I went down to check on my mom in Long Beach and take care of a friend who had total knee replacement, so I returned by way of 395. It’s a pretty bleak landscape until you get to Lone Pine and there I found a campsite at Diaz Lake. Not the most scenic campground in the world but an oasis of water in the middle of the desert. But on July 4th at 11:00 a.m. you can’t be choosy. Unfortunately the sites are right on top of each other and I am hearing more foul language from the Marines next-door than I care to. Makes me miss being able to go farther a field with all the comforts of home in my camper. I did pack up the Subaru but with the bare minimum. Fortunately, I tossed in a tent at the last minute and so I set up the tent because I think it’s going to be a rather warm evening.
I went to Manzanar war relocation center. They have built some tarpaper barricks to represent what was once there. I kind of miss the ruins of 20 years ago. But the explanations and displays were very well done and I was humbled to see many Asians touring the site. Unfortunately very few Anglos. It was the perfect thing to do on the Fourth of July, contemplating freedom and its fragility.
I drove up to Big Pine where the world-famous Coppertop barbecue is. I waited in a very long line to get tri-tip meat. I can snack on that for quite a while.
Then I headed back to Diaz Lake, but I pulled over and did a little watercolor painting to kill time. Diaz Lake was certainly not quiet, between the fireworks, the Marines next door and the very loud amplified Mariachi music. But I still enjoyed being able to camp. I decided to set up the tent without the rain fly because I didn’t think sleeping in the car was such a good idea, given the campground. It was nice to see the fireworks overhead without having to get up and go out.
The next day was pretty much drive straight home with two stops to paint. I stopped for lunch at my favorite little lake near Tuolumne Meadows. I always have it to myself.
I bought this little backpacking chair at Walmart for $20. It is easy to set up, holds up to 250 pounds, and stows in little space. It isn’t super comfortable, but I don’t hang around in a chair much. The other chair I used was cumbersome to store in the Subaru. Actually, pulling out the ice chest to use as a stool was more comfortable.
There was something very restorative about seeing my mountains again. I kind of wish I had slept in the Subaru, but I was anxious to get home after being away so much.