Saturday, July 19, 2008

South Inyo County 7.19.08

We toured the area today, having a nice, mellow but fun & informative time.

It was hot early this morning - already in the upper 80's by 8am so we had a quick breakfast and got outta there! Our 1st stop was at the Interagency Visitors Center for some info on Death Valley. We met a great USFS Ranger who told us all about the area and things we should do & see today. Our 2nd stop was at the Lone Pine Film History Museum. It turns out we're camping just beyond a place called the 'Alabama Hills', crazy rock formations that are a favorite location for television & movie companies.

Over 300 films & numerous commercials have been shot on location here. The terrain is very weird - odd granite formations jutting & crumbling from the earth and with the Eastern Sierra mountains in the background. The Lone Ranger, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Zorro, Gunsmoke, the Zane Grey Movies and more recent movies - Gladiator, Maverick, & Ironman. Now of course, these are the only films I had heard of but there were more that maybe you recognize....Nevada Smith, An Eye for an Eye, Waterhole No. 3, Oil for the Lamps of China, I Died a Thousand Times, The Blazing Sun, Pack Train, Sinister Journey, etc. Have you seen any of these?

There were also hundreds of Cowboy & Cowgirl actors filmed here...John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Roy Rogers, Tim Holt, Tex Ritter, Gene Autry, Steve McQueen, Fatty Arbuckle, & William Boyd just to name a few.

I'll admit that the majority of films were well beyond my years, but I'll tell you, the museum was fabulous. It still gave me a nostalgic feeling looking over the artifacts, pictures, movie posters, & hearing the songs of the singing cowboys. Most of the items were from the 1920's - 1960's and were exquisitely maintained.

The 3rd stop on our trip was to another Visitors Center in the little town of Independence. There, they had a fantastic display of old pictures and artifacts from the Japanese War Relocation Camp, Manzanar. Let's just say, I was stunned. I have only read the info from the Guide Books about Manzanar and had no clue about what I was going to see! I was just amazed. I can't imagine this same thing happening today. I know times were different and we had just been attacked as a country...but am amazed that we sent "all persons of Japanese ancestry" on the West Coast to these concentration camps. Given just hours or days to prepare to leave and only being able to bring with them what they could carry - these people lost homes, businesses, & possessions. Amazing.

This new information made us go & visit the actual site of Manzanar. We toured the visitor center which was fabulous. It was probably the best visitor center we have seen yet. Lots of information, laid out well, with lots of interactive exhibits. Incredible.

We took off from there & went up to the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States at 14,497. Now we did not climb it...just drove to the portal at 8,365. We were told there was a great restaurant there but it turned out to be a shack shop that only sold one thing...hamburgers. We also took off looking for the waterfall that was in the area. We walked down a path where the water was flowing & looked for this so called waterfall. We found a small one about 5 feet and figured that was it

but as we walked back we just missed it by a couple feet! haha. It was a beautiful waterfall & we sat & watched it for what seemed like hours.

It was mesmerizing and such a beautiful day and since we were at 8K feet...was nice & cool from the 105 degrees down the hill.

It was early evening when we headed back down the hill and since the laptop was still not working...we decided to go into town again for some more work on the fix. The Internet Cafe was open & luckily I found that Microsoft had sent down a patch that conflicted with my Zone Alarm firewall and shut down the Internet. Frickin Microsoft!!

I had lots of updates to post & spend most of the evening until we were thrown out of the place working on the internet. Whew! Was I relieved to get it fixed!

Tomorrow we're headed to Vegas...yeah baby! haha...


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