10/17/14 - Elevation and More Elevation

We arrived in Lone Pine, CA in the dark last night and did not realize that we were in a valley.  We noticed that as we were walking to breakfast.  Another surprise was the Raccoon foot prints on the T-bird.

Raccoon foot prints in the dust on the car.

Raccoon foot prints in the dust on the car.

In Lone Pine there were Mountains on both sides of us

In Lone Pine there were Mountains on both sides of us

We learned that the Lone Pine area is the backdrop for numerous movies, from Gunga Din, Gone in 30 Seconds, to the desert scenes in Iron man. How did we find out this information?  We stopped by the Lone Pine Film History Museum. It is closed at this time of year except for weekends, so we studied the mural on the wall and the posters in the windows. The signed photos in the cafĂ© where we ate breakfast gave us other clues.

We started out heading north towards Reno on Highway 395. Our starting elevation was 3,720 feet. The first Summit was 7,000 feet.  We felt that we were on a very big Roller Coaster because the summits that followed were 8,013 feet, followed by 8,345 feet.  They were each followed by drops to about 3,500 feet. These were not straight roads either!  We managed to make it to State Line. NV for lunch at about 3 PM. The Thunderbird did great!  There were no major problems but at the 8,300 foot elevation the amount of power available in reserve was minimal.  Luckily, we didn't need auxiliary power ( Joe pushing)  to make it over the hill.

Taken from about the 8,000 foot elevation

Taken from about the 8,000 foot elevation

We checked out the schedules for the shows in State Line.  We were not interested in Styx or The Black Keys, so we checked our maps and decided to beat the rush for wine and head to Vacaville, CA; a good place for jellybeans and wine.  This was one of our longest days in the car. We left Lone Pine at 9:00 AM and drove until 6:30 PM.  There wasn't really any place to stop.  We didn't even have cell phone service for a good part of the trip.  At 8,000 feet elevation the cell phone towers were all below us.  It is beautiful up there!  Joe said "There is a lot of nothing out there, and some places have more nothing than others."  Even though we drove 450 miles in the car, it was still comfortable.  It is a cruiser for distance and speed, and we have had plenty of miles to test that theory daily.