On the way to Bakersfield we passed pistachios orchards, the trees loaded with clusters of nuts; almond and walnut trees; fields of roses near Wasco; and fields of oil derricks near Bakersfield. We headed east on highway 178 which follows the Kern River, which was rushing alongside the road.
Our first stop was at Lone Pine, at a Visitor Center to pick up maps, and to take a look at Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in California (and the lower 48) at 14,505 feet.
At Lone Pine we took a short loop through the Alabama Hills, a very picturesque area of unusual rock formations that have been used in many western movies and television shows.
Remember those scenes where the "good guys" were ambushed when they rode by those rocks?
Other interesting sites along Highway 395 are Owens Lake - a lake drained dry by the Los Angeles Aquaduct, the small towns of Independence and Big Pine, and the Manzanar Historical Site. Manzanar was one of the 10 "relocation" centers for Japanese Americans during World War II. We spent the night in Bishop, a bustling little town of about 3500, situated in the northern Owens River Valley. It's a popular place for those who enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and outdoor activities.
Stay tuned for Day 2