Blue skies north, south, east and west. I woke up ready to go. I was packing up the camper before coffee was started. Hours later we were still in Bishop finishing up the chores. How I despise the drudgery of the mundane. It is a good thing my husband is here to balance out my nature.
It didn’t matter. We didn’t make over the Sierras. Every route across was closed, pushing us north and east. We crossed into Nevada twice.
The first time skimming the desert. Watching for promised bulls, donkeys and wild horses. Only seeing donkeys. The second, giving up on the day, and setting up camp next to the burbling of Desert Creek, between snow frosted peaks and sage plains.
It looks like we will be driving up to Reno then taking the big road across. I-80, the one one that sweeps right past the historic cannibal marked passage through the Sierras, Donner Pass. How exciting. There will be a window of time we can cross before the next spring snow storm dumps.
It’s one of those days that can’t be the same day from start to finish. Somehow I blinked and missed the beginning of a new day. We achieved that early start. Saw some of the Mule Deer on their spring migration on our way out (there was warning signage along the roads about this migration).
Our lucky break of the day was finding that Route 88 was open and we could cut out driving north to Reno. And a spectacular drive it was. Coniferous forests and snowy peaks. The weather held.
Kurt picked out a camping location alongside a river. And it could’ve been great. (It wasn’t great). It was the place everyone came to beat on their 4×4’s and burn couches. Kurt looked for another place, a solid 98 miles further.
And…. it was closed for the season. That’s when Kurt chose to drive us into the Mendocino National Forest. I swore I said it was toast earlier in the day. I thought maybe he knew something I didn’t.
It was burned out.
We drove in just at dusk. It was drizzling. An atmospheric fog was rising from the ground. The air was charged with an essence of the underworld. There were guardrails tormented by the fires. Cracks in the land burned clean of vegetation where it looked ready to give.
I wanted to stay even shorter here than the last place. Sleep and go. No coffee or breakfast in the morning, just go.
This landscape was unsettling and I didn’t trust it. Kurt said we’ve done sketchier things. I don’t know about that.
Another long day. We got out of the burned Mendocino forest and toodled through winding roads roads around the green hills of cow county. I swear the cows here smile at you. New calf’s wagging their tails and playing along the fence lines. Half the horses were lounging on their sides in the emerald grasses.
Ups and downs. All day. Up into winter snow mountains tops, down into spring valleys until we finally hit the coastal redwoods. Then back up again to camp for the night.