Excerpt from trip 1, 1998. Mike Gibbons, Mike Galli and I are finally on the road, heading towards the Sierras, Yosemite and our ultimate destination for today, the town of Lone Pine, CA. If the Sierras are a spine, Lone Pine site at the base of the lumbar region, down near the bottom along Highway 395.
THE MOUNT WHITNEY JOURNALS – Book I – 1998
At long last, we are on the road with Gibbons driving the first shift. We have, however, no schedule to keep on our way to the town of Lone Pine at the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada. Lone Pine, at an elevation of about three thousand feet above sea level is the departure point of choice for most groups heading up Mount Whitney, which stands to the west of town. This being my first trip ever with Mike Galli, I am introduced to a revolutionary way of traveling: The novel concept of stopping along the way, walking around, and admiring the scenery. For Gibbons and I, this amounts to heresy. The Volta/Gibbons method of travel has always been the “old school” method passed on to us by our fathers, and taught us that here is Point A, there is Point B and everything in between is nothing but a wasteland, a nuisance to be traveled through as expeditiously as possible. Stopping to urinate was allowable only if brain and kidney damage were demonstrably imminent. In most instances on past trips, when Gibbons and I were going somewhere, we were usually rushing to get to a tee time at a golf course. Or we had an important appointment to keep with a blackjack or crap table, which made stopping not so much a physical impossibility as it was an emotional one. If forced at gun point, we could have stopped at a stream, a lake or a meadow and perhaps acknowledge the beauty of the scene, but in the forefront of our minds, as we gazed out at the fields spread green before us, it would only serve as a reminder of the green felt of the crap tables calling to us from the casinos or I would look out at the unspoiled wilderness thinking that it would make a fabulous par-5.