Wingman from the Roadside:
Driving from the Leavitt Meadows Campground to return Runningbird to the PCT Trail at Sonora Pass, we stop at a turnout I’ve used eight times before for cell service so she can try to reach family again. Unfortunately there is “No Service” on this morning. We drive on up the hill to 9,600 feet and the trailhead; the morning sun just kissing the tips of the tallest peaks. At the trailhead we reconfirm our next rendezvous point in about two and half days from now, say goodbyes, and I watch for several minutes as she immediately starts the long climb up the hill with her full backpack. In less than three miles the trail climbs to 10,500 feet. There are still a lot of snow fields on the northern side of these mountains obscuring the trail and and feeding the rivers and streams with their runoff.
On returning to the campground I decide its moving day. I have two and half days before I have to meet Runningbird at Carson Pass but I actually don’t really know where I’m going yet and I have no cell service so I can’t see if she is ahead of or behind the scheduled we’ve planned. Also, I plan to meet my friend Brian in South Lake Tahoe on Monday afternoon so I may as well get started now. I’ve got the trailer-rigging routine down fairly well and am ready to go in quick order. I say goodbye to Ray and Rosie next door and any of their family that are up and about (Ron and Ray Jr. are about to go fishing for the big ones) and I get on up the road. It’s Saturday morning mid-summer and most campgrounds will be taken. Many folks move or head home on Sundays so I’ll have to fake it for the night. Going north I’ve decided to return to the Walmart in Gardnerville, NV I visited days before and stock up on groceries and get gas ($3.18/gal vs. the $4.99/gal in Bridgeport). After morning shopping I drove up the road and did some laundry (dirty, wet laundry we didn’t line dry smells pretty bad in a small trailer). I returned to the large WalMart parking lot with the trailer and got on the iPad to research campgrounds in the So. Lake Tahoe area. I wanted to get a place that had a few more options (maybe electricity, water, dump station, a pool?) so Runningbird could enjoy a few more comforts before we moved into the Northern California sections of the PCT where there were fewer opportunities. After I had dinner I got cleaned up and went back into WalMart for a few more items and to check in (as is proper etiquette for RVers wanting to stay the evening in their parking lot). “Not so fast! No, you cannot stay over night in our parking lot!” Hmmm? That’s not the way it’s supposed to go. I guess I just got the wrong person this time. There’s no arguing with a WalMart lady. From the movie Dune – “I will bend like a reed in the wind”. God had other plans for me this evening I guess.
It was dusk, I was tired, and I’m moving on. From my earlier scouting I remembered a Sno-Park site off Hwy 88 (38 mins away on Google maps) that’s on a small lake and not too far from So. Lake Tahoe. Sno-Parks are free off-season and there had been a motor home parked here at the time and looking quite comfortable. Traffic was light when I made my way up the mountain pass and I arrived as dark set in. There is no cell service, no WiFi, and no Starbucks but there are only a few others parked here and it is quiet. Much more quiet AND beautiful than the WalMart parking lot would have been.