My 2017 Early-Spring Road Trip: San Diego – Sacramento via I-395

MAVERICK is ingenuous having the quality of being free, noble, honest, and open while a bit feral, wild, dangerous, and unfettered by cultural norms.; he is authentic masculinity; not branded (owned by no one); free roaming (a nomadic or free-spirited person).  By social norms, Jesus of Nazareth was a bit of a MAVERICK.

While I have a little business to attend to in Sacramento dealing with a contractor on my Ranch property, I’m not due for the appointment until Monday, March 13th at 12:30 in the afternoon.

So, I’m leaving San Diego the evening of Thursday, March 9th to start this road trip driving out of San Diego / Riverside / San Bernardino counties in the darkness at 9pm.

I parked in the very early morning hours at a highway rest stop so that I could wake up to the high-desert sunrise seen at Coso Junction (formerly Coso) is an unincorporated community in Inyo County, California.[1] It is located in Rose Valley, 4.8 km (3 mi) south of Dunmovin and 11.2 km (7 mi) west of Sugarloaf Mountain, at an elevation of 3386 feet (1032 m).

The I-395 road traveling north from Coso Junction let me see some beautiful Mohave / Death Valley landscape while I was looking for breakfast, which I found at a little restaurant that was open at 7am, The Grill, in Lone Pine, CA.


Breakfast at THE GRILL – Breakfast Lunch Dinner found well prepared in Lone Pine, CA. The waitress, Ms. Jill, a fine middle-aged married woman with a pretty pony tail and lots of spunk, introduced me to a philosophical religious book writer, Brad Karelius, who was visiting Lone Pine again for a weekend of spiritual rejuvenation.

Episcopal Father Brad Karelius, Christian teacher and The Spirit in the Desert: Pilgrimages to Sacred Sites in the Owens Valley

I invited him to join me for breakfast to discuss Archaeology and  religion among other things.  Brad likes to invite folks to join him in the desert.  His signed book “The Spirit in the Deseart” he gave to me saying “For Cliff: We are pilgrams together.”  He believes that when people experience God and the Spirit in a particular physical location, they can visit that place again later in their hearts.  People can reconnect with the Presence that brings peace and thanksgiving (2009 The Spirit in the Desert, p.2)

I played my Archaeology joke on Jill and everyone had a fine laugh.

Know why a woman wants an Archaeologist for a boy-friend?  The older you get.. the more interested he is in you!

Friday morning, March 10, 2017:
Roaming in the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, kept in care by the Bureau of Land Management. Drove more than three (3) miles of desert-wash sand and dirt roads in search of the perfect trail to hike. Took the Movie Road out to the Lone Ranger Canyon movie shoot location to find the hike that gave me a desert spring flower bloom.

It would be easy to get disoriented and lost within the many miles of off-road jeep trails if not for having a compass in the truck and good experience at reading topographic maps.

A young man was remote-controlling a very fast drone flying machine that would track him (in his Toyota FourRunner).

Friday afternoon, March 10, 2017
Manzanar National Historic Site near Lone Pine, CA

ONE CAMP with 10,000 LIVES
ONE CAMP with 10,000 STORIES

In Spring 1942, the US Army turned the abandoned townsite of Manzanar, California, into a camp that would confine over 10,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants.  For decades before World War II, politicians, newspapers, and labor leaders fueled anti-Asian sentiment in the western United States.  Laws prevented immigrants from becoming citizens or owning land.  Immigrants’ children were born US citizens, yet they too faced predudice.  Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor intensified hostilities toward people of Japanese ancestry.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing the military to remove “any and all persons” from the West Coast.  Under the direction of Lt. General John L. DeWitt, the Army applied the order to everyone of Japanese ancestry, including over 70,000 US citizens.  They were from cities and farms, young and old, rich and poor.  They had only days or weeks to prepare.  Businesses closed, classrooms emptied, families and friends separated.  Ultimately, the government deprived over 120,000 people of their freedom.  Half were children and  young adults.  Ten thousand were incarcerated at Manzanar.  From one camp came 10,000 stories.


Friday evening, March 10, 2017 @ 8:08pm
Having a chicken katsu dinner at local japaneese restaurant just before sitting in on a movie at the Bishop Twin Theater to watch “Logan”.

