Hello gang and welcome back.
Many folks escaped the Willamette valley for a well-deserved break over the holidays and we’re glad you’re back–safely. If you haven’t yet reported workout distances (Mark), or have missed a few weeks, and still need a New Year’s resolution (Mark), boy have I got an idea for you! How about joining in on our journey (Mark)? A few of the columns on my spreadsheet remain blank (Mark) and we could use your efforts (Mark) to help power our way across the US of A! Not to single out any one person, but…
Speaking of the spread sheet, you’ll notice a slightly modified but much easier to read version this week. We can all thank rower-turned-biker Dean for that. I gladly accepted the outsourcing offer and we’ll be using this format in the remaining 10 weeks of our journey. For those who reported previous weekly efforts after the fact, I have added those figures into our total. So, (Mark) if you still have those erging distances from previous weeks, I will add them. And by the way, if you report a figure and I don’t show it—please let me know. I do miss a few things! By the way, I am impressed with the variety of winter time activities you have reported to me. So far I’ve seen elliptical machines, dancing, skiing, biking, treadmill, and running. The only one I had to disallow was D2’s request to include watching basketball games. What a diverse group we are!
Let’s get on with it. Leaving Sonora Junction our journey takes us south on I-395 past Mammoth lakes—which are really big. There is in fact a Mammoth Lakes high school rowing team.
We then pass through Bishop, CA which has a cool (actually hot) springs which we visited. You enjoyed it—trust me!
Then through Big Pine—home of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
Then to Lone Pine, home of the Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History which exposes the area’s frequent appearances in Hollywood feature films and the Lone Pine Film Festival. The Alabama Hills, west of town, are frequently used as a filming location for Westerns and other movies. The Whitney Portal road was used in the 1941 film High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart, which culminated with a shoot-out between Bogart’s character (Roy Earle) and the police, at the foot of Mount Whitney. Bet you didn’t know that!
We then travel through Inyokern (which sounds like a Slavic insult) on our Way to Boron. All the while, we are passing next to Death Valley which is known for many things: Its average annual rain fall 1.5 inches (just slightly more than Eugene), highest temperature of 134 degrees, 153 consecutive days with daytime high temperatures above 100 degrees (1991), the Badwater area is the lowest point in the western hemisphere (-282ft), and still it has the following number of species: 51 mammals, 36 reptiles, five amphibians, 5 fish, 346 birds, and 1,042 plants. I wonder who counted them all! During the Pleistocene era, the floor of Death Valley was once a lake; Lake Manly stretched for a hundred miles, and was as deep as 600ft. Wow!
Our next way station is Boron; home to California’s largest open-pit mine, which is also the largest borax mine in the world. If you’re old enough, you may recall the television commercials showing the famous 20 mule teams hauling wagons full of borax on their way to the soap factory. This was no small feat; they traveled 165 miles out of Death Valley to a rail car facility at Mojave, and climbed from 190 feet below sea level and over a 2,000 foot mountain pass. Today we have scrubbing bubbles! The rest of the history is here.
Here we turn east toward Arizona on I-40 and head to Barstow on our way to Needles California—home of Snoopy’s brother “Spike” who’s one friend is his cactus.
After Needles, we’re off to Kingman, Arizona—a city made famous by the song about Route 66. Get your own kicks there—and here:
A complete routing of our trip is here. I got frustrated with Yahoo and switched to Google this week. Hope this works for you.
So, that’s it. We traveled a very respectable 686 K this week and so far our trip total is 2,842 K. We’re on schedule to arrive in Glendale, Arizona (one of my previous residences) by next report. Can’t wait to see the hot air balloons again! By the time we get there the Duck fans and Tiger fans will have all arrived and filled the city so I’m thinking a “virtual visit” is just about ideal for our group.
Take care, keep on rowing or erging.
See you on the water (soon),
Bonus trivia question:
What is the name of the Auburn mascot and the Ducks mascot? The first response gets a bonus prize of 20 K added to their next week’s total—provided they go that far on their own too!
Greetings rowers (and bikers and runners and skiers),
First a correction. Last week’s report said “Week 4” when it fact was only Week 3. This is the real Week 4.
