Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Mammoth Day

Back in the early 70's to late 80's we would spend 2-3 weeks a year snow skiing at Mammoth Mountain in California.  At the time we lived in Pasadena, CA and the 300 mile drive to Mammoth would take 5-6 hours.  Then in the early 90's I got tired of waiting in lift lines, and got caught up in the mountain bike craze.....there were no lift lines....there was no waiting, and it didn't cost $60 per person to do it each day.  Over the years of our marriage we have spent just as much time, if not more, in Mammoth as Lake Tahoe.  With the advent of mountain biking many ski areas built "bike parks" for mountain bike riders to use during the summer months, and Mammoth built one of the best.  Even though you ride a gondola, or chair lift to the top of the  mountain to begin riding, there were no lift lines, and as we used to say, the Mammoth Mountain Bike Park is better than an "E" ticket ride at Disneyland.  Many of you will recall that back in the early years of Disneyland they sold you a book of tickets for the rides.  Each ride (depending on its popularity) was rated "A" to "E"...."E" being the most desirable.   Typically in a given day my friends and I would cover 50-60 miles of downhill trails at Mammoth on our bikes.  Needless to say I have shed a lot of blood on this mountain over the years, and like Lake Tahoe, memories are planted deep here for both TLE and I.

Tuesday dawned with a heavy cloud cover, but no forecast of precipitation of either the liquid, or frozen variety, also the over night temps got into the low 20's....yep, winter will be here soon.  Instead of driving around town like we usually do when we are up here, we decided to just take off walking to see what had changed, and what was the same.  Our first stop was the Breakfast Club, a very popular local breakfast eatery where we have had many breakfasts over the years.  It is just a short walk from the RV park, and this is one place I am glad has not changed.....the food is simple, but delicious.

After eating we walked up the main drag to the outlet stores where I found a pair of Teva sandals at a bargan basement price at Value Sports where we have shopped often over the years, and TLE found a pair of wonderful slippers at the Bass Shoe Outlet store.  We walked up Old Mammoth road and window shopped for a while.  As we expected, not much has changed in the past two years since we were here last.  On Wednesday TLE will run up to the Schat's Bakery to pick up some bread.

 The RV park in the distance

Mammoth Mountain.....has about 18" of snow at the top right now.

After walking just over 3.5 miles we headed back "home" to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.  We planned to leave around 4 pm to drive over to the June Lake Loop to have dinner at one of our all time favorite eastern Sierra restaurants.....The Carson Peak Inn.

The drive over to June Lake was uneventful, but we found a road block with a detour sign taking us around the backside of the lake due to some road construction.  As a result, we just missed the sun going down behind the high mountain peaks......sunset occurs a little earlier in the high mountain country.  This was what I was able to get from the parking lot of the Heidelberg Inn.....another place we have frequented often over the years.  We love the enormous fireplace in the lobby.

TLE and the Heidelberg Inn

Since the Carson Peak Inn doesn't open until 5 pm, and it was only 4:30 at this time we drove down the "Loop" road past Silver Lake just taking in the beauty of this drive.  It was just past dusk there, but the views were striking nevertheless.

Silver Lake at dusk

Taking a picture of the picture taker

TLE's panorama shot of Silver Lake

By the time we finished with our picture taking it was almost 5 pm, so we headed back to the "Inn" for our 5 pm reservation.   As it turned out, and we should have know better, we are in between seasons with the summer revelers long gone, so we were the only customers at opening time.  Frankly I kind of liked having it all to ourselves.  Our server, Janice, asked us what kind of music we would like to listen to on XM/Sirrious Radio, and we asked for Sirriusly Sinatra (channel 71).  We enjoyed our conversation with Janice, who has been a June lake resident for over 34 years.  I told her I have been coming to the Carson Peak Inn since 1963 (with my parents) and have been here dozens of times over the years.  The interior has not changed much, but it has been refreshed over the years a few times....I love the rich wood paneling, and the eclectic collection of lamps that provide light for the diners.

Every time I come to the Carson Peak Inn I have their Filet Mignon.....still one of the top 3 I have ever had.  We ordered a bottle of BV Coastal Pinot Noir to go with our 3 course meal.  TLE had pan fried rainbow trout....everything was perfect, and we had a wonderful time.

The 18 mile drive home was uneventful.....just as we like it.....and we arrived back "home" around 6:45.  Tuesday night is NCIS, NCIS L.A., and Person of Interest usual, all three shows were great, and we headed off to dreamland around 11.....well, TLE did.  I was having trouble updating one of the apps on my laptop, and it took until about 12:15 am for me to finish it.  Normally that would bug me, but since every day is like Saturday BIG deal....:D

Wednesday we will slip down Sherwin Grade into Bishop, CA and then on south to our next destination of Lone Pine, CA.....we're almost home kids.....just a couple more days!  Your patience is appreciated!

Thanks for stopping by!

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