Susanville to Mono Lake, CA ~ Highway 395

November 19 – 22, 2017

After spending the night at the Susanville Walmart, I picked up Highway 395 south, which travels down the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and through the Owens Valley. The Diamond Mountains were on my right (east) in the Plumas National Forest and the Virginia Mountains on my left (west) in the State of Nevada.

Before I knew it I was seeing signs for Reno, NV. I truly dislike cities, and especially driving in or through them. I usually just pick a lane and stay in it, letting everyone else skip around me with crazy spurts and passes, sways, erratic lane changing and stop and go braking. I’m always considerate of the speed limit and stay with the flow, but I imagine I’m one of those drivers that the locals hate. If I move to the far right lane it seems it always comes to an end, and then I can’t get back over again because people won’t let me back in. As a driver who’s not used to city driving, I figure this is the safest way for me to drive for everyone’s sake.

I know, I know, Reno is a teensy, weensy little bitty city to most Americans, but to me, it’s a metropolis of huge scary proportions. Give me a dirt road with no traffic on it in the middle of nowhere, and I’m far more at ease.

As I approached Carson City I stuck with 395 and even took Old Hwy 395 for a short spell. Have I mentioned that I hate major highways as well, haha? I ended up spending the night on Flowery Ridge, east of Carson City up Road 342. It wasn’t a flowery hill though, it was a trashy hill. I went for a walk and down in one of the gorges someone had not only disposed of a year’s worth of garbage but also a whole motorhome! It’s always like this on BLM lands near cities. So many humans have no respect for their home; planet earth. If you’d like to camp (or avoid) this spot, here are the coordinates – Latitude: 39.24981, Longitude: -119.63139. There were some other spots closer to Hwy 50 and 342, but I sailed right by them.

While in the Carson City area I was aware that somewhere to my east was Lake Tahoe. I’d considered going there but decided to save it for another trip. I did drive up some roads into the mountains SE of Gardnerville looking for a place to camp for the night. I knew that most of the mountain passes were closed, but in this case, there were no signs saying the road was closed until I was at the closure. Turn around, go back. Sigh! Down, down, down, past Topaz Lake, and through a long, scenic canyon that passed between Little Antelope Wildlife Area and West Walker River Wildlife Area. I pulled into Chris Flat campground in the Humbolt-Toiyabe National Forest, and when I saw it was free for the winter, decided to stay even though it was close to the highway. Latitude: 38.39268, Longitude: -119.45222

I made a very short video of the Dance of the Morning Mist and you can view it on my YouTube Channel.

It was now the morning of the 21st, and I was feeling the need to rest up. A few miles south of Chris Flat campground was Hwy 108 heading east into the mountains. I decided to drive up it, with hopes of finding a quiet spot for the day and night, somewhere between Hwy 395 and where the road closed further east, and I got lucky. I found some kind of wildlife area, and since there were no signs stating no camping, I pulled into the parking lot and relaxed for the day. I even had a good Verizon 3G signal. Latitude: 38.34938, Longitude: -119.53325. I also drove up Hwy 108 to its closure. It was a very steep and windy road indeed.

When I continue on the morning of the 22nd there was a long hold up of traffic, and I learned that there had been an accident along the stretch of highway before Bridgeport. While waiting for the traffic to move on, I took some pictures of the mountains to my right (east). It was a lovely spot to be stuck, but I didn’t forget about the folks in the accident. It was a sweet but sad moment. (I didn’t know whether they were injured, but it didn’t look good as I drove past the wrecked vehicles).

Then suddenly before me was a viewpoint. I was near Conway Summit, at 8,138 feet, and before me lay Mono Lake and the Pumice Valley.

I spent the next two days exploring Mono Lake and Panum Crater, but I’m going to save those images for my next blog post.

I hope you are enjoying these travels and my images.

In the next post I share some stunning images of Mono Lake.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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