Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 17: A Zero Day in Bishop

We decided to take a zero day. Our first zero day of the trail. After the mad-rush to get all our tasks done in Mammoth Lakes, Karolina saw the wisdom of occasionally taking a day off just to relax and take it easy.

Karolina pretends she's about to catch this dog painted on the wall.

So she slept in late, until 9:00 or so. The only reason, I think, she eventually got up was because our hotel had a continental breakfast, but it would shut down soon if she didn't get up and moving.

The breakfast wasn't particularly noteworthy--just a typical hotel breakfast that had cereals, fruits, yogurt and waffles. Not the good waffles either, that you make on the fly with the waffle iron, but rather frozen waffles that get toasted in a toaster.

But Karolina thought the breakfast was wonderful and seemed surprised that it was free. Well, not free... but part of the price of the room. I guess she wasn't used to staying at "fancy" hotels, but this was merely a Travelodge. Certainly not top-of-the-line stuff, but apparently fancier than Karolina was used to.

She did need some help with the breakfast, though. For instance, she copied me when she put the waffles into the toaster, but didn't realize that she needed to push the level down start the toaster and after waiting awhile before asking how they should go for, I had to let her know that she was going to have a very long wait at the rate is was currently going. She didn't know what an English muffin was (although she had been to England several times) or what to do with one, and asked how the coffee machine worked. Not being a coffee drinker myself, I actually wasn't much use for answering that last question. =) I could guess, though, and I proceeded to do just that.

Karolina admires the duck crossing sign. "We don't have these in Europe. It's so... American!"

After breakfast, I was put in charge of doing laundry. I went to the front desk to get quarters and a small box of laundry detergent, then started the laundry going and went back up to the room to kill time until it was ready. About 10 minutes later, I found a box of laundry detergent in my pocket.

I gasped when I found it. I forgot to put soap in our laundry?! Those clothes were nasty! They needed soap! I rushed back down to the laundry room and quickly added the soap, hoping it wasn't too late to get the job done. Karolina seemed to think my forgetfulness was funny, so at least she got some enjoyment out of it.

When the clothes finished washing, I took a whiff of them to see if they still smelled like hiker clothes, but they seemed to be a in a suitable state of clean so I moved them over to the dryer and finished them up.

With our laundry done, we were no longer tied to the hotel and left to go out and check out the town of Bishop. We stopped in all the outfitters. Karolina seemed particularly fascinated with a sign store. She wanted to buy a JMT or PCT sign, but I had to remind her that she'd have to carry it down the rest of the trail and eventually she let the idea go. "Anyhow, you can probably order one online later," I reminded her.

We stopped for lunch at Denny's. She wanted to try a "real American diner" and it was the closest I had seen to such a thing, although it wasn't the traditional 60s kind of diner I usually think of when I think "diner." But they do like to call themselves "America's diner" so it seemed strangely appropriate since Karolina wanted to see a real "American diner." Presto!

Karolina really wanted to buy a sign.... She did not, however, want to carry it down the trail!
After eating lunch, we stayed at Denny's taking full advantage of the bottomless sodas and hashed out our plan of attack for the next section of the trail. It wasn't quite as difficult to figure out as this last stretch had been. We were more in the wilderness now, but we had a 7.2-mile option to resupply over Kearsarge Pass about 40 miles up the trail, which wasn't so bad. Or about 80 miles to the end of the trail. So it mostly just a matter of deciding if we would resupply over Kearsarge Pass--which would take longer, but require us carrying less food--or trying to push the entire distance to the end of the trail without any additional resupply stops.

Ultimately, we decided for the extra resupply stop, planning a leisurely pace that would require us to carry 8 days and 7 nights of food. It was probably more than was strictly necessary, but it was still one day less of food than when we left Mammoth Lakes and--more importantly--checking the weather forecast, we saw that it was expected to take a turn for the worse. We might want a couple of very short days if the weather was particularly wet and cold. So we set up a schedule assuming especially short days of hiking during those bad-weather days, and a leisurely 10 miles/day pace the rest of the time.

When we finally left the Denny's, it was late in the afternoon and the sign for the Motel 6 showed that the temperature was 97 degrees out. Karolina, who wasn't used to the Fahrenheit system didn't need to be told that that was hot! She could feel it! Almost immediately the temperature dropped to 96 degrees, and she wanted a photo of herself with the sign in the background. I don't know what the high for the day was, but it seemed unlikely that we saw the sign at the high for the day. It had probably dropped several degrees from its high already. It might have even cracked 100, I told Karolina, but unfortunately she wouldn't have a photo to prove it.

Later in the evening, we headed to Vons to do our grocery shopping and resupply for the next eight days on the trail. We also went next door to Kmart so I could buy an SD card for my camera. Originally, I had planned to copy photos from my camera to my laptop to make space for more photos, but now that my laptop was broken and no longer with me, I couldn't copy photos off and I needed another SD card for more photos.

Even the buttons to cross the street fascinated Karolina. So much so that she had to take a photo of one! Of course, I had to take a photo of her taking a photo of one, because that's the part I found amusing. =)

We also picked up a few snacks and goodies that we didn't find at Vons like Orchard-flavored Skittles.

I should also point out... in Vons, we picked up a new friend that Karolina named Madam Butterfly. It was a helium-filled balloon and we got the idea in our head to attach it to our packs like we were trying to lighten our load. It could be part of our music video, and we both liked the absurdity of carrying a giant, helium-filled butterfly balloon into the wilderness. =)

"And it doesn't weigh anything," I pointed out. "Throw it in the air, and it flies away!"

So we bought Madam Butterfly, our newest travel companion for the next section of trail.

Finished with our shopping, we decided to grab a late dinner at Taco Bell on the way back to the hotel, but it had closed already. It closed at 9:00, and when we arrived, it was 9:02. Argh! Two minutes? We missed it by two minutes?!

Fortunately, there was also a Carls Jr nearby and they were still open, so we grabbed dinner there before heading back to the hotel.

Karolina had purchased a beer--an American beer that she'd been craving since we had left Mammoth Lakes--but it was a bottle and neither of us had a bottle opener. I guess she didn't think to get a can or something that she could open on her own, but I had a plan.

I took the beer to the front desk of the hotel and ask if they had a bottle opener we could use. The desk clerk did, although it took her a few minutes to find it. Crisis averted!

Karolina drank her beer, then it was off to sleep. We needed our rest, for tomorrow, we were going back to the trail!

Lots of murals in Bishop!
The wildlife in Bishop was so tame!

It was a hot day! And the temperature was already dropping!
We picked up a new traveling companion: Madam Butterfly. She would help make our loads lighter and carry our packs! =)

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