Part 1: San Diego to Lake Tahoe and TRMF Day 1


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The Experience

Our plan was to head north from San Diego toward Lake Tahoe and stop somewhere along the way as convenient.  Our path took us up I-15 to Victorville where we met with Norm Becker to see his U1300L.  We had lunch, shared stories and then pointed the 1017 north along US-395.  We got as far as Bishop before stopping for the night.  The following morning, we broke camp and headed into the Lake Tahoe area.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

We spent the night at an RV park on the south side of Bishop, CA.  The accommodations were fine and we had a nice night.  The a/c in the camper was needed until sundown and the fact that we had it was a pleasant surprise.  The trip across the high desert was hot -- about 105 degrees, so we were happy to stop for the night.

The next day was bright and clear, so we broke camp and headed north on US-395 toward Lake Tahoe.  The scenery along the eastern front of the Sierra Nevada were breathtaking.

The eastern Sierra provides some awesome views and the contrast of the high desert landscape versus the mountains was striking.

The road north gave us nice views of the snow fields of the high mountains.

The weather was hot in the valley and the high temperatures was causing high runoff in all the creeks.

Mono lake was visible from 395.  The level of the lake has been falling in  recent years due to diversion of runoff water to the taps of Los Angeles.  The high mineral content of the lake leaves salt deposits on the shores of the lake.

A road side stop provided a great view of the local wildflowers.  This area does not get much rainfall as evidenced by the barren hillsides.

The snow melt caused many local rivulets that flowed to the streams in the valley floor.  The ground water provided a good environment for the wildflowers.

A crest in the highway south of Bridgeport gave us a great view of the high Sierra snowfields.

We took the turnoff from 395 up to Monitor Pass (CA 89).  The road to Monitor was steep and very slow going.

It only took a few miles until we were well over 7000 feet and the road gave us a commanding view to the east.

The view from the crest of Monitor Pass to the south was great.

We arrived at the Tahoe Valley campground and set up for the evening.  Chas and Kevin were out on the trail getting into trouble, but did return to camp several hours later.

That is mud on the side of Chas' 1250.  He had leaned his rig into a ditch and brought a bit of the local landscape back to camp.

The rear plowed up roots and grass, but no big damage was done.  Kevin's cab brush guard worked great.

Michael's 416 DOKA as we prep for a trail run up Twin Peaks trail.  It seems that the high snow level would preclude travel on many of the trails that we wanted to do.

Rod, our host, brought his 406.  It is a very capable rig.

Since I last saw Kevin's 1300, he added brush guards to the cab.

Steve's 404.

Chas's 1250 DOKA.

The entrance to Twin Peaks trail has a substantial rock garden.  This portion of the trail proved to be quite challenging and not every rig was able to make it.  Happily, there was a bypass for this obstacle.

The boulders in the rock garden were substantial and sharp.

Rod's 406 had no real trouble with the rock garden.  He was able to do it with full tire pressure.

There were some pretty big boulders in the garden.

The overall grade on the rock garden was steep.

Steve discovered that the front lockers on his 404 were not engaging.  He was unable to negotiate the obstacle even after many tries and in the end had to take the bypass.  An inspection of the linkage back at camp did not provide any happiness -- he never discovered the cause of the problem and was relegated to 3 wheel drive.

Michael's 416 had a bit of trouble, but got through unscathed.

Several tries were necessary for the steeper parts of the rock garden.

This driver was new to the unimog but the 404 handled the rock garden quite well.

Several attempts were required for the steepest parts of the garden.

Chas' 1250 has working gears and had no trouble on the rocks.

Rod watches Chas take the steepest part of the garden.

Rod approaches the second rock obstacle on Twin Peaks, but elected to take the easy way to the right.

The group assembles at the top of the Twin Peaks trail.

Looking to the west, you can see the damage caused by the Angora Fire in 2008.  The fire came right up to the homes at the bottom of the ridge.

From the peak looking north, we could see Lake Tahoe and the snow-covered peaks in the distance.

A closer look at Lake Tahoe showed some of the pleasure boats out for the day.

To the east of the peak, we could look down on the Lake Tahoe airport.

The travel across the high desert was hot.  Putting air conditioning in the 1017 is tops on the list once we get back to San Diego.  But, heat notwithstanding, the truck ran great.  The Tahoe area was cool given the elevation, even a bit chilly at night.

The Twin Peaks trail was nice, and the views were awesome.  Thanks to Rod for organizing the Tahoe-Reno MogFest.

Tomorrow, we will attack the northern part of the Rubicon Trail.  Big parts of the trail are still snow bound, so how much we can actually do is in question.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2011, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.