I trust that Santa was good to you and your families and that you didn’t overindulge the fruitcake offerings. I did stumble across an article from early December about a senior rower from the UK named John Leeds. This fellow converted to indoor rowing at the age of 90 when he could no longer run. Now age 100, Leeds was about to enter an indoor rowing competition. The event came and went and he did in fact triumph as the only entry in his age class—and now is the reigning world champion! I wonder when he might take up the actual boat-related part of the sport? There’s still time! The original story is attached, and the outcome is here.
Most participants opted for fruitcake and eggnog over erging so our weekly distance dropped a bit from our norm. That and a batch of folks are still traveling to/from the relatives and other outdoor locations. Sally, Kip and family are somewhere in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains—counting snowflakes and setting new single-day cross country skiing distance records! Not to worry, we’ll soon be back to our routines and making our way south to attend the BCS Bowl game on January 10th.
As promised, I will report each week—come rain or shine, but for those who report late, I do include your figures in the actual week when possible. This week’s distance was 195K and honoring the one request I received for a scenic bypass to our trip, I have slightly altered our route. Rather than continue south on I-5, we took a left turn in Sacramento and headed east. We’ll zig and zag a bit until we reach I-395 and travel south east on that strip of asphalt toward our destination.
Before moving on, I should point out that this region produces some very fine red wines (Amador County—in particular.) It also is known for its history of gold production 150 years ago, and was responsible for the invention of Levi’s blue jeans! One fascinating book on the pre-Gold Rush history of California (especially if you enjoy tall ships) is Two Years Before the Mast. The author, Richard Henry Dana (of Dana Point fame.)
Tracing an awe-inspiring oceanic route from Boston, around Cape Horn, to the California coast, Two Years Before the Mast is both a riveting story of adventure and the most eloquent, insightful account we have of life at sea in the early nineteenth century. Richard Henry Dana is only nineteen when he abandons the patrician world of Boston and Harvard for an arduous voyage among real sailors, amid genuine danger. The result is an astonishing read, replete with vivid descriptions of storms, whales, and the ship’s mad captain, terrible hardship and magical beauty, and fascinating historical detail, including an intriguing portrait of California before the gold rush. As D. H. Lawrence proclaimed, “Dana’s small book is a very great book.”
An Amazon description is here.
On this leg of our journey, we traveled past Lake Natoma—site of the Gold Rush and Head of the American Regattas, we made a right turn at Placerville, then turned again at Sonora traveled near San Andreas (through no “fault of mine”) through Sonora Junction and stopped for the week at Fales Hot Spring.
As Chanlin points out, this route included a 26% grade and took us as high as 9,624 feet—twice as high as the Santiam Pass! No wonder our mileage (in kilometers) dropped! The spreadsheet is attached.
Fales Hot Springs is an inhabited place in the Sonora Junction community in Mono County, California. It is located 11 miles (18 km) northwest of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 7319 feet (2231 m). The driving distance from Bridgeport to Fales Hot Springs along US395 is about 15 miles (24 km).
The Fales post office operated for a period during 1881. The name honors Samuel Fales who developed the natural hot springs into a resort in 1877. By 1908, Fales Hot Springs had a stage coach stop and baths using the hot spring water. According to the records at the Mono County Museum in Bridgeport, Sam Fales lived at the hot springs until his death in 1937.
According to Ella Cain, a resident of Bodie in the 1890s and Bridgeport in later years, Sam Fales was in the business of telling tall tales to his dinner guests extract from The Story of Mono County.
As of 2009, the resort is undergoing a second restoration. The current resort is located about 1/4 north of the original stage stop. Only 2 other residences can be seen from the resort in spite of a panoramic vista to the West.
Several attempts have been made to exploit the minerals around the Hot Spring without success. Travertine deposits are described as too porous to be usable. Some amount of Uranium was discovered by the DOE, but does not appear to have been mined. A 413 feet (126 m) deep test well did not yield water hotter than 100 °F (38 °C). The water from the spring is reported as 180 °F (82 °C) NOAA report. The Spring itself has moved in recent times hot spring report.
Next week will see us passing Mono Lake, an interesting lake at 8,000 feet that is 70 square miles in size. It is stream fed but has no outlet to the ocean—thus producing a high level of salinity. No fish, only brine shrimp and lots of migratory birds.
Below are some great photos from this beautiful site.
We have just over 1,100K to travel to make it to Glendale, AZ on time for the bowl game. With 14 days to go, we need to average just over 550K per week. Keep on erging and you can get us there!
Cheers, Dave Horton