Lone Pine, California

Boulder Creek RV Resort

December 12, 2020

We had a mere eight days before we were expected in Boise for Christmas, and if you know much about American geography, you’ll know that we still had a lot of ground to cover. We chose to split this last leg of our fall journey into two four-day stops, the first of which was Lone Pine, a small agriculture community in rural southeastern California.

Although Google recommended that we go around Death Valley to get there, we figured the trip was already going to be a bitch, what was another 75 extra miles? In hindsight, this turned out to be a mistake, and if we could do it over again, we probably would’ve just taken the recommended route. Our first issue was the intense wind that we ran into just before entering Death Valley. It was friccin’ intense! This nasty crosswind was probably the scariest moment (outside the tire blowout) that we had experienced out on the road. Honestly, we probably should have pulled over, but we didn’t know if it was ever going to let up, so we decided to slow down and trudge on. Thankfully, the wind eventually subsided as we approached the entrance to the national park allowing us to breath easy for a bit.

Death Valley truly felt like another planet. The dusty terrain and complete lack of vegetation is downright otherworldly! We also couldn’t get over how warm it was. We were there during the middle of December and the temperature was well into the 80’s – can’t imagine how miserable (and dangerous) Death Valley would be during the summer. Because we still had a lot of driving to do before Lone Pine, we didn’t stop very often, however, we did pull over at the massive Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes to snap a few pics.

At this point, we thought that the tough part of the drive was over. We were wrong. The mountains on the western side of the national park were home to some of the most treacherous roads that we had experienced while towing the trailer. There were a few times that we were genuinely worried about the trailer tipping over because the roads were so curvy and narrow. The remoteness of the area also added to the stress. Should anything have happened to us, there would’ve been no way for us to call for help, and even if we could reach someone, it would take hours for any service vehicles to reach us. Thankfully, after white-knuckling it for about 45 minutes, we finally reached the top of the mountains and pulled over to regain our composure. At least it was a cool view from up there!

Fortunately, the rest of the trip to Lone Pine was uneventful and we pulled into our campground with just enough time to get set up before the sun began to set behind the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. In fact, our campground, Boulder Creek RV Park, sat directly in the shadow of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48. It is still pretty hard to fathom that we saw America’s lowest point (Death Valley) and its highest point in the matter of about three hours. Here is a pic of our campground, with Mt. Whitney in the background (right of center).

As the pictures suggest, Boulder Creek was one of the emptiest RV parks that we have visited. However, it doesn’t appear to be due to quality (nice) or price (cheap) but rather due to Lone Pine’s remoteness, especially given the time of year as RVers settled down for the winter. The weather was relatively nice during our stay, so we did quite a bit of walking around when we found free time. The park was surrounded by nothing but open brushland on three sides, so we had plenty of room to meander (and get silly).

Since we weren’t in the area long, we didn’t get an opportunity to do much exploring outside the RV park. Although the area surrounding the town was stunning, but there really wasn’t much to the town itself (just over 2,000 people). Lone Pine also marked our first foray into California – and our first experience with California gas prices. Holy shit, was it expensive! After factoring in all the taxes (plus, the remote location) we paid a little under $4.50 a gallon – no bueno.

But in the blink of an eye, our stay in Lone Pine was up and it was time to start making moves northward towards Lake Tahoe – the last stop on our “fall tour” before arriving in Boise for Christmas. However, before we could leave, Lone Pine presented us with a final parting gift. Here was our view as we pulled out of the campsite – Mt. Whitney and her neighbors basking in the morning sun.