Our original plan was to go south from Lone Pine to Red Rock Canyon State Park but it was just too hot, and we realized that we would have a long drive from there to our next campground at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. We had passed what looked like a nice RV park in Lee Vining, so we called and got a site at Mono Vista RV Park for one night.
We spent time traveling down to the edge of Mono Lake. It is a large lake that is in the Great Basin, so the water flows in but not out of the lake. Years ago, Los Angeles got water rights and diverted the streams that fed the lake and it began drying up. After court fights, they agreed to restore some flow so that the lake would not dry up but would not be restored to its level before they started diverting the water. Because of the geology of the lake, there are large formations that appear to have grown out of the lake. Actually, they used to be underwater and have gotten exposed as the lake level has lowered. These Tufas are interesting to see and walk around and through. They remind me of stalagmites without the matching stalactites you see in many caves. They are made of similar minerals, calcium carbonate. They are formed as the minerals bubble up from below the lake. The lake is where many gulls and other birds winter and make their nests. We walked the path to the Tufas and along the shore of Mono Lake, and then back to the parking area. Nearby, there is the Panum Crater, which is a large cinder cone that you can walk up to and around. We decided it was too hot to actually walk up the side of the crater so we just observed it from the base. There are a series of craters so this are is obviously volcanically active.
We moved the trailer to Mono Vista RV Park which was very nice, with big trees and some grass. It was great for one night except for one thing: other campers. We were close to our neighbors and two large Class B RVs pulled in behind us, as we were in back-in sites where we were back to back with the sites behind us. Out got two families with small children. Maybe it has just been too long, but I don't remember our kids being that unruly. And I think we did a better job of keeping the lid on our kids' exuberance. We saw that they were preparing dinner in the space between their two RVs. Jennifer went out of the trailer a little later to discover that they had gone off somewhere and just left their dinners sitting on the picnic tables. And seagulls had discovered them. She chased off the birds, and we spent the next half hour taking turns chasing the seagulls from the dinners left on the tables. After a while, the families returned and we told them what had happened, and they didn't seem that annoyed to us. We would have been very concerned, but they didn't seem so. I am glad I have more training and sense than they did.
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Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.