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We woke up to a chilly morning at our campsite at Tamarack Flat Campground in Yosemite National Park. We finished the cold pizza from the day before for breakfast then packed up and got on our way. We were excited that this time we were going to be able to drive the Tioga Pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The pass is closed much of the year because of heavy snow. The last time we visited Yosemite in March 2016, it was closed so we had to take a very long detour around the mountains to get to Death Valley. The drive through the Tioga Pass was gorgeous with such beautiful views of the mountains. We took our time enjoying the scenery with no set destination in mind.
After crossing over to the eastern part of the Sierra Mountains, we made our way to Bishop, California thanks to a recommendation from freecampsites.net. It turned out to be a great suggestion because we ended up staying for a number of days in the Bishop area. The first night we stayed in a free, dispersed campsite on a very dusty road. It was fine for the night but nothing special.
The next day we went into town to do laundry and take showers at Wash Tub Coin-op Laundry. The owner was not there to unlock the showers for us when we got there, but other customers encouraged us to call him. We took their advice and he arrived shortly afterward. We enjoyed chatting with the other customers including an older man who does a lot of hiking in the area and has his photos published in the local paper. He is a Vietnam veteran and he says that climbing the mountains is what has finally given him peace after the war. It is sad how much those experiences affect our veterans long after combat is over.
Showered and dressed in clean clothes, we headed to Black Sheep Coffee Roasters for some coffee and wifi. The coffee was very good and they even have a few beers on tap as well. While we were there, I did some searching to find us a campsite a little nicer than the one from the night before. I came across “The Pit” which is a no-frills campground frequented by rock climbers. It was only $5 a night so we went to check it out. The sites were a decent size, had firepits, and tables, and the campground had vault toilets. We have stayed in worse places and paid a good bit more than that. We picked a nice site and decided to use it as our home base while we spent a little more time in Bishop.
For the next few days, we made Looney Bean Coffee Shop our makeshift office. We met several nice people while we were working there including a woman from Vienna who was rock climbing in the area with her husband. She was fortunate that her employer was allowing her to work remotely while traveling in the US for several months. She gave us some tips for places to check out in the area including Buttermilk Boulders. She also recommended visiting the nearby Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest which is home to some of the oldest trees in the world. We put the forest on our list of places to go.
Bishop is home to Erick Shat’s Bakery which is famous for its bread including the original sheepherders’ bread. The place is huge, always busy, and loaded with bread options, both savory and sweet. We visited and decided on the chile cheese bacon bread and the apple raisin pull away bread. They were both delicious. They also sell sandwiches and all kinds of baked goods besides bread. If you are ever in Bishop, I recommend you stop in for a loaf or two of bread.
Later in the week, we took a scenic drive out to Lake Sabrina in the Inyo National Forest. The scenery was beautiful especially with the trees changing to their fall colors. By the time we got to the lake, the day had cooled and the wind had picked up so we did not linger too long. On a warmer day, we would have stayed longer and checked out the hiking trails but we quickly hurried back to our campsite at the Pit.
With still more to see and do, we decided to stay through the weekend to keep enjoying the beautiful California weather and scenery in Bishop.