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Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

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Los Altos...
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Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

I'm looking for recommendations on where to stay overnight to do this all in two or three days.

Here's the situation: On the way back to the Bay Area from Palm Springs on New Year's Day, my elderly father has it in his mind to visit Manzanar, then Ridgecrest to see friends, and then back to San Francisco Bay Area.

The park is actually open on Jan. 1, so that part looks OK. I'd welcome your thoughts on the following:

1. I figure it will take about five hours to go from Palm Springs to Manzanar, and we could spend an hour or two in the park, then check into a hotel somewhere, get dinner and call it a day. Where do you recommend that has decent motels and some selection of food? Lone Pine? Independence?

2. The next day, Jan. 2, I figured we could stop in to visit the friends in Ridgecrest for a couple of hours and head home via Hwy 58 and Bakersfield to I-5. If traffic is OK and ol' Dad isn't too tired we can do it all in a day, or break it up into two days. Any thoughts?

3. Road conditions? I presume the elevations are low enough (4,000 feet) that we won't have to contend with snow.

Feel free to weigh in.

San Diego
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1. Re: Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

Hi Bings, We have stayed in Independence at the Winneduma(spelling?) hotel. it is right on 395 across from the courthouse. We like the historical feel of the place but I don't remember lots of restaurant choices. I believe we walked across the street to a little cafe. The hotel also does brkfst. Good luck on you rtrip.

San Francisco
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2. Re: Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

Here is the suggestion I gave someone else. I have stayed in almost every town along 395 from Death Valley to Reno, and for what you are looking for, I'd suggest Lone Pine.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60787-i990-k81151…

Independence is a wonderful place, aside from being the county seat and very quiet. The Eastern California Museum there has exhibits about the internment that your father might be interested in as a supplement to seeing Manzanar itself. The home of the author Mary Austin ("Land of Little Rain" et al) is there also. The lodging and dining options are not that extensive. Lone Pine will give you lots more choices.

On rare occasions, there can be snow. For many U.S. citizens by birth who had always lived in places like San Francisco or Los Angeles, one of the torments of Manzanar, Topaz, Tule Lake, Poston, etc. that made the loss of freedom worse was the Great Basin climate. I've seen historic pictures of Manzanar with snow on the ground. Even if it does not snow, be prepared for bone-chilling cold and winds that can feel like a knife blade. The humidity is very low and dehydration is not so obvious in winter, so even if it is cold, be sure to stay hydrated.

San Francisco
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3. Re: Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

About the last leg of the trip, it'll be a long day, especially after visiting in Ridgecrest, but it can be done. It's a little over an hour from Lone Pine to Ridgecrest. Then you have that stretch of 14 that fluctuates between freeway and undivided, then whatever rural highway you take from 99 to I-5. After that it's all freeway.

You could stop at Lost Hills and/or Harris Ranch for a bite. When I drive back from the Death Valley area, I take 152 to pick up 101 at Gilroy, and I usually include a stop at Casa De Fruta. Unless one or both of you are really tired, you could be back in S.F. the same night. Not counting any stops or side trips you make, the distance is a little under 500 miles.

Los Altos...
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4. Re: Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

Thanks to both of you. I appreciate the info on towns, since my sister was insisting that Independence looked like a better bet (what her source of information was, I'm not sure).

I really would rather go up there in the summer -- and almost did last June, but couldn't get away. Since Dad wants to do it, and if the weather won't be an impediment, it seems like this is my best chance for now.

I remember driving from Death Valley to SF in spring 2005 when the wildflowers were putting on their show and it was a long haul to do in one day, but if the car is comfortable enough, seems like we should.

5. Re: Lone Pine vs. Independence for short overnight stay?

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