We thought the drive down from Mammoth lakes to Lone Pines would be a good one with quite a few stops at Towns along the way which looked interesting on the map. It actually turned out that most the towns consisted of one road with a hardware store and a couple of bars and restaurants.
We arrived in Lone Pine by midday and couldn’t check into the hotel till 4pm so we decided to take a little side trip down to Death Valley and Stove-Pipe Wells.
The drive was as stunning as it was barren. The road was 80 miles and straight as an arrow for the first 50 through desert scrub land. It soon rose up the through the mountains into Panamint springs and the most fantastic drive through mountain passes, down onto the broken desert valley floor and then back up the other side before eventually reaching the start of Death Valley proper, Stove-Pipe Wells.
We stopped at Stove Pipe, got a couple of drinks and souvenirs, and then headed back the way we came. The car thermometer was reading 42 centigrade (108 fahrenheit) at one point and the heat even with the air con at full blast was punishing !
The drive back to Lone Pines was equally as stunning on the return and after a few miles it was time for an American first !! Deb decided to drive !! She figured that with us being the only car on the road and the road being straighter than a straight thing it would be the perfect time to drive her first automatic right hand drive car – she didn’t do too badly for her first time – maybe 8/10 😀 😀 ( and thats me sleeping on the sofa tonight lol)
We got back to the Best Western in Lone Pines, checked in, had a coffee and then headed off to the Lone Pines Film Museum which was just up the road. Ever since they started making films up the road in Hollywood they had been shooting Westerns in the Alabama Hills around Lone Pines and we spent an interesting couple of hours looking at various Cowboy exhibits and learning what had been filmed in and around the area. Most of interest to us was the filming of one of my all time favourite films Tremors and they had a couple of the original Graboids on display. Another gem which i didn’t know was filmed in the hills was Tarantino’s, Django Unchained and in the entry to the museum they had the original Dr Shultz’s Dental wagon which he picks Django up in at the beginning of the film and Quentin Tarantino’s directors chair.
That night had a nice meal in one of the local diners called Grill as the place we had wanted to go to was a saloon so no under 21s were allowed in. We retired early ready for the following day and the drive through the Alabama hills and “Movie Road” and onto Lancaster.