Ramblings of a Techno-Viking

Wagon Wheel OHV Staging Area

Wagon Wheel OHV Staging Area is one of three in the BLM Spangler Hills OHV Area, South-East of Ridgecrest. Compared to the other OHV areas I have stayed at, this one has interesting rock formations and the plants seem to be in better shape. There are a couple of vault toilets, one of which was locked closed when I was there. Verizon signal is weak, but I got good internet speed with my amplified antenna. TV reception (of LA stations) is good on some channels, poor on others. The wind was blowing quite strong, but that was true all through Southern California when I was there.

Posted Tuesday 09 April 2013 01:11 UTC
Last edited Tuesday 09 April 2013 01:11 UTC

China Lake Museum

The museum is on the China Lake Naval Air Station, near Ridgecrest, California. Getting a pass to visit the museum took about 20 minutes, requiring picture ID, vehicle registration and insurance. The base was built during World War II, to develop secret projects far from prying eyes. The museum concentrates on the rockets and missiles developed here, as well as the history of the base itself. One entire room is devoted to the sidewinder missile and its variants. $5 suggested donation. Outside are displays of Naval Aircraft, not all near the museum itself. Other that the workers in the gift shop, I had the entire museum to myself on a Tuesday afternoon.

Posted Thursday 11 April 2013 23:34 UTC
Last edited Thursday 11 April 2013 23:34 UTC

Bertrand RV Park

Bertrand RV Park is a few miles west of Ridgecrest on California 178 / Business US 395. It's nothing fancy, but it is relitivly cheap at $20 per night FHU including cable. (Good Sam's/FMCA discount available, as well as weekly/monthly rates and mobile home sites.) I used the stop for the needed dump and fill, did laundry, and did some baking without having to run my generator. When I was there I was the only one in the four sites that seem to be allocated for overnight customers, but the majority of long term sites were full. Verizon signal was ok but not great, I had to run the cable directly to my TV to get most stations.

Posted Saturday 13 April 2013 00:35 UTC
Last edited Saturday 13 April 2013 00:35 UTC

Fossil Falls

Fossil Falls is a former waterfall that was formed when a lava flow dammed a river. The water wore interesting patterns in the volcanic basalt. The trail to the falls is 1/3 mile from the day use parking, or 1/2 mile from the campground. At the falls you can climb the rock formations.

The campground is 11 sites, about half not recommended for RVs. Vault toilet, picnic tables, and fire pits are what you get for the $6/night fee. (Pay the iron ranger.) Verizon signal is good, no TV. Trucks from the nearby gravel mine start making noise early. (The wide road goes to the mine.)

Posted Sunday 14 April 2013 01:18 UTC
Last edited Sunday 14 April 2013 01:18 UTC

Alabama Hills

West of the town of Lone Pine are some hills that have been popular with movie-makers for almost 100 years. There is a pull-out on Whitney Portal Road with a map of many of the sites, more than the on-line brochure I found. There are many interesting rock formations, and a few trees in the washes. Along Movie Road there are many places to camp. Poor Verizon signal, with my antenna and amp I was getting less that dial-up speed. No TV signals detected. A BLM ranger stopped and warned me that his volunteer group would be using the pullout I camped in for parking.

Posted Monday 15 April 2013 19:55 UTC
Last edited Monday 15 April 2013 19:55 UTC

Laws Railroad Museum

For about almost 80 years there was a narrow gauge railroad running near Bishop, California. After it was shut down in 1960, the buildings, property, and one engine and some rolling stock was donated to Inyo County and the city of Bishop. This has been developed into a museum, with many other buildings added. (Some moved from elsewhere, some built with recycled material, and some movie sets.) There are many displays that are not related to the railroad including mining, farm equipment and local history. The museum is open every day, with a $5 suggested donation. On summer holiday weekends there are train rides on the self-propelled death-valley railroad car. The Laws station building is on the historic register.

Posted Thursday 18 April 2013 00:52 UTC
Last edited Saturday 26 October 2013 19:14 UTC

Laws BLM

With some cooler weather predicted, I decided to hang around the Bishop area before heading further north and higher altitude. Looking at my BLM map, I noticed some BLM land past the Laws-RR Museum on the same road, which then goes into the Inyo National Forest. (The forest also allows dispersed camping, with different rules than BLM.) The border of the BLM land is not marked, and there are a forest service signs but no actual border marker near where I spent over a week. A small stream flows by Silver Canyon Road (which fords the stream at least once) in the national forest, and veers north near the border between BLM and the national forest. The stream is difficult to see through the vegetation and trees that grows near and in it, but it can be heard. While the flow was good in mid-april, it would not surprise me if the stream drys up in the fall. The BLM land has some unmarked dirt roads, one OHV map I have designates one as a long through route. A stone-walled shed is on the far side of the stream from where I camped, the wooden roof, floor and internal baffle wall are still present but with gaps and broken boards. The baffle wall makes me suspect this may have been used for storing explosives. Verizon signal is good, a few TV stations (including CBS but no other network) can be received. There is an OHV area directly east of Bishop that may be another place to look for camping.

Posted Tuesday 23 April 2013 23:56 UTC
Last edited Wednesday 24 April 2013 00:11 UTC

Crowley Lake Campground

Crowley Lake Campground (BLM) is about two miles from the Lake, which is Los Angeles DWP. (LADWP owns lots of land and water rights in the Owens Valley and Mono Lake area -- before they lost some court cases they were close to making both Owens and Mono Lakes dry lakes by taking the water before it got to them.) This campground was refurbished in 2012, and each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and a "lantern holder" which the only use I saw of was holding plastic bags. Several of the sites are pull-though. There are vault toilets, trash dumpsters, and potable water spigots that you need to park in the road to fill your RV tank at. It is $5/night, monthly and summer-season LTVA passes (good at several campgrounds) are available. (Different rules than the winter LTVAs near the Colorado River.) There is a dump station with non-potable water, $5 whether or not you stay there. The site I chose was not very level, and my leveling jacks sunk into the soft ground so I was not level. (If I was staying more than one night I would have used plywood to spread the load.) It is at about 7000 feet altitude, so cooler than Bishop.

Posted Friday 26 April 2013 22:41 UTC
Last edited Friday 26 April 2013 22:41 UTC