Friday, May 3, 2013

Back in Mammoth Lakes...

May 2 - 6, 2013 (5 days) Tahoe Valley Campground, South Lake Tahoe, CA
No, we are not physically back in Mammoth Lakes, but there are a few items I didn't cover.
Tailwaggers pet supply store, Mammoth Lakes, CA
Our rating 4 out of 5
This pet supply store is expensive, but so are most places in this ski town.
Nice selection of good quality dry and canned food.
Lots of leashes & collars. We purchased a no pull harness at $29.00 which is about $4.00 more than many other places, but we've been looking for this harness for 4 months. It is not carried in the "big box" pet supply stores. So we paid the price.
Boxed treats as well as homemade treats. I really hate the pet supply stores that call themselves a dog "bakery" and their treats on display are definitely mass produced to look like human bakery items. Tailwaggers, were REALLY home made.
Lots of fun pet related kitschy things.
She even has a dog wash booth. I believe it was $15.00 for a 1/2 hour use. You wash your own dog, but they supply a raised bathtub, shampoo, towels, etc. I feel the price is high, but the convenience is nice.

Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory, Mammoth Lakes, CA
Our rating 3 out of 5
The displays were beautiful! You walk into the store and are bombarded with giant candy covered apples. They are great to look at, but I can't see trying to eat one unless we cut it up and serve in pieces.
This store was a lot of eye candy, but the actual candy was just average.
Malt balls: good, but nothing special
Truffles: What a disappointment. We purchased 4. I LOVE chocolate. I only ate 2. It's difficult to explain why they weren't good. The hard shell was a nice creamy chocolate, but the soft center was just a heavy glob. (The truffles at Schatz's Bakery are MUCH better)
Chocolate covered strawberry: This was the redeeming item of the store. Huge ripe, super sweet strawberries dipped in a good milk chocolate.
I would only return for their strawberries and maybe a candy apple as a hostess gift.

Blue Beacon Truck Washes (& RV's), Kingman, AZ
Our rating 4.5 out of 5
We have become lax in our RV washing. It has been quite discouraging while spending the Winter in the desert. Why bother, when the wind will just toss around all the dirt and sand and dust and settle it on our RV again. Since we were heading towards "greener pastures", we took advantage of a quick and inexpensive RV wash right next to Blake's Ranch RV park we stayed at for a couple of days.
There was no wait and we were pointed into the large building. About 6 guys started working on our 5th wheel RV & truck. Devin had a blast watching from inside the truck, the water and suds slide down the windows.
Only took about 10 minutes and an adequate job for the price. The truck looked great! The RV looked better than before. This is just a quick wash, scrub, rinse. There is no detailing or removing the black marks, etc.
They actually talked us out of the spray on wax because we had Rainx on some of our surfaces already. But for $41.00 total, I feel it was well worth it. Much better than us having to climb a ladder and 3 hours or more time to clean it ourselves.
Would have received a perfect score, if they scrubbed the roof. The workers are not allowed to have their feet leave the ground, so all washing is done with long handled brushes, etc.
Since it is so easy to find caches in the desert, Scott has been having a blast finding multiple caches in one day. I've lost interest in it, but most times I tag along, just to get some exercise for me and the dogs and to view the scenery.
Here's where a few of the caches led us to.
1. McGee Mtn. Rope Tow, Mammoth Lakes, AZ
We would have just passed this on the road if not for a cache nearby. McGee Mtn. was originally used as a ski slope. This rope tow is what was used to get the skiers up the mountain.

2. House for Sale: Sometimes I wish we were a little more chance takers. The next cache brought us to this house for sale.
Yep, it's a definite "fixer upper" or maybe more of a demolition! But there are advantages. Even though the windows and roof a worthless, the structure is brick and solid. After living in a 5th wheel, we don't need much in a house anymore.
But look at the view from the back porch (that I imagine).
The photo does not do this huge mountain justice. You can see that it is very high because of the snow still on the peaks.
The house includes 58 acres!!!! We certainly wouldn't have to be concerned of disturbing the neighbors.
But alas, the reason we were able to retire at 55 and live this lifestyle, is because we are careful with our money.
3. McGee Lake:
Right next to our campground is a paved road that turns into a dirt road up McGee Mtn. There is a lake up there somewhere. But when we got to the parking lot, we were told by SAR (Search & Rescue), who were out practicing,  that it was a 4 mile hike. It was 4pm already, so decided not to bother.

But along the road, Scott did stop for another geocache.
Can you see Scott in the center of the photo?
Along this road is a Nat'l Forest boondocking campground. Great spot at this time of year if you want to be alone.
Can you see the 5th wheel has the campground all to themselves.?
4. Convict Lake:
What a great little gem this area is. We were drawn to this lake because of it's name, which was named for escaped convicts who shot it out with a sheriff's posse here in the nineteenth century, and also because if was just a couple miles off Hwy. 395. Oh, and of course, Scott wanted to find a couple of geocaches.
I wasn't feeling very well, so I planned to just walk around a little. We started on the path around the lake, and then walked a little further until Scott started making the climb up the side for a geocache. I decided to keep walking around the lake. I'd probably feel better after the 3 mile rim walk. What a nice hike around the lake. I wish our dogs could be trusted loose. They would have had a blast. The hike is mostly easy with some upgrades to get your heart pumping and also at 7800 feet above sea level, really got me inhaling deeply for more air. 

Great fishing here. From what I read, this lake is stocked weekly!
Beautiful, beautiful lake with the snow capped mountains surrounding it.
I wish we stopped here earlier. They rented little motor boats and pontoon boats. That would have been fun.

Overall a great hike and a definite place to stop if in the area. 
For those of you who don't RV or just want to have a get away weekend, there is a Resort next to Convict Lake. It looks pretty nice, with a hotel and rental cabins. A lot of weddings are held here.
5. Bodie, $7.00 per person, dog friendly
Tess, the RV park manager suggested we visit the ghost town, Bodie. I'm so glad we did. Be forewarned. To get here you must travel a VERY BUMPY, dirt road. I was definitely car sick. Beautiful views on the way.

This is a must see destination. We by passed Tombstone in Tuscon, AZ because we felt it was too touristy. Bodie is not touristy. This town is basically just as it was when they deserted around 1930. Very, very cool! It is now taken care of by the Calif. Parks System.
Bodie was a mining town. Population went from 20 to 10,000 within a year's time. Can you say "GOLD RUSH"? Yep, there's gold in them there hills.
It costs $7.00 per person, and a self guided tour book for $2.00. The tour book is well worth the price. The tour book describes all the structures and where they are located. 
I found it fascinating to see the furniture, bedding, curtains, supplies, all just left in place. Bodie is not being restored, but is what they call in "arrested decay". Which means the structures will be maintained, but only to the extent that they will not be allowed to fall over or otherwise deteriorate in a major way. So what you see is the way it was when they left.
I was completely fascinated seeing the inside of these structures.
Telephone central

General store
Funeral parlor (caskets)

Some things never change.
Planters peanuts and Spam

Toll roads even back then!

Post office. Same general design.
 Click HERE for some great shots of the outside and around town. And HERE for some video.

May 7, 2013 (overnight) - Kelly's Family Kamground, Upper Lake, CA
May 8 - 19, 2013 (12 days) - Azalea Glen RV Park, Trinidad, CA
Port Orland, OR & Crater Lake, OR
June 14 -23, 2013 Armitage County Park, Eugene, OR

OR, ID, WA, MT, ND, SD, WY, then south for the Winter of 2013/214

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