we took a drive down into Death Valley to hike the Darwin Fall’s Trail.
According to All-trails Darwin Falls Trail is a 5.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Darwin, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate.
We would consider it more in the Panamint Springs area but what do we know LOL!! One thing is for sure and that is that Darwin Falls is an oasis as far as the Death Valley is concerned.
It was a nice hike with a number of small stream crossings. The crossings themselves were not challenging but the rock in this area are not gritty at all and created a few pucker moments while our shoes were still wet so be aware of that if you visit this area.
There is also a little rock scrambling to be done in order to do this trail but nothing too bad but enough to make Diane and I both moan a bit from one bad body part or another, for us it’s our knee’s LOL!! I think we both wished we had worn our knee braces, what a pair we make.
On our way home from the falls we decided to take a slight detour and check out the town of Darwin.
I think there are less than 4o people in the town now so I bet the Dance Hall is just jumpin with excitement on Friday nights LOL!!
We took a couple other road trips, one to Bishop where we stopped for a quick lunch at Erick Schat’s Bakery and a short hike at the Pinyon Nature Trail but we will be re-visiting both locations later so we will talk about them then.
Well there you have it, we spent 5 days in the area, counting our travel day to get there and I think we jammed in about as much as we could and as much as we needed to for this trip but I could see us stopping in again and doing a little boondocking instead of staying at the RV park but time will tell.
Oh, other than Tuttle Creek Campground and the Alabama Hills area we stopped it at Diaz Lake to have a peak at what they had to offer for camping. They offer good sized grassy sites right along a lake, no hookups but people were fishing. It probably won’t be for us but an option just the same.
Friday (4/13) we lifted our jacks and drove a whole 60 miles to our next stop for a week in Bishop. Another long travel day LOL!!