Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alabama Hills & Onion Valley Road, CA

For those of you who have had the joy of visiting the Alabama Hills just west of Lone Pine, and at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, this photo will look familiar.  Here are few more.
This a close up of the area where many directors did their "over the side of the cliff" crashes with the stagecoaches and wagons.  Some of you may know that the Alabama Hills area has been the place for many movies, serial clips and TV commercials for over 70 years. 
 From Wiki: 
Alabama Hills are a "range of hills" and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley, west of Lone Pine in Inyo County, California. Though geographically considered a range of hills, geologically they are a part of the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

The Alabama Hills are a popular filming location for television and movie productions, especially Westerns set in an archetypical "rugged" environment. Since the early 1920s, 150 movies and about a dozen television shows have been filmed here, including Tom Mix films, Hopalong Cassidy films, The Gene Autry Show, and The Lone Ranger. Classics such as Gunga Din, Springfield Rifle,"The Violent Men" (1955 film), Bad Day at Black Rock' (1955), the Budd Boetticher/Randolph Scott "Ranown" westerns, How the West Was Won.  There have been many recent-day filmings here as well.
Here, several car loads of young folks climbed upon a large rock near the Movie Flat area of the Hills, in what appeared to be a painting of a King Kong image on the "skull-shaped" rock.
The above three pics shows one side of the two piles of rocks that were used to construct a bridge that was used in the filming of Gunga Din.  The mortar remnants are still visible here.   The two piles of rocks were in reality only about 40 feet apart, but the camera angles and distances and the background made the bridge "appear" to be a large span across a chasm and the backdrop of the Sierra Navada's resembled the Himalaya's.  There so many Westerns filmed here over the decades.
I got a feeling that Douglas Fairbanks Jr and Carol Lombard and many others, forgot their lines sometimes when filming here.  There are so many beautiful distractions to cause one's mind to just relax.  Well, we wanted to go up the Horseshoe-Meadows Road to the top of the southern end of the SN range, but the road was closed because of rock slides.  Darn it!  So plan B was to run up to Independence, about 15 miles north on US395, past Manzanar, to the Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery and the Onion Valley Road to the top (not really, just up about 6000 more feet from the valley) of the Sierra Nevada's.
This is a fish hatchery??  You're kidding?  Nope!
The trout here were begging us put a "nickel in the Nickelodian" :-) (sorry, couldn't resist).  Actually a quarter in the fish food vending machine near here.  Didn't have a quarter, but I promised them I would put their mugs on my blog and that a lot of folks would see them.  That seemed to pacify them....NOT!
The gift shop was closed, so we just walked around for a few minutes, downed a pack of nabs and a gatorade.  There was a nice shady little picnic grounds here and there were several locals enjoying the beautiful afternoon of mid 70's temps and not much wind, which is not the norm here in the valley.  We did encounter another snake just to the left in these photos.  Nancy saw it first as it was coming towards us.  It was a harmless Gopher snake though and he was just looking for a snack as well.  :-)
Mt Kearsarge above Independence.  After reading the events of how this peak and the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine were named, I am guessing that these two little towns had opposing loyalties during the Civil War.  Alabama Hills was named in honor of the CSS Alabama that sunk around 50 Union ships during the war.  Mt Kearsarge was named in honor of the USS Kearsarge, for it's honor in sinking the CSS Alabama.  So, make your own conclusions.
These peaks were up the Onion Valley Road.  The begins on Market Street in downtown :-) Independence and goes 13 miles to a little spot where folks can picnic and ski.  And there were skiers there when we were there, sleeping in their vehicles.  Guess they skied at night and sleep during the day???

Lots of snow here
Hmmm!  Guess I'll keep my nabs tucked away here.
Can't remember why they named it Onion Valley.  Hiking here needed to be deliberate.  It was warm though, around 50, and NO wind!  Surprising!
Nancy was a little reluctant at first to walk across the 6 inches of snow.  But she did as it was fairly firm.
Snow melts can bring about some interesting figures.
Speaking of interestin snow-melt figures.  Can you see the largemuth bass jumping up out of the water (er, snow) for a bug (er, plug)?  Sorry for play on words.
See the ski trails made by the skiers?
Way down there is the metropolis of Independence.  :-)  Well, guess we better go for now as I am getting a little "punchy" with my cold and play on these scenes with words.  It's Monday morning  5/2 and we will break camp this morning and drive to Reno up US395.  Not sure where we'll stay there, maybe a casino lot, or maybe an RV park.  We'll see.  So, till the next blog, oh, I almost forgot.  We did make over to site#51 here in Boulder Creek RV Park and looked up fellow RV bloggers Jerry & Suzy from Our Life on Wheels blog site.  Here is a photo we took as we shared some experiences of life in our RVs.
Wish we could have spent more time with Jerry & Suzy as they have been "on the road" for around 9 years and could probably tell us a pile of experiences they've had over those years.  Oh well, maybe we'll hook up with them later this week and when my cold has done it's course.  They're headed for Carson City and us to Reno, not very far apart.  So, Jerry & Suzy, if we don't see you guys up there, be safe and happy journeys.  Till the next blog, Joe & Nancy