*SLT - South Lake Tahoe
Friday, April 29, 2016
Bishop, Sherwin, Dead Man, and Mono....
Technically the southern end of the vaunted Eastern Sierras begins near Kennedy Meadows, south of Lone Pine, but for TLE and I they begin at Lone Pine.....it is where the spectacular views of the Eastern Sierras begin. After about 20 hours in Lone Pine it was time to continue our four day, 440 mile journey to SLT*.
Since winds out of the north were predicted (18-20 mph) later in the morning we were on the road by 8 am heading north on US HWY 395.....within an hour we are passing through Bishop, CA (where my maternal grandmother was born and raised) and headed for the base of Sherwin Grade....from the base of Sherwin Grade to the top of Dead Man Summit you gain some 4,000' elevation in just 20+ miles.....the Sherwin grade is 7-8% for 13 miles.....it is a grinder. We normally run 25-30 mph in 2nd gear going up this grade. The whole time I am focusing on coolant, oil and transmission temperatures trying to keep them under 200 degrees. On this particular day they ran about 198 degrees which is about as good as it is going to get with a Detroit Diesel 6V92. Redline on these 2 stroke diesel engines is 2100, and I try to keep my RPM's on grades like this at, or near 2100.
Nearing Big Pine
As we passed Crowley Lake, south of Mammoth Mountain, we decided, for the first time ever in our lives, to stop at the Vista Point....I was noticing my oil pressure had decreased about 10 psi.....normally I see consistent readings of 60 psi all the time, but when I begin to see the oil pressure decrease I know it's time to add oil....so this was the perfect spot (in between steep grades) to check the oil. While we were stopped I braved the low 40's temps (lower with wind chill factor) to take a few pictures......
....we spent about 15 minutes at the Vista Point before rolling our wheels once again to cover the final 25 miles to Lee Vining, our destination, for the day. I know....I know....only 125 miles for the day? That's right....we've been sitting in one place, with the 4+ week exception of our desert sojourn during January, since the middle of November. While this current trip to SLT* is less than 500 miles we are going to pull every ounce of enjoyment out of that distance. The only way is to take it in small chunks, and that is exactly what we are doing.
We arrived in Lee Vining directly across from Mono Vista RV Park around 10:30 am....way too early to check in so we decided to walk back up the street to Nicely's for an early lunch, which turned out to be a late breakfast....I love breakfast for lunch!
As we walked down the street we could see signs everywhere of the snowfall form the night before....a reminder that winter is never very far away at 8,000' elevation in the Eastern Sierras.
We finished our late breakfast just after noon time, and walked back to the coach......they have about 7, or 8 long pull sites at Mono Vista RV Park that will fit our rig. The pads themselves are gravel surrounded by grass. We've stayed here several times over the years, but often our travel brings us through when they are not open. They are only open 7 months out of the year (April 1st through October 31st). They only accept cash, and checks in payment for sites.
By the time we got settled into our spot the wind had picked up to the mid 20's, and with the wind chill factor made it feel like the mid 30's, so we turned up the heaters and just stayed inside the rest of the afternoon enjoying the splendid views of Mono Lake and surrounds through our front windows.
Friday we continue on to Carson City....a whopping 99 miles away!
Thanks for stopping by!
*SLT - South Lake Tahoe