After the movie, I’ll drive north from Bishop, CA to Lee Vining, CA and spend the night in the truck.  And, this is what I woke up to, after having spent the previous day in the high desert:

Saturday morning, March 11, 2017 @ 9:00am
A drive from Lee Vining, CA to Walker, CA looking for a place to get breakfast.

Saturday morning, March 11, 2017 @ 10:00am
Hot drink and blueberry muffin at Sweetwater Coffee, Walker, CA.
A good time meeting local people over coffee and conversation.

Saturday afternoon, March 11, 2017 @ 1:00pm
Truckee, Lake Tahoe, Portola CA.

Heading for Truckee, Donor Lake and Portola, CA:

Passing through Truckee, CA to arrive at Donner Lake, CA (Bob Day’s cabin resort area):


Saturday night, March 11, 2017 @ 3:45pm

After getting my room and using the hot-shower to get clean and shaved, I called my friend, Richard Wells (who lives in Portola, CA) and persuaded him to go out this evening for Mexican Food dinner and a few beers to chat it up about this I-395 road-trip (my Spring 2017 roam-about) to the Sacramento Ranch House property.  We made plans for tomorrow (Sunday) to spend the day after breakfast together, roaming the roads and trails through out the county beyond Pertola, CA.

We are making an effort to chat it up with nearly everyone we meet. (asking: from where? when? how did it happen? What is it like, now?)

Also, I’m returning to my Anthropology / Archaeology roots (1975-1982) by approaching my world-view-point using what I learned from re-reading: “The California Indians: A Source Book” by R.F. Heizer and M.A. Whipple (1971: second edition); “Patterns of Culture” by Ruth  Benedict (1934: eighth-printing Sentry Edition); and my deceased father’s “Handbook For Boys: Boy Scouts Of America (1927: 3rd edition).

During this roam-about, I am meeting and observing various combinations of men and women in many situations, and I realize:

All the miscellaneous behavior in the  culture of the people I am meeting is directed toward getting a living, mating, warring, and worshiping the gods; and is made over into consistent patterns in accordance with unconscious canons of choice that develop within the culture of these people; i.e. mountain people, city people, people in transition.

Sunday morning, March 12, 2017 @ 8:30am
Wake-up by phone call, friend Richard Wells who lives in Portola, CA

After checking OUT of the motel, I drove up main-street a few blocks (.5 mile) to Richard’s dwelling; picked him up; and proceeded to drive to the cafe for breakfast:

164 E Sierra Ave, Portola, CA 96122
(530) 832-4874

The kind woman who served us at Sharon’s Cafe, was cordial, spunky, and fun to meet over breakfast.  We discovered that her daughter was the woman who served us for dinner last night at the Mexican Food restaurant (basically, across the street from Sharon’s) and she came by the cafe this morning to share with her mom a poster of her recently lost dog.  So, Richard and I met both mom and daughter.. Portola, CA really is a small town.

Sharon’s story about Portola was that she came through on a visit from Colorado, four years ago; fell in love with Portola and so moved herself and her family into town.

Cruising the valley and mountain region of Portola, CA starting with Lake Davis:

Lake Davis frozen

Middle fork of the Feather River:

Portola: Layman Camp and bridge over Feather River near Union Pacific railroad:

Two-Rivers narrow tunnel under Union Pacific railroad:

Two horses play in the valley going to Loyalton, CA:

The Sloughs (swamped land) of the valley to Loyalton, CA:

Monday morning, March 13, 2017 @ 8:30am
Sacramento Ranch House Property
Front yard area damaged by tractors:

One thought on “My 2017 Early-Spring Road Trip: San Diego – Sacramento via I-395”

  1. POETRY: Gypsy Woman
    You have the soul of a gypsy, the heart of a hippie, and are a bit feral when it counts. While you have learned to enjoy the culture of the city, the nature in your blood compels you to feel most free as a hillbilly or country girl. You’re pioneering, and not afraid of dirt under your nails. You are just as-at-home in the country as well as the city; a woman by full-right with the spirit of a tom-boy. Camping, exploring, fishing and hunting, mountain biking you make it a GREAT day any time that the sun is shining. There are countless mountains, deserts and rivers in California and exploring them is something that stirs your soul. Oh, to be like an archaeologist, looking for the places that people used to live, places on old maps to explore, and dig for artifacts. California is rich with things buried in the past. A great place for friends to find things to play with together. You want to hike a mountaintop just to see what’s on the other side, and you choose to make every day a GREAT day. Explore life, now! Like minded soul, are you out there, too?

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