The Eastern Sierra Nevada Scenic Byway is an incredible mix of recreation, history, extreme natural phenomena, and glorious scenery. We came across the mountains via Highway 50, through the gold center of Placerville, down to South Lake Tahoe. This bustling tourist town was recovering from its busy summer and preparing for snow and the ski season. We went up and over another range of the Sierra (7,000+ feet!) and settled onto Highway 395 that took us south all the way to San Bernardino. On the way we visited three museums, a hot spring RV park (Keough’s), a film festival celebration at Lone Pine (where MANY old cowboy movies were made), and boondocked on a surreal lava moonscape called Fossil Falls which is managed by the BLM. The latter was not only interesting geologically, but one couldn’t help but crunch on millions of glistening obsidian chips while walking. These chips were knapped by Paiute people over thousands of years.
On the way we tried to visit the historic site of Manzanar, a despicable place of internment for so many Japanese-Americans during WWII, but because of the government shutdown, it was inaccessible. The internment was one of the darkest moments of American history. For those of us wanting to learn more about this important lesson, yet another bad decision prevents us from doing so. What are we doing?