Heloooooo Boonies -> Lone Pine, CA
I awake to the sound of birds, or rather as my expert analysis deems, tweety birds (yes, I’m a rather advanced birder LOL). It’s a sweet sound that I haven’t heard in many weeks and the songs ring crystal clear through the mountain air. Stepping outside the rig I’m met with a light breeze, the barest shiver of a chill, and the first glimpses of the sun hitting the snow-topped peaks of the mountains. The air is so clean it bites your lungs and I inhale deeply to savor the feel. My eyes scan the vast view, travelling from the tiny yellow flowers in the dirt to the bulbous earthern-red rock sculptures that surround our site to the granite grey Sierra Nevada Mountains that seem to rise inconceivably sharply to the sky. It’s a soul-awaking scene and I’m filled with awe at the majesty of it all.
We are but specks compared to this grand beauty…
Those who follow my blog will already know where we are. It’s an old-time favorite spot of ours, the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine, CA. This outerworldy landscape is a mix of 150-200 million year old metamorphosed volcanic rock and 82-85 million year old biotite monzogranite that have weathered over the millenia to form potato-shaped sculptures that balance and fold in impossible formations all around the 30,000 acres of the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. The back-drop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, including Mt.Whitney (the highest point in the contiguous US at 14,505 feet (4,421 m)) makes for a stunning combo that very few can resist. In fact it’s so unique it’s become a Hollywood favorite and has served as the background to endless Western Movies, making this one of the most filmed areas in the US. When you stay here it’s easy to see why.
More interesting perhaps, to those of a boondocking persuation, is this is BLM land and open to free camping for 14-days in any pre-used spot. Thus the reason “the beast” is here.
This is the first time we’ve camped here in Spring and admittedly it’s way more crowded than we’re used to. Of course Spring Break is doing us no favors and there’s a steady stream of younger folk (some more rowdy than others) tent and car-camping all over the hills. Thankfully we snag a spot (one of the few left) and face “the beast” away from the road so we can pretend we’re alone. It totally works and we decide to settle for a while, or at least as long as the weather holds.
Our other challenge, first-world as it is, is the internet signal which we need for our livelihood in order to stay any length of time. As is usual here, the internet signal is weak and erratic. There’s zero Verizon and ATT is bouncing between absolute zip, Edge and occasional fleeting bursts of 4G. So we decide to break out our Wide Band Paddle Antenna, the first time we’ve used it since we bought it a year ago. Paul attaches it to our over-the-air rooftop TV antenna which places it above the rig and allows us to rotate it (and lock it) in any direction we chose (pretty ingenious, eh?).
We seek out the nearest tower with this nifty online cell tower locator, point the paddle as best we can in that direction, drop the super beefy coax cable through our drivers side window, attach it to our Wilson Sleek booster and do the sacred WiFi dance….voilà! Solid, usable ATT 4G signal. We’ve never needed this elaborate set-up before (typically we just use our Wilson Sleek with it’s standard-issue antenna), but we’re sure loving it now.
Our final challenge is to get our windshield clean. Spring, as lovely as it is, brings out the bugs in droves which inevitably leaves a nice spattering of decoration in the front of “the beast” everytime we drive. If we don’t take care of it right after we arrive the bugs “bake in” creating a rather crunchy concoction that is almost impossible to get off. Over the years we’ve tried a bunch of different windshield cleaning options and our easy standby, which uses~ a cup of water (i.e. super boondocking friendly) is a clothes dryer sheet and glass cleaner.
The technique is super simple -> You just wet the dryer sheet with water and it magically loosens the bugs right off. It’s an old housewife trick and makes removal sooooo much easier. Follow up with a light sponge/wipe of water and then final clean with whatever glass cleaner you prefer (we like Invisible Glass, but any brand will do). We typically use the sheet on the front cap too and finish that one off with Protect All or RejeX -> makes subsequent removal of bugs that much easier. That’s it!
So here we are settled and ready to enjoy the fruits of the boonies for as long as we please, or at least until our 14-day stay limit is up. We’ve brought friends along too, something we often do traveling this length of road (the Hwy 395 experience is so worth sharing) so expect many outings & general RV buddy shenanigans before our time is up (more on that in the next post). In the meantime just imagine us nestled amongst the rocks and enjoying our time back in the boonies. I do so love it here…SPONSORED LINK: SPONSORED LINK:
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