Several weekends, when we did not want to travel far, but wanted to get away from the smoke from the fires that burned Lake Tahoe, we drove to Markleeville, CA (about one hour from Carson City), Bridgeport, CA, and Mono Lake, CA area. You can get to Yosemite by driving down Highway 395 until you reach Highway 120.
Also, Topaz Lake is on the way down 395 from Gardnerville, about 20 minutes… I was disappointed when I went there because a wonderful beach that I used to be able to go to has been closed off, so now you either have to pay to go to the beach or live there on a beachfront property. Perhaps if you stay at a motel/lodge there, you get access to the beach. But we drove around and around and could not find anything but a boat launch area and no parking everywhere.
When I lived in Carson City, from 1998 to 2002, Topaz Lake was easily accessible. And when I lived here then, I did not explore these towns, did not have a dog and was very busy working all the time. Having a dog leads to new travel adventures. When you want to