Fossil Falls: Lava, lava, lava

It’s less than an hour’s drive from Lone Pine to Fossil Falls, California.

The crew and I are on Highway 395 heading south through Owens Valley.  Not far out of Lone Pine the wind increases significantly.  By the time we pull over at the rest stop near Coso Junction, it’s a lean-into-the-wind job to cross the parking lot.  Spike and Bridget are oblivious and enjoy their walk around, I guess because they’re close to the ground and, well, they’re dogs.

Not long after we’re back on the highway, the sign for Fossil Falls Recreation Area appears.

Good!  I don’t want to drive in this wind!  We cross the divided highway to get on Cinder Road.  Hmm . . . What a poetic name for a road.  Soon we pass piles of black volcanic rock.

What can I say . . . “Oh, look at the lava!”

Then we see a lot more black volcanic rock.   A huge, red cone looms off to the left.

It’s red. It’s a cone. Okay, let’s go.

The washboard road takes us to the Bureau of Land Management campground.

Barumpity, bumpity. There goes my dental work.

Let me sum up this place right here and now.

You gotta’ love lava to love it here.  As for me, I find lava boring.  It’s black.  It’s old.  It’s jagged.  It’s in piles.  Seen one lava pile, seen ’em all, in my book.

Oh my. Two lava piles next to each other!

Now before all you geology-earth science types get in a snit, I’m talking about campground atmosphere. I’ll let the photo elaborate for me.

Bare bones here. Ground, table, fire ring. Oh, and lava.

The crew and I attempt the hike to see the actual fossil falls, which, by the way, do not involve water.

We don’t get very far.  I just can’t drum up the enthusiasm to seek out a black hole, especially when it’s kind of rough for Bridget and Spike.

All in favor of turning around and going back to camp, raise your right paw.

Not to be entirely negative . . .

It only costs us $3 a night with our Senior Pass ($6 regular price).  It’s quiet and private. Only one other camper is here, a guy with a tent somewhere over beyond that pile of lava.  Or maybe it’s that other pile of lava.  Anyway . . . .

And here we are from another angle . . . ho hum.

The  campsites are barren, but they do have a fire ring and a picnic table.  About five out of the eleven sites are suitable for RVs, three of which are pull-throughs that can accomodate large rigs.  The campground road has a lot of pointy rocks so it’s best to take it slow.  Fortunately, the ground is okay for paws as the volcanic rock is the consistency of small pebbles.

“Spike, look! Come over here! More lava!”

The internet connection is fantastic! 

That’s the primary reason I paid for two nights here.  We leave in the morning.  Needless to say, I don’t feel compelled to post a tender, goodbye slideshow depicting the crew and me romping among the lava piles.

“Okay, we sniffed the lava. Now what do we do?”

I do recommend Fossil Falls if you’re crazy for lava.

It’s also a convenient place to stop if you get caught in the wind like we did.  Sometimes I like a camp because it shortens the next leg of our journey, and that’s what Fossil Falls does for us!

A good place to blog, I do say.


Canine Corner:  “Aren’t I pretty?” by Bridget and Spike

Miss Bridget

“Hey, Spike!  Look at the photo that rvsue took of me.  It’s a glamor shot.  Don’t I look pretty?”

“Um, yeah, you sure do, Bridge.   I think you’re, uh, you’re . . .  beautiful.”

“Do you really mean that, Spike?  Do you really?”

“Yep, I do, babe.  You’re the gal I spend every day with.”

“You’re not putting me on, are you, Spike?  This isn’t a trick, is it?”

“Would I trick you, Bridge.  Now would I?”

“Me? Play a trick on the Bridge? Bwa-ha-ha!”


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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74 Responses to Fossil Falls: Lava, lava, lava

  1. Pat says:

    I agree about the lava, gets boring. Hope you find a better spot for your next stop. Be safe and enjoy.

  2. Marsha says:

    First picture I’ve seen of Bridget where she doesn’t look like someone is gonna yell at her. Your new camera takes great pictures. That doesn’t sound right since you’re actually taking them, but you know what I mean. In any case … lava ROCKS!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right about, Bridget. That “please don’t hit me” look comes from her aversion to having her picture taken. Maybe she’s getting used to it.

  3. DeAnne says:

    Look at it this way, Sue. Not too many people get to see lava, much less sleep next to it! 😉

  4. EmmaJ says:

    Love your blog…..I hate lava rocks too! Did so many years in that area I used to wish martians would abduct me. Outstanding photos you take. Eye candy. Still rolling on the floor laughing about Bridget and Spike. Their Canine Corner makes my day…………..

    We’re on the road in our Casita now. Hopefully, our paths will cross one of these days.

