|Robber's Roost on the 395|
My sidekick is my husband Richard. His Indian name is "Goes the Wrong Way". My Indian name is "Stands in Confusion". So it's just as well that my sister Jennifer is with us. Her Indian name is "Hawkeye". If we were on a wagon train west, "Goes" and I would be the ones travelling in circles and just missing all the waterholes. Hawkeye would be our driver, scout and hunter. She's the one who sees all the little critters on the ground even though she's busy driving.
Every long journey must begin with farewell to family and a fortifying meal. So Hawkeye, Goes and I meet my Santa Clarita family for brunch at the Egg Plantation. What a great place! The English manager gives us our own private area out back and we have a real pioneer meal of three egg omellettes, pancakes and coffee and EVERYBODY IS HAPPY. Bittersweet farewells to those we have to leave behind then off to Adventure in our silver Jeep.
After Acton, Highway 14 turns north and takes you past the towns of Palmdale and Acton. Edwards Airforce base is on your right and Reefer City a blur on the left. After Mojave you start seeing Joshua trees and now you are in the desert proper. At Indian Wells near Inyokern we join up with the 395, which will take us virtually the rest of the way.
Lone Pine is a gem of a town on a flat ribbon of highway with the Sierra Nevadas rearing up on one side and farms and ranches on the other. It is another popular spot for movie makers and every September is host to the Lone Pine Film Festival. You will also find the Beverley & Jim Rogers Museum of Film History. Full of posters, props and other memorabilia of B, C and D Westerns and other films made here. It shouldn't have come as a surprise that part of Iron Man was filmed here. Those mountains aren't Afghanistan. They're the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. Jagged, blue, snow-capped, breathtaking.
|Iron Man was filmed near Lone Pine, not Afghanistan|
After Lone Pine, the 395 chases the exciting West Walker River which jumps and froths and leaps, full of all that icy snowmelt. This is the place to put on your waist high rubber boots and go fishing for trout. We take a quick detour to Mammoth Lakes, which is a big disappointment. It's bristling with hotels and ski lodges... but nary a lake. Quickly back on the 395 to Lee Vining, the town on the shores of America's Dead Sea, Mono Lake. We arrive around 8.00 at dusk. It is cold and crisp up here with snow on the mountains and the scent of pine resin.
There are a handful of motels there but only one place to eat, Nicely's. This will be our stopping place before we press on to Virginia City.