Sunday, May 10, 2015
TVC* - Day 1 - Heaven rewind.....
As it turns out every Interstate battery dealer in Bishop (there are four of them) is closed on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Napa auto which does sell 8D batteries under their own label, and was open, could not deliver a battery until after closing at 5 pm (only two people in the store on Saturday) so we opted to leave Bishop with only one starter battery and, as it turned out, that was enough. The coach started right up then, and started right up every other time we had to start the 6V92 on Saturday.
On this day (real Saturday) we had 6 serious climbs to make before the day was finished.....the first up was Sherwin Grade about 11 miles northeast of Bishop. By the time we hit Sherwin Summit (6,426') we had gained close to 2,500' in just a nine mile stretch from the base of Sherwin Grade. We left Bishop around 8:40 am under partly cloudy skies, and were passing the Sherwin Summit sign by 9:20.
Snow capped Mammoth Mountain in the distance
The next summit was Deadman Summit (just before the June Lake Loop junction) which sits at 8,047'.....pretty high, but not the highest summit we would gain on this day. We were in Lee Vining (on the shores of Mono Lake) by 10 am where we took a break and TLE made some bagels. Normally this time of year Lee Vining is snow free and the terrain resembles high desert, but on Saturday it resembled a winter wonderland!
We were on our way once again in about 20 minutes towards our third summit of the day.....Conway Summit, which is the highest elevation point on US HWY 395 at 8,138'....the snow was even deeper there.....
From Conway Summit it is along descent along a 6% declivity into Bridgeport, CA and then right back up to our fourth summit of the day.....Devil's Gate Summit at 7,139'.....from there we plunged ever downward along the Walker River to the lovely town of Walker, CA. Next up was our 5th climb of the day to Simee Dimeh Summit (5,987' ) just past Topaz Lake, and then another downward slide to the Carson Valley, and the town of Gardnerville. As we passed through Gardnerville we knew we had just one more climb into the Lake Tahoe Basin, and South Lake Tahoe.
Topaz Lake, NV in the distance
In the past we have used one of two passes (Spooner Summit, or Kingsbury Grade) to enter the Lake Tahoe Basin, both of which are long, switchback grinders. Last summer several friends told us we should take the 'back way' into South Lake Tahoe by driving HWY 88 to HWY 89, and this day we opted for the new route. This route took us over the 6th pass of the day.....Luther Pass which sits at 7,740'......let's face it.....no matter which route you take into the Tahoe Basin you will have to do some climbing, and this new route was no exception, but did have one big difference.....it was mostly pretty straight.....no switchbacks.....just straight up and straight down, plus it was way more scenic.
We arrived, without incident, at Tahoe Valley Campground around 1:30 pm having covered just under 200 miles, and 6 passes...... as I stepped out of the coach and looked around it felt like we had never left......we are back in 'heaven' for the summer!
Where we will be spending 4 days per week this summer
It's great to be back in one of my favorite places on earth, and we get to spend close to 4 months here. We quickly went to our site (same as last year), and backed into our spot, dropped the trailer, and hooked all the utilities up. By the time we finished I was feeling pretty hungry.......I hadn't eaten since 10, and it was only one bagel, so we got dressed and walked over to Lake Tahoe Pizza for a late lunch, early dinner about 4 pm.
Life is certainly good......thanks for stopping by!
*TVC = Tahoe Valley Campground