We spent our spring in Bishop, California. That almost in Nevada, tucked away in a gorgeous valley, little hamlet full of pregnant teenagers, gypsies, and bums. The dog and I started going desert crazy in El Paso early this year. By the end of February it was time to pack the new van, and hit the road.
Bishop is one of the easiest places I’ve found to live in a car. BLM land abounds, as does national forest and LA water and power land. Although it’s often very hard to tell if you’re on one or the other. If city life is more your style, you can sleep in the parking lot at Kmart/Von’s. The Bishop city cops, who aren’t known for their look-the-other-way attitudes, look the other way. Windy, snowy, or rainy days i found myself there. I could ride my skateboard into the store all hours of the night, and use the toilets first thing in the morning. I’ve certainly slept in seedier lots.
On the kinder evenings i would make my way up the Buttermilks Rd and stay on national forest land, or up onto the tablelands. People staying in tents in the tablelands, are often hassled by both forest service, and BLM rangers. They are “ushered” into poorly maintained, and over used pay sites. Typical California money-stealing-bullshit; even threatening to ticket you, for something that is 100% legal.
Hot springs and artesian pools are everywhere in the Bishop/Mammoth Lakes area. We used them like bathtubs on a weekly basis, but always felt even dirtier afterwards. There are 2 swim-able artesian pools in Bishop next to the river off of Line St. They stay at a constant 65 degrees (F) year-round, and they’re pretty clean. Keough hot ditch, which is usually full of partying teen-agers, is 5 miles out of town toward Lonepine. The PAY pool up the hill is worth the money i paid the few times i went. They have showers, lockers, an 85 degree pool you can swim laps in and a HUGE soaking tub (100 F). 30 miles up the hill toward Mammoth Lakes there are many hot springs if you turn at the green church. They’re on LADWP land, and you’re not supposed to camp there, but i’ve never been fucked with for camping at a tub.
Internet is available at The Blacksheep, The Looney Bean, McDonald’s (plugs behind the fish hanging on the wall, and in the playground), Starbucks, Kmart, and most of the motels and hotels. I’m told you can buy a shower at the laundry mat, or at the airport. Fill up water at Giggle Springs, and the forest service office on main street, or if you need a hose, at Manor Market or the RV place on the right on the way to Lonepine. Cheapest gas is the Casino, cheapest wine is Riteaid, and the cheapest groceries are at Joseph’s Bi-rite and smart & final. (I’m told the dumpster diving is pretty good, but i never tried it).