From here we drove back to Bridgeport and down the 395 to Lundy Lake. Mainly Lundy is known for three things. First, its fall foliage. Secondly, there is an abundance of wildlife. You can easily see beaver damns in the river, bird everywhere and luckily, we saw a big white Bighorn sheep. One group we spoke with even reported seeing a Bald Eagle! Last, it has incredible fishing.
Our number one priority this morning: coffee! We headed to the town of Lee Vining. Can’t say enough great things about Mono Cup Coffee’s Cold Brew! On a road trip whim we decided to check out the Upside Down House and Old School House Museum. Regrettably, both were both closed. The Upside Down House has a great story worth checking out.
MONO LAKE TUFA STATE NATIONAL RESERVE
Mono Lake Tufa State National Reserve was our next stop. We were lucky enough to jump into a talk by Nora Livingston from the Mono Lake Committee. This was hands down our favorite part of the entire trip. If you head in this direction please take an hour and don’t miss their work on the history, education, restoration, and protection of Mono Lake. It’s fascinating!
CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP TO JUNE LAKE LOOP
We turned off of 395 onto Highway 158 at the North June Lake junction. This is a 14.6 mile scenic tour of a glacier formed canyon with lakes at the bottom. You’ll see Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake and June Lake. Reverse Creek (named after the fact that it is the only river that flows west toward its source in the Sierra) flows throughout the canyon. We stopped at June Lake Brewing and Ohana’s 395 food truck. Lots of dogs, outdoor seating, wonderful people, good food and amazing beer!
BENTON HOT SPRINGS
Regrettably, it was a quick stop in Benton. We did, however, manage one great picture of their old store.
CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP TO ANCIENT BRISTLECONE PINE FOREST
Our next stop was the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. First of all, the trees are over 4000 years old! It’s a fun drive up with steep turns, rolling hills and many curves. California had a heavy snow year and the temperature mid May was 27 degrees. We camped in Grandview, a first come/first serve site for only $5.00!
Woke up early to an amazing sunrise panorama and headed to Schulman Groves. Snow was on the road and to our left on the Sierra mountains overlooking Owen Valley. The isolation created a strange feeling of quiet in the midst of the ancient trees. There were no visitors or rangers. We wandered outside the closed visitor center. The trunks are twisted and gnarled with beautifully colored wood that grows in tiny amounts each year. Their wood is resistant to insects, disease and decay. Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between the harshness of their environment and the ability to live longer. I’d like to think there is a life lesson there.
Isn’t it beautiful?!
Next, we drove back down to Bishop for coffee. We love the Black Sheep Coffee Roasters and visit whenever we’re in town. They have espresso, burritos and unworldly banana bread that is totally worth the extra time to our drive. They also have outside seating and are totally dog friendly. Mule Days Celebration was the following weekend and a sweet woman who was dressed as a unicorn pet our dog Tucker throughout breakfast! One just doesn’t experience that every day!
MANZANAR NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE ON CALIFORNIA ROADTRIP
Finally, our last stop on the weekend road trip on California 395 was on the way home, Manzanar National Historic site. In 1942 the United States Government detained over 110,000 men, women and children to relocation centers. Manzanar is one of these sites that became home to over 10,000 Japanese people. Visiting this site emphasizes the stark reality of their cold isolated location and everyday realities.
And…our favorite Tucker picture of the trip at Twin Lakes!