I was awestruck by the Owens Valley the first time I saw it flying on an Alpha Strike of 40 or so airplanes aiming for China Lake. We took off laden with a large number of 500 pound packages slung under our ships leaving from NAS Fallon, Nevada. Cruising down the Valley with the peaks on either side of our wing tips was breathtaking. Mount Whitney stood tall and yet was lost among the endless peaks.
Years later, I was flying sailplane contests out of Douglas County Airport in Minden, Nevada over the same terrain. Dependent on thermals, my perspective of the Whites and the Sierra Nevada’s varied and was every bit as awesome as ever.
Over the past year and a half, Linda and I have traveled to the Four Corners region of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona four times. Our route to get there and back changed with each trip adding National Parks and Monuments to our itinerary as we ambled along. Always we traversed Nevada in some manner when starting. Several times we ended our trip by visiting Robin, Noah, Colin, and Grace in Santa Ana, California. Last October, we left Santa Ana by just following the least amount of traffic going out of the Los Angeles. We aimed for Victorville to catch US Highway 395. The mountains had a slight dusting of snow then.
The two weeks before Christmas, we began our adventure going to visit the Tittles in Bremerton, Washington; then returned to Klamath Falls to wash clothes and pick up additional presents before leaving for Santa Ana, California. In essence, we drove the West Coast. Again, we decided to take our time to return home via the eastern slope of the mountains. There were many reminders of cinematic history along the way Most Silent Westerns were filmed on this road. Then the talkies followed suit.
As we approached Bishop, California we ran into a solid cloud of snow. We thought the better part of traveling safely would be to overnight in that town. It was December 28 both Noah’s birthday and our 50th Anniversary.
We had a lovely time at the Creek Side Motel in Bishop. They served homemade soup at 5 PM everyday. The desk clerk advised us to be there early as they always ran out quickly. We did and they did and it was a nice way to celebrate an intimate day. Light dinners are most enjoyable for folks on their 50th…remember you do have to be older and wiser. We went to sleep while the snow fell.
Waking up the next morning we rewarded with this:
The Sierra Nevada Mountains
There are sailplane racing stories attached to these images…but they are for another time.