But there was one more stop along 395 that we just couldn’t resist—a play date in Lone Pine with friends Pam and John (Oh The Places They Go!), fellow full-timers, avid hikers, and excellent trail companions. We first met up with them last winter in southern Arizona for a hike, and have been plotting to reconnect ever since. An extra added attraction in Lone Pine was getting to see Jodee and Bill (On The Road Abode) again, and meeting up with Sue and Dave (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) for the first time. Our planned one-night stand in Lone Pine quickly turned into three.
Finding Community In Our Travels
One of my biggest reservations about traveling full-time was leaving behind our community of friends in Ashland. If I could have talked them all into joining up into one big caravan, I would have. (Believe me, I tried.) Alas, none of them were ready to take to the road full-time. But we were, and despite my worries about being lonely on the road, we embarked on our journey. Little did I realize just how rich this gypsy life would turn out to be.
As we’ve traveled full-time over the past two-and-a-half years, we’ve found friendly, interesting, fun-loving, adventurous, and generous people along the way. We’ve developed friendships with people who happened to be our next-door neighbors for a night or two, striking up conversations that led to happy hour or a hike, and then to planned meet-ups on the opposite side of the country in our circuitous journeys. We’ve established enduring friendships on Lopez Island, where we’ve camp hosted for five summers. And much to our delight, we’ve made a number of friends through our blog.
Our community of friends now extends across the country, and my fears about being lonely in our journey have been assuaged. If anything, our concerns now are more about arranging our travels so that we can join up with the many good friends we’ve made on the road.
Adventures In Lone Pine
And so we found ourselves in Lone Pine, meeting up for a fun day of hiking with Pam and John—first along a four-mile downhill section of the steep Mt. Whitney trail (starting at the portal and heading down), followed by a late afternoon adventure into the Alabama Hills in search of the Whitney Portal Arch. We had a blast!
The Alabama Hills: A Huge Rock Playground
The Alabama Hills are a playground of boulders and arches, with winding paths that lead to beautiful panoramas, rock scrambling, and treasure hunts in search of hidden arches and movie sites. Hollywood has been using this intriguing and scenic landscape for movies since the 1920s, with films from Gunga Din to Star Trek shot here.
In our couple of days in Lone Pine, Eric and I hiked and explored from daybreak to sunset. We visited the interesting little Lone Pine Film History Museum (where Eric reconnected with his childhood hero, Hopalong Cassidy), and enjoyed a sunset campfire and happy hour with the sociable and fun-loving Lone Pine gang at our rustic and beautiful site at Tuttle Creek BLM campground, right next door to the Alabama Hills. It was a delightful diversion in our cross-country journey. Our only regret was that we needed to move on far too soon.
About The Campground
Tuttle Creek is one of the most beautiful campgrounds we’ve stayed in. The amenities include spacious campsites, gorgeous vistas of spectacular mountain peaks (including Mt. Whitney, the tallest in the lower 48), a terrific location at the doorstep of the Alabama Hills, dark night skies, peace and quiet, sweetly scented sagebrush, and good Verizon coverage. All this, for a mere $2.50 per night ($5.00 for those not yet eligible for the Senior Pass).
The downsides: no hookups, and most sites require leveling skills. Although there is supposed to be water available until the end of October, the hydrants were padlocked when we arrived. Which is a good reminder to always arrive with full water tanks! It’s also a good idea to arrive fully stocked with provisions—the only grocery store in Lone Pine is wretched.
So lovely to see so many pics of one of my favorite spots. How great that you got to meet up with so many fellow bloggers too!
It’s one of our favorite spots, too, Nina — and made all the better by meeting up with fellow travelers/bloggers!
What fun! So many arches. I had no idea the Alabama Hills were so lovely, had such fine hiking, and such great campsites. I just don’t know much at all about California. I can see why it would be hard to leave such terrific company. LOL at Eric’s possible new profession. Maybe he’ll demonstrate some of the stunts for us. Obviously you must already be in Florida. Where is the secret code for when you were on your play date? You must have a much better memory than I if you can remember without dating the blog post.
We were there in late October, Sherry. It was a perfect time, and the company was superb! We just arrived in Florida a few days ago, and will see you soon in the Keys!
Oh, Laurel, I am so glad you decided to stop and spend a couple days:) We are so thankful that you were able to do this with your schedule. It was so much fun getting to hike and do a little arch searching together. How nice that we got the whole gang together for a Happy Hour fire:) Next time we need to spend more time together!! Our visits are too short.
Have a wonderful time in Florida with your parents and touring around:)
Thanks, Pam! We had such a great time with you and John — we’re already plotting to see if we can meet up with you in the spring! We’ll go out of our way to meet up with you guys anytime. :-)
Think Moab for April!! Steve and MonaLiza will be staying in Portal RV Resort for three weeks. We’ll be there all month. We would have a blast hiking since we all hike similar type trails:)
Pam, we would LOVE to join up with you guys! It all depends on when we leave Florida…
395 in the fall is amazing, isn’t it?! And to be able to share it with friends is perfection! We too loved Tuttle Creek CG.
Lisa, 395 is one of our favorite places for fall hiking and colors. It was so much fun to share it with friends — would be great to meet up with you and Hans there sometime!
So glad you stayed the extra time so we could see you two again! That campground really is beautiful, and your site with the rushing creek in the background was perfect. Love the pics of Eric in the arches – and that last one of the mountains is Wow :-))))
Thanks, Jodee — we had fun in the playground of arches! And it was great meeting up with you and Bill twice along 395 — let’s do it again soon! :-)
We are so glad that you “had” to take it a bit slower traveling down 395! It was delightful to meet you both, see your sweet little home and chat awhile around the campfire. I look forward to crossing paths again in the future.
Sue, we enjoyed so much meeting you and Dave! We’re looking forward to seeing more of you in our travels — would love to connect with you for a birding adventure!
Wonder whatever happened to Eric’s Hopalong Cassidy outfit. Did find a picture of him hanging in our wall collage with him wearing the outfit.
Penny, I love that photo of Eric. Wouldn’t surprise me if he still has that cowboy outfit. :-)
Can’t think of a more perfect place to meet up with fellow bloggers than the Alabama Hills.
LuAnn, I agree! Although Anza Borrego is good place, too, since it’s where we first met you! :-)
Looks like a perfect time to hike & enjoy that area! Wonderful photos – keep sharing – we look forward to hearing about your time in Florida.