Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Tuttle Creek Camp | BLM | Alabama Hills | California


Tuttle Creek is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground about 5 miles from Lone Pine on Route 395 in California.  It's a nice campground, but the spots are not very spacious and the two I tried needed quite a bit of leveling - not a problem if you have automatic leveling.  This was my campsite for a while. 

The campground has a small creek running through it and some people were catching trout.  It's a nice little creek and I went down to take a few photos.

I took a drive up the mountain where there are campsites at 8,000 feet.  It was a steep drive on a curving narrow road perched on the side of the mountain.  I was treated to scenes of tall pine trees and the snow covered peaks.  I could not imagine towing anything up that road but I did look down at one of the campsites and saw a trailer.  Impressive!  I was happy to be safely at the bottom, after a slow trip down.  There were many areas where the road did not have any type of guardrails.

Great scenery!

Check out the curvy road on the right in this photo.  And this was one of the straighter areas!

This is looking down from about halfway from the top of the mountain road.

Alabama Hills is nearby and there were conflicting reports of boondocking allowed - or not.  There were quite a few rigs scattered around the area and there were no reports of anyone being told to leave, so as of May, boondocking was allowed.  The brochure for this area states that dispersed camping is allowed for 14 days. 
It is said that the prospectors who mined here named the area after a Confederate warship of the same name.
This is the first thing you see on the way to the campground, or entering the Alabama Hills area.  I'm not sure if he is just graffiti or someone dressed him up for a movie.  In any case, he gets lots of attention and photos.

This is a large area of dramatic boulders.  I only saw a small portion of the area, it keeps going for miles.  The area is famous for movies - back when The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy were in the area.  There were movies filmed during the 1990s in the area also, including Star Trek Generations.

There is a famous arch that I wanted to get some photos of, so I set out on the trail.  There weren't any signs, so I saw a small arch and went over to photograph it.  Not the one I was looking for, but it made an interesting photo.  I had to crawl up and sit on the rocks to get low enough to get the mountains in the shot.  I kept thinking that it certainly didn't look like any photographs of the arch I was searching for.   

Only a few minutes later, I came across the Mobius arch, the one I had set out to find.  Much easier to photograph, although I like the photos of both of them. 
These are different angles of the same arch.

There were some great views and the rest of these photos are shots of different areas I saw.  There were also rock climbers in the area.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Manzanar War Relocation Center | California

Japanese people started to immigrate to the United States back as far as 1882 because they felt they could make a better living.  They became citizens and started businesses, not knowing what was in store for them and their descendents in a few decades. 

When World War II started, the government decided that Japanese citizens (and, of course, all who were not citizens) should be gathered together for the safety of the rest of the country.  The facility on Route 395 in California was named Manzanar.  The Japanese citizens were taken by bus to one of the 10 "relocation centers" that had been built specifically for this purpose.  They were allowed to take only what they could carry.  The ones who had businesses tried to sell them, but many were abandoned. 

They were told that the government was protecting them - but the guards organizing the bus transportation had guns with bayonets.  When they got to Manzanar, it was enclosed with barbed wire with a guard tower.

There were rows of barracks for them to inhabit, their beds were bags filled with straw.  There were 36 blocks of barracks that held the 10,000 people who resided at Manzanar.  There were too many people to have any privacy.  Windstorms made life difficult, as well as sweltering sun in the desert in the summer.  The photo above shows how close the barracks were.

There were multiple in the rooms, some hung cloth up to provide minimal privacy.

Bathrooms were built with sinks as shown below, as well as toilets and a shower room.

Most of the buildings are gone now, with just concrete slabs marking the locations.  The Federal government had made an agreement to remove the buildings to restore the land.  The buildings were sold at $330 each, or were deconstructed.  Some of the buildings were moved to other towns to become motel rooms or private homes, in one instance.  Now there are only a few buildings.

There was school for the children.  A non-Japanese woman volunteered to come teach them since she thought the entire situation was wrong.

There was a mess hall and the staff put in long days to feed everyone, although the food was not that appetizing and not what they were used to. 

They had a ball field for games, as well as a band so they could have dances in the mess hall.  They made a rock garden with running water, a soothing place to sit and relax.  There was a fish pond, a farm and garden and a chicken ranch, as well as a hospital with staff.  I'm sure that some of the residents worked in those areas. 

There is a cemetery monument with a few graves and this memorial.

This is at the cemetery site - colorful folded paper, origami.

There was also a factory to produce woven camouflage nets for the Army.  There was some discontent among the workers, sparking a riot and soon the factory closed.  There was a mattress factory near the weaving shop, but unfortunately it burned in 1943.  By 1944, there were other goods produced there by the residents including clothing and furniture, as well as agriculture.  At that point, they were pretty much self-sufficient.  All those buildings are gone also.

At the end of the war, they were given $25 and a ticket.  From 1990 to 1999 the government sent an apology letter, along with $20,000 to the inhabitants of all of the 10 camps, 82,000 people. I don't remember any of this in my history classes, I wonder if anyone else remembers anything about this.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Randsburg | Garlock | California

Randsburg is a cute little town, known as a living ghost town, an ex-mining town.

They have nicely preserved the old buildings.

Unfortunately, the museum was closed, they have very limited hours.


A surf shop many miles from any surf - but it makes for an interesting sign.


Outside of town, there are the remains of the mine.  It was gated off, but there was no fence attached to the gate so I had to go in and take some photos.  There was no warning sign, no trespassing sign, nothing - that's my excuse.

Nearby was the old "town site" of Garlock, which apparently someone owns because there were a few people there, but it's mostly fenced off.