The road to Mammoth California (and Bishop and Lone Line and Independence)
Heading north on I-15 from San Diego, and once you mercifully make it through east LA, the Eastern Sierra mountains await.
The first goal after exiting the freeway, is Kramer Junction. That’s when I know we’re just 20 miles away from Randsburg. Honestly the stretch from up through the high desert isn’t appealing to me. The dry hillsides dotted with desert chaparral, to me, is monotonous.
My first favorite stop is Randsburg. This historic mining town, named after rands in South Africa, is where gold was discovered during the gold rush. The remnants of mining equipment are in the local park as well as along the road. The jail is the first building you see when you enter the town. After you stroll the park, the best thing to do is shop in the antique stores and grab a shake at the General Store.
Indian Wells Bottling Plant featuring Rocket Fizz Sodas and Brews
Back on 395, the next stop is Rocket Fizz Soda Shop bottling plant in Indian Wells. A stop here is fun if you want to look at the crazy drinks and do some beer tasting. The humor here is infectious. I mean who doesn’t want to try Martian Poop, or Zombie Brain Juice, Kitty Piddle or Bug Barf? You get transported back to your childhood years with the bright colors and fun names of drinks.
Back on the road, we come to the volcanic rock region. This reminds me of Volcano alley in Ecuador, but on a smaller scale. For many miles you can see volcano calderas with the tops melted away as the lava flowed out of it. Lava trails in various phases of decomposition These can be seen all up and down 395 past Mammoth.
Lemons and Jerky
A quick pass by the Lemon house, before arriving at Gus’s Fresh Jerky shop. This repurposed, dilapidated gas station is a MUST visit. It is totally covered with stickers from around the world. Started in the late 1990’s Gus makes jerky with the best cuts of meat, without preservatives. He also carries olives, dried fruit and nuts. They generously offer tasting of the jerkies.
Tonight’s stop is Lone Pine. This charming town is the put in point for people hiking Mt. Whitney. The Great Basin Desert begins here as does Owens Valley. This is the turn-off for Death Valley also. Over 400 Hollywood western movies have been filmed here. There’s a Museum of Western Film History here with 40 regular exhibits of different movie stars and films made here.
I enjoy staying in this town for a couple of days. It’s a great place to base yourself. There’s so much to do.
Part 2 of this road trip will be about Lone Pine. Please go to the next blog post.
To read the full article go to: https://issuu.com/foodwinetravelmagazine/docs/decemberfwt/94