On other trips the first day is about travel and no sightseeing, but this time
I found a distinctive place to stop along our first day of travel.
The name isn't particularly memorable, but do you recognize it?
The pair of rocky spires jutting in a seemingly unnatural direction
due to extreme seismic uplift of the sedimentary rock
gives it a memorable look.
I couldn't place the car just anywhere to snap its picture, so
maybe the angle in our family picture there is more familiar.
Range/Distance ratio: 1.48
|9:02 am||Departed Home||326|
|10:14 am||Arrive Vasquez Rocks||212|
Conditions: Uphill, Los Angeles Downtown Traffic, 96°F
I expected to drive right in upon arrival because the web site said it was open at 8 am,
but no the web site was wrong and the posted sign says it opens at 11 am,
so we park outside the entrance sign and hike in
to take pictures and explore.
Several other families are hiking around the grounds and scaling the rocks.
I'm thinking about recommending this location to my son's Boy Scout Troop for overnight camping.
When we return to the car at about 11 am, I can drive in to take pictures with the car.
Still need a reminder?
The site is famous for being used as a backdrop for several television shows and movies over the decades.
My introduction to it is from the episode
"Arena" from the original Star Trek series,
wherein Captain Kirk was trapped alone on an alien asteroid in mortal combat with a Gorn captain.
I made a point of having my children watch that episode a week before we left home.
This is one of many filming locations we will visit on the trip.
Due in part to that original Star Trek episode, the location was used over and over,
both as an homage and as an inside joke,
television episodes of later Star Trek series including The Next Generation and Voyager, then also
used as the Vulcan homeworld in Star Trek IV and in the first JJ Abrams-directed Star Trek movie reboot.
That "Arena" episode was also referenced in other movies like
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
as one of the scary places those protagonists visit.
Did my all-electric car drive to Kirk's alien asteroid? We didn't find any Gorn.
We continued north and joined route 14 to reach route 395 at Inyokern, a different path than using the I-15 or I-40 in our previous trips.
Along the way I found a rock formation that reminded me of
the Flutes in Capitol Reef on our trip two years ago.
We knew about but skipped the Mojave Supercharger because I researched the restaurants at each in advance,
and we liked Classic Burgers better. However because of the pandemic no indoor seating was allowed, and
it was so hot (over 100°F) outside that my wife decided we would eat inside the air-conditioned car,
even if that might slightly degrade the charge rate.
Range/Distance ratio: 1.3
|11:22 am||Departed Vasquez Rocks||206|
|12:50 pm||Arrived Inyokern Supercharger||72|
Conditions: Desert, 103°F
Our first priority when we arrived was to seek out the restrooms and fortunately the Classic Burgers
restaurant next door had theirs open.
It was also time for lunch, so we ordered food there too.
Cost to Charge: $0
We continued north on route 395 to enter Owens Valley.
|Lone Pine Supercharger
Range/Distance ratio: 1.15
|1:40 pm||Departed Inyokern||276|
|2:44 pm||Arrived Lone Pine Supercharger||181|
Conditions: Hot, 104°F
We weren't out of the heat yet, and I had never been to the Lone Pine Supercharger.
From here, we could see Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 States.
Being only an hour after having lunch, we needed restrooms.
The Film History Museum and the ranger stations were closed due to the pandemic, and the McDonald's didn't allow the public in.
So The Grill to the north was our only place to use the restrooms we definitely needed, and we all bought refreshments
to reward The Grill for the favor.
Range/Distance ratio: 1.63
|3:27 pm||Departed Lone Pine||279|
|5:11 pm||Arrived Mammoth Mountain||108|
Conditions: Uphill, 104°F decreasing to 79°F
This was the first time any of us have visited Mammoth Mountain in the summer,
and I was curious what it looked like.
This was also a practice run as well for someday driving to Mammoth in the winter for skiing (when the pandemic is over),
as my new Model S has dual-motor all-wheel drive.
My wife was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and comfortably we could drive to Mammoth from home,
clearly indicating willingness to try it again should the ski season reopen (again, someday, after the pandemic).
We took a little time to sightsee around Mammoth, here at around 9000 feet elevation, and take pictures of the (dry summer) slopes
only somewhat familiar from our memories here in winter.
I originally wanted to book at Juniper, which is a member of the
Tesla Destination Network, but
Juniper had new rules requiring stays that start Saturday to be at least two nights.
That was unacceptable,
so instead I booked at
Sierra Nevada Resort & Spa because it was down the street
from the Tesla Supercharger in town and near the
Good Life Café where we wanted to have breakfast the next day.
Cost to Charge: $0
We checked in and had a very enjoyable outdoor dinner that evening at
When we returned to the room we showered after such a hot day and watched a movie,
which shot scenes in this mountainous area,
in preparation for our hike the next day.
Dean E. Dauger holds a Ph. D. in physics from UCLA, where his group
created the first Mac cluster in 1998. Dr. Dauger is the award-winning
author in multiple American Institute of Physics' Software Contests and
co-authored the original, award-winning Kai's Power Tools
image-processing package for Adobe Photoshop.
After founding his company,
Dauger Research, Inc., its debut product,
Pooch, derived from Dr. Dauger's experience using clusters for his
physics research, was soon awarded as "most innovative" by IEEE Cluster
and continues to revolutionize parallel computing and clusters worldwide
with its patented technology.