Mount Whitney

On December 28 it was time to hit the road for the journey home. I was at the end of my Eastern Sierra holiday trip, exploring photo locations and visiting with family. My destination for the day was the Alabama Hills with the intent of finding a camping site with a view of Mount Whitney as the sun was rising.

Sunrise on Mount Whitney

I spent some time looking for a camp site, knocking about on dirt roads and putting my four wheel drive to use. While there were plenty of camping sites, I did not find one that had the vantage point I wanted. Those sites were claimed. I decided to go to “Plan B.” To camp in the rocks just off of Movieland Road and get up in the morning for a 15 minute walk to a vantage point that would give me the view I was after. This was just as well since there was a fierce wind blowing and the rocks provided some shelter.

Camping in the rocks in the Alabama Hills

I set my alarm for 6:00 and at 6:30 I had my camera and tripod in position. It was a glorious event to watch the sun come up and strike the mountains.

While the Alabama Hills are an exceptional destination, there are also a few other interesting places to explore on the drive from Big Pine to Lone Pine include the Manzanar National Historic Site. A former concentration camp where Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II.

Here are a couple of more images from the morning dawn photo shoot; Lone Pine Peak and a detail of Mount Whitney.

Memorial County Park

I had a client send me out to photograph a project in San Mateo County. Given how the traffic works (or doesn’t work), I decided to drive down the peninsula the night before and camp so that I could be close to the photo location in the morning. I wanted to take advantage of the morning light for the photo shoot. The place I picked to camp was Memorial County Park, not far from the town of La Honda. This turned out to be a lovely spot in a lush grove of redwood trees. It was close to dusk when I parked my rig. The fog was starting to roll in off the ocean, giving a quiet, peaceful feeling. The park encompasses 675 acres with 156 camp sites. I was one of three campers in the park on a Tuesday night, May 1. I imagine in the summer this is a busy camp ground. The fee was $25 and showers were available. No dogs are allowed, and I’m usually looking for dog friendly camps.  In the morning I spent a few minutes wandering around camp before heading to the La Honda Creek Open space which was the location for the photo shoot.  It was a real treat finding such a lovely place to camp in the off season.

Photo for Best BLM Camping – 2017

Our camp at Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA)
Our camp at Keyesville Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA)

A photo we posted to Campendium as part of our review of our camping experience was selected for the best BLM Camping – 2017. Check out the link here.  Campendium is one  of our go-to resources when looking for off-the-grid camping locations. This photo was taken on December 26, 2017. I wrote an earlier blog article about our visit here.

Our Overland Rig

Treve and Joann with their new Four Wheel Camper

Several people have asked me about our venture into four-wheel camping, so here’s the story in a nutshell. On Monday, September 11, we drove our truck to the Four Wheel Camper plant in Woodland and returned with our new camper.  We’ll be taking it on the road for a two week road trip later this month. The story behind this purchase started on our road trip to Utah in May. (Well in all actuality, it probably starts much earlier that that with many camping and backpacking trips.)

While our Subaru Forester was a capable vehicle for taking us on camping adventures, we started looking at other rigs on the road and thinking about what the ideal vehicle might be for us. We like to get off the beaten track, so a four wheel drive with a small footprint was a priority. We looked at Sportmobile, and with a year-long wait and a price tag that was a bit intimidating we decided to look at pop-up campers. The Four Wheel Camper facility is basically in our back yard, an hour’s drive. Everything we read seemed to give Four Wheel a top rating. We determined that a visit to the Four Wheel Camper plant was in order, so on Saturday morning, May 20th, we planned a visit.

A visit to the facility and a look at the features available and we were sold.  Having decided on a camper, we would also need a truck. The sales staff at Four Wheel suggested a Toyota Tacoma. Following our morning visit to Woodland we stopped in Davis for lunch, and I suggested we stop at a Toyota dealer on the way home so we could look at a Tacoma. Long story short; we ended up driving a Tacoma TRD 4×4 Off-Road long bed, double cab off the lot. And now three months later we are ready to roll.