  5. Anne H says:

    The only good things about lava (we see it a lot up here in dormant (usually) volcano country) are:
    – sometimes really big rocks can be very light and you can feel like Wonder Woman when you pick them up
    – some lava tubes are really really smooth and look like black glass or toboggan runs
    – well – that’s really about it. Otherwise, you’re right. It’s pretty boring and can be really sharp on puppy paws.

    Better luck with your next site!!

  6. gingerda says:

    Wow, not a tree in sight. Pretty sparce campground, but I guess the price is right. lol.
    Cute pics of the pups

  7. Have you ever thought about writing a chilren’s book about Bridget and Sandabar with them telling the story? I’d sure buy a couple for my gr. grandkidos. I love your blogs. And the pictues coming off that new camera are sensational!!!
    Betty from Milwaukie, Oregon.

  8. sandsys says:

    Hey, good internet and nothing distracting makes for good computer catchup time. 🙂

    We saw the different types of lava in Hawaii where some of it was being freshly made. Enjoyed that but now it’s been there; done that for me.

    Linda Sand

  9. Donna K says:

    Lava is very good if you want to roast a whole pig!! Heat up rocks, put ’em in the pig…or something like that…

  10. Lisa says:

    Dear RV Sue.. I hope you did take a walk around.. there are petroglyphs and other things to see, besides the boring black lava!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’ve seen a lot of petroglyphs, so I don’t feel deprived about missing these. We walked around (hence the long distance shot of the BLT) and saw some black sand. Maybe in spring there are wildflowers. Oh, I did see a chipmunk and two birds! What did I miss?

  11. Hi Sue,

    I feel bad – you’re surrounded by boring lava while I get to watch the cotton fields roll by, with cotton actually blowing across the highways. But I guess you’ve seen all that, lol!

    Miss. Bridget is one of the most gorgeous poochettes we’ve ever seen – Trotters loves to check out her pics. Well, he likes the pics of Spike too, but don’t tell Bridget that part, lol!

    Lisa and Trotters

  12. Bob says:

    Sue, Agree with you on the lava. Since not much going on now, could you fill us in on how your PTV is performing, such as mpg on different areas and highways. How much fuel can you carry?
    Do you check fuel prices down the road thru gas buddy or what ever is available? Just curious and a little envious.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Bob . . . .If my memory is working correctly, the PTV’s tank holds 31 gallons. The last time I calculated mpg (in southern MT) it came out to a range of 12 mpg – 15 mpg. That was “mixed” types of driving – some stop-n-go,, long mountain grades, smooth easy interstate, some crosswind, and all the while towing the BLT. I’m pleased with those numbers. The manufacturer’s specs for the PTV are 17 mpg, I think, and that’s optimum driving conditions without towing, of course.

      No, I admit I don’t do research on fuel prices down the road. Sometimes I ask the locals. As I’m getting close to needing gas, I notice prices in the area. I get stuck, sometimes, in a touristy area and have to pay more than down the road, but the peace of mind that comes from not running with the indicator on E is worth the extra dollars, IMHO.

  13. tinycamper says:

    The Miss Bridget photo really is a glamor shot! But the second shot of the two of them had me laughing out loud! Spikey is a hoot!

    And yeah… the lava’s pretty boring! 😀

  14. mary strasser says:

    What’s the lyrics of that old Jimmy Buffet song about “lava me now”? Seems like you “lava me NOT”.
    I agree, Bridget is getting more photogenic all the time. Spike better watch his comments.
    Maybe even show some respect!

  15. There are some petroglyphs down in the falls. That may be fun to look at?????

  16. LuAnn says:

    Anything may be a letdown after what you just experienced at Alabama Hills. 🙂

  17. Gaelyn says:

    So you don’t like lava. Looks pretty cool to me. Yet getting good internet in the middle of nowhere beats driving in the wind. I think Bridget may be getting used to the camera.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Gaelyn,

      Lava is pretty cool the first 9 seconds. Maybe if there weren’t so MUCH of it, everywhere. Break it up a little bit with a TREE. Like I said, the internet and a break from the wind are big plusses!

  18. David Horst says:

    I talk to my dog also. Isnt lava a handsoap

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, David! I get to show off my Latin!
      Lava comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’ which means ‘to wash.” I’ve waited many, many years for this moment! Thank you!

  19. Reine says:

    Everything is beautiful…in its own way. It’s just that some things don’t “speak” to us as much as others. Enjoy the internet connection and move on to the next place.

  20. Neita says:

    I would love to see the stars at night at a place like that. Here on the East Coast, there is so much light pollution I can only discern about 10 stars in the sky. It must be magnificent in a wilderness spot like that.

  21. Ed says:

    This Comment has nothing to do with your posting today.
    I just finished reading Dark Paradise by Tami Hoag yesterday. In the novel Marilee, the central female character, adopted a male Rat Terrier from the local animal shelter – and named him Spike.
    Did you read Dark Paradise prior to adopting your first Rat Terrier?

  22. mockturtle says:

    What internet connection do you use, Sue, and [if I’m not being too personal] how much does it cost?

  23. Cheryle B. says:

    Sue, love your blog and double love the Canine Corner!

  24. Levonne says:

    Great post! Love when the doggies get a chance to speak their minds too!

  25. Pat Scrabeck says:

    Bridge–you are a real beauty, and, you, too, Spike–such a handsome devil. Love both of you!!!

    I’m with you on the lava fields– just don’t find them very stimulating. Seen one–seen them all is my theory.

    Hey, Sue, I now have a CA map and I am tracing your route. Gives me something to dream about. The Alabama Hills is definitely one on my list. How I loved all you great pictures. Winter is coming for sure. It was 57 in Sun City this morning but will warm up in the afternoon. Take care of you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It was cold here last night, too! Not cold enough for me to put the heat on. Instead I put on two pairs of socks and my fleece jacket over my PJs to get through the early morning hours.

  26. RV Sue, Enjoy your lava. We seem to have arrived in New England just in time for hurricane Sandy. We’re learning to boondock as we speak so we can stay warm in the storm!

  27. Karen says:

    You can make the boring lava sound funny. Bridget is definitely a girly-girl. I like how you caught Spike in the middle of his laugh. Hopefully you’ll find a place with some nice cool water for Spikey soon. He has to be missing his spa treatments by now.

  28. Timber n' me says:

    Ya,Sue, it’s sure th’ pits, i mean lava pits, no pun intend’d,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but th’ pups save’d th’ day,,,,,,,,,,,,What a crew they are

  29. libertatemamo says:

    Hehehe…you had me laughing on this one. YES I too find Lava boring….totally with you. Things are good here in Alabama Hills, but weather is gettting chilly so you probably left at the right time. Time to be headin’ south again!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It was chilly last night! The great thing about the desert is the warmth comes back during the day. Not like northern NY where I come from… You get chilled the second week of October and you don’t feel really warm again until May, if then.

  30. Rand says:

    Hi Sue — Now you’ll recognize the lava in aquariums.

    Got another uber scenic campo for you..Trona.. its on the way to Death Valley

    “You feel like you’re leaving Earth and driving to a scary hidden planet with no means to survive. There’s nothing here. Absolutely nothing.”
    It is famous for being a movie locale.

    Ridgecrest has a normal Walmart, although abnormally never crowded. The horse corrals east of town are for the captured wild horses.

    Randsburg looks worn and lifeless from the road but I have been fortunate to know some of the colorful characters that made Randsburg a definite halfway-home stop for us. We miss Olga, artist Ginny Olsen and Cowboy Bob. Real chocolate malts at the General Store and dollar cokes at Olgas bar. And we drive away with another new story about desert survival. Ginnys pic is the 6th.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Rand . . .You are so good to post all this information with links for me. I didn’t read it until I had already driven past the places you mention . . . but more about that in the next post! Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I did want to see those wild horses but it was too far out of the way from today’s destination.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      About Trona . . . I considered going there but somewhere I read that the road might not be good for vehicles with trailers or something like that… maybe 4WD required… Anyway, it made me reconsider.

  31. cinandjules says:

    Greetings Sue and Crew

    I never knew lava was visible other than in Hawaii……………..I have learned so much from your blog. Nice campsite………….

    Spike and Bridget…………what a darling picture.

  32. Joy A. says:

    Are you headed through Joshua Trees NP on your way back to AZ?? I thought I recalled you saying that. Anyway, you can either pick up I-15 south out Barstow to Victorville through Apple Valley and on to Joshua Tree’s northwest entrance and continue up to Jumbo Rocks CG. Or, you could go out of Barstow on I-40 to Ludlow then south to Twentynine Palms and in to Joshua Trees northeast entrance and then still Jumbo Rocks CG. I’ll bet you’ll love Jumbo Rocks CG. Lily and I sure do.

  33. Kim says:

    Now what is Bridget thinking about in that glamour shot as she stares into the middle distance? Her next meal? How slim the black lava makes her look? Marrying David Cassidy?

    Nevermind. It’s probably best we’ll never know.

  34. jerry d. barnett says:

    Sue, There are “oasis” in the Mojave desert and Death Valley. With real waterfalls and springs. Just Google Mojave or Death Valley “Oasis and springs”. Great Blog!

    Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2012 01:00:04 +0000 To:

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