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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Mono Lake


10/8/12, June Lake Junct., CA (Coord. N. 37 deg, 48.681 min; W. 119 deg, 03.179 min) Iím currently at just about the same degree of north latitude as I was when I started this journey.  What this means is that I am now on the southern portion of the journey, complete with swaying palm trees and exotic natives.  This is in contrast to the northern portion of the trip which was abound with polar bears, drunken Mounties in red wool shirts and floating sea ice! There is never a dull moment in the life of the intrepid explorer.

Most of the morning I spent driving along the western shore of Mono lake.  The weather was beautiful and the scenery was fantastic. 

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Mono Lake, the waters may be alkali, but they sure look inviting.

The section of road between my campsite and the town of Lee Vining was narrow and had little shoulder. With fairly heavy traffic, it was a difficult drive. I kept Bob and Doc as far over as possible and used pullouts to let traffic by. In spite of that, I still had impatient drivers passing me on blind curves.  Fortunately, everything worked out okay.  I was very happy to pass through Lee Vining and have the road turn into a 4 lane divided highway with a wide shoulder.

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When driving on a narrow shoulder, I try to keep the team going down a line that deviates by no more than 3 to 6 inches.  This requires a lot of concentration, as a change in the position of a horseís head will mean a change in wagon position 5 seconds later. If you notice the way Iím holding the lines - this allows a quick response to changing line pressure and has the least chance of dropping a line.

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For all the traffic and difficult driving, it was hard to wipe the smile off my face.  After all, it was a beautiful day to be driving a magnificent team past some tremendous scenery.

As is always the case, the wagon and horses generated a lot of interest in town. I made one stop at the market, where I paid way too much money for a few groceries. I was glad I didnít have to fill up with gas, as the price at the pump was $5.60 a gallon. Fortunately, the team still generates more gas than they use!

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Parked by the red curb in front of the market. I think the red curb designates ĎHorse Parking Onlyí!

After grabbing some lunch a couple of miles out of town, the lads and I continued our southward trek.  A few miles to the south, we started climbing a hill back to the 8000 feet elevation. 

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The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide some stunning scenery.

Just before reaching the base of another 1000 feet high hill, I turned off into a side road to find a place to camp. This ended up being a poor decision. The sagebrush and saltbush was too tall to camp in and too thick to turn the wagon around. Finally, about 1/2 mile off the highway, I came to a road (trail) junction where I could turn the wagon around by backing it up (never easy with a trailer in tow).  I breathed a sigh of relief when the wagon finally pulled back to the main highway. 

Since the only place to camp was at the top of the hill, I started my tired team up the mountain.

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A couple of does standing just off the road. There was also a fork horn buck, but I couldnít get them all in the picture.

Tonight, Iím bedded down on a National Forest turnoff, in the crossroads of June Lake Junction.  It was a long day for the lads so theyíre taking quite a few catnaps as they munch their alfalfa.