17.12.17

Visalia, California to Trona Pinnacles...a.k.a. the city to the moon...

We left Yosemite, vowing to return many, many times...and headed south, not really certain of our next stop, but headed in the direction of Death Valley...largely driven by the idea of staying warm, chasing 70 degrees or so!

A few hours on the road, mostly through farm lands, lots of orchards of one kind or another, and more and more traffic, we pulled into the KOA in Visalia.  There wasn't anything particularly special about this campground, but it was a nice place to regroup...lots of laundry had piled up, Gracie needed a "deep clean" (30 minutes top to bottom!)...and there was great WiFi, so it was a good opportunity to catch up on bills and emails and Facetime with the kiddos!

KOA in Visalia, CA...good laundry and WiFi!

We left there on Thursday and headed farther south to Trona Pinnacles.  I had never heard of Trona Pinnacles until Instagram...and lots of people we follow, fellow RV'ers as well as photographers, had been there...and it was so unusual it became a must-see stop for us.  (We spent the night at a little RV park in Lake Isabella on our way, to break up the trip a bit.)

As you drive towards the turnoff road to Trona Pinnacles, a few miles West, there is a point of interest worth checking out, called Fish Rocks...it's random and kinda cool and a good place to stretch your legs!  You've likely seen an Instagram photo of it, it's pretty popular for those who are traveling this desolate highway!

Fish Rocks!

We turned down the gravel road towards Trona and you could see these weird mounds on the horizon...and not much else!  It looked a bit like we were doing a lunar landing...  The road in was a bit washboarded, but we just eased our way in, stopping once to check that Gracie's cabinets were staying closed (yeah for bungee cords!).

Looks like the moon, right?!

Once we were there, in the main parking area, we walked around the Pinnacles, trying to decide where we wanted to be and how badly we wanted to risk bottoming out on the roads that wind in and around the mounds.  We chose to just park it in the nice, easy, level parking area...which gave us a spectacular view of the sunsets and the rock formations.  (This kind of camping is often called dry camping, or boondocking...it's free!  You have to check the area for the rules and regulations, but oftentimes BLM land or Forest Service land is available for this camping...being careful, of course, to leave it better than you found it.)

Our "Outland FireBowl" is one of our favorite purchases!  Smokeless, on demand campfire!

This was the first night...the best sunset!

Told ya...middle of nowwhere!

We hung out for threee nights here, hiking around the pinnacles, exploring little caves and enjoying the beautiful skies...especially the night skies.  We were here for the SuperMoon, the largest, closest full moon of the year...and we were also witness to a movie being shot in this desert landscape!  An Alien sci-fi movie set appeared one morning, complete with about 40 crew members and a half dozen actors...  Apparently, many sci-fi movies film out here...perhaps you can see why...

I wouldn't describe it as pretty...rather, unique!

We got lots of sunshine!

And saw the SuperMoon rising, through some clouds.

Mike, keeping an eye on Gracie.

The wind blew a bit, but the dirt is surprisingly very compact and barely shifted at all.

Gracie was well suited for this desert experience...our solar setup worked like a dream and the inside was nice and cozy!

Kind of looks like an ad!

I did a little redecorating for the holidays while parked here in the middle of nowhere! 
Hung up a banner and we had purchased a tiny little Charlie Brown Christmas tree too!

Next up, let me tell you about our solar!

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