On our journey of full-time RVing, our first-ever boondocking location was in Lone Pine, California, in a federally-protected area known as the Alabama Hills. We originally planned to stay there for two weeks, but we were chased out by impending floods, caused by heavy rainfall and snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Our stay there only ended up being six days long, from January 2nd until January 8th. We enjoyed our visit there so much, and we were very sad that it was cut short.
We left Death Valley midday on a Saturday and arrived in the Alabama Hills less than one hour later. The snow-capped Eastern Sierra mountains shone in the distance for the whole way there, and I could not help but be excited for our second visit to Lone Pine. I often love the places we travel to so much that I would pay them a revisit, but I had not previously expected for this re-visit to actually happen.
Before heading to @deathvalleynps, we realized that our favorite location as of yet was only a 30 minute drive from the park. We instantly added Lone Pine to our itinerary, and now here we are. ☺️ This location is so beautiful, with a bedside view of Mt. Whitney and rocks and boulders everywhere… Hoping for a nice refreshing week here. ???? ~S #LifeAmongPets #PhileasRemodel #LifeAmongViews
The following day, we moved to a spot further down the road, where we received better AT&T connection (still no Verizon), and we were able to get fully level. We celebrated by cooking a big Sunday dinner of Southwestern turkey chili.
I made these planters awhile before we set out in our RV, and they originally held succulents. Over time though, this window became our "indirect light" window based on the direction that we usually park, and the succulents weren't getting enough light. . Then, @brendanbinger came up with the genius idea to put little potted ferns where the succulents once were and move the succulents to a sunnier window. I then painted the little terra cotta pots and we found some mini ferns to pot in them. We're stoked about how it turned out, and I'd say they look pretty nice all grouped together. ??? ~S . Note: From left to right, the top row is: staghorn fern, Boston fern, maidenhair fern. Bottom row: Japanese moss fern, button fern, lemon button fern. ✌? #LifeAmongPlants #PhileasRemodel
We were able to sneak in a few long walks with our dogs, which was nice. We can always count on them to make everything so much better and more enjoyable.
I mentioned previously that we had to make some RV/Cherokee repairs, and, due to Lone Pine’s remoteness, there was nowhere within an hour each direction to buy parts. We decided it would be easiest to have the parts delivered to the Lone Pine post office via a US postal service option called “general delivery.” General delivery is a service offered by USPS where anyone can have a package delivered to a nearby post office and held for pickup. This enables travelers or those who may not be able to retrieve a package immediately upon delivery to pick their packages up in a more secure manner. Most post offices offer this service, but occasionally some do not, so we called the Lone Pine post office to make sure they accepted general delivery, to which they confirmed that they do.
Thanks to the wonder of Amazon Prime, we had the parts delivered to the Lone Pine post office with two-day delivery and quickly went to retrieve them. Here is where things got hairy. The cashier at the post office made us pay $11 to pick up our packages since they were delivered via FedEx. We had never had any issues using this service before, and we were confused by the extra charges. It turns out that the post office is allowed to charge additional fees for packages delivered by other carriers, but most places waive any and all fees. We were a little annoyed that no one told us about this when we had called previously, but we now know to be more careful and ask more questions when we need to order online in the future.
With the parts in hand, Bren was able to successfully repair both the water pump in the RV and the temperature sensor in the Cherokee. Yay for a running car and running water!
While in Lone Pine, we also picked up about 40 postcards and spent our evenings filling them out to be sent to all our closest friends and family. Although we had originally planned to send postcards out from every destination, we realized how expensive and time-consuming this could quickly become, and we have since decided to send cards out monthly, instead of weekly.
After spending a few days here, we decided that Thursday would be the best day for us to leave. We went on a short hike Thursday morning since it was our last day, where I had the opportunity to try out my new Chacos (hiking sandals) for the first time. After our hike, we returned to the RV to pack everything up before hitting the road. We planned to stop at the Western Film History museum on our way out of Lone Pine since we had missed this stop during our first visit here.
Western Film Museum
Disappointed, we decided to continue on to our next destination, Ridgecrest, where we were planning to spend Easter. However, we did not even end up making it outside the city of Lone Pine, before being stopped by local traffic police, who told us that the section of highway 395 south of Lone Pine was closed to high-profile vehicles, due to strong desert winds. We were told we could wait in the adjacent parking lot until the coast was clear, but we opted to turn back to the Alabama Hills, where we planned to stay an additional night and go to the film history museum in the morning. As annoying as all the run-around through Lone Pine was, I was grateful for a second chance to visit the museum that we had already missed once and almost missed a second time.
We headed back to the Alabama Hills, where we found a campsite on the opposite side of where we had stayed previously. The site was level and had good connection, and it was a perfect place to spend the night. Since we had bought ourselves more time in the area, we opted to take a little off-road drive, something we had not been able to do and thought we had missed. Our drive took us all through the various hills, through outcroppings we had not previously seen and past enormous stacks of boulders, piled high in various places. The drive offered one specific, panoramic view of the whole region with Mt. Whitney as the backdrop, and it was one of the most perfect, gorgeous sights I have yet to see in our travels. I was glad for the forced opportunity to stay an additional night.
We FINALLY made it into the film history museum, which was filled with props and actual set pieces from the over 400 films that have been filmed in Lone Pine over the years. We were stoked that the museum was dog-friendly, and we decided to bring Max with us, who happily donned his red bandana to match the occasion. We watched a short documentary on the history of filming in the area and spent the next hour roaming the museum and reading about all the films made in the area. Max took a turn sitting in the director’s chair, and we generally enjoyed this short visit and learning about the area’s film history.