Driving along CA 395, paralleling the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, and wondering what's up ahead....
(Those of you who know me, know that I knew exactly
what was up ahead.) Ah, the quaint little town of Lone Pine. Looks interesting. Actually, it's a lot more than interesting.
Lone Pine and the adjacent Alabama Hills is the literal capital of the film industry's WESTERNS.
More than 300 movies (mostly, but not all, westerns) have been filmed in the Alabama Hills. Additionally, many of the TV shows that we grew up with (The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers) were shot on location among these amazing red boulders.
A short list of the stars who performed here include: John Wayne, Barbara Stanwick, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Borgnine, Gene Autry, Gregory Peck, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Carey Grant, and, yes, Robert Downey Jr.
We landed in town, by accident, the day of the annual Lone Pine Film Festival. Although we did not have time to join the festivities (other things to do), the atmosphere was great. Cowboy hats and boots were the dress of the day.
We spent an entire morning visiting the Lone Pine Film Museum.
After watching a 15-minute film that highlighted the history of film shooting in the Alabama Hills, we wandered from exhibit to exhibit, reliving memories from our childhoods.
Vintage cars, like this one from Humphrey Bogart's High Sierra, saddles, cowboy hats and costumes of the stars were everywhere.
This stage coach was used in several movies:
Countless movie posters filled every nook and cranny:
Not all films made here were westerns. The other-worldly looking Alabama Hills lent themselves to a couple of Star Trek movies, the Sci Fi movie Tremors, the classic Gunga Din, and our favorite, The Long, Long Trailer (more on that from Dianne in a later post). Oh, and the recent Iron Man.
Highway 395 parallels the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It goes all the way to Canada. Even though most of our quality time was spent in Lone Pine (except for the side trip to Death Valley), we did drive sixty miles to Bishop to visit the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) offices, and to stop at the irresistible Schat's Bakkery.
The purpose of our visit to the BLM was to ask how we might be able to spend a few nights in closer proximity to the magnificent mountains to our west. The visit to Schat's -- well, it was an excuse to go off our diets!
Schat's Bakkery is a wonderland. The floor space is filled with shelves crammed with freshly-baked breads and counters full of pastries, cookies, doughnuts, and cakes. There was so much to look at and to savor that it was difficult to make decisions, but we did.
The pastries did not last the day, but the loaf of their famous Sheepherder bread filled our tummies for a week.
On the way back to our campground (Boulder Creek RV Resort), we made our first visit to the Alabama Hills. Dianne will write more about this wondrous place in another post, but I could not resist showing you a few shots.
I was like a kid in a candy store climbing from rock to rock.
Dianne even did some climbing.
We will probably be posting three days in a row concerning our exploits in and around Lone Pine. Dianne already has the next two blogs written, so check back soon.
The whippet picture(s) of the day are entitled: Whose food is it, anyway? Jasper and Chaplin evidently think the pork chop should belong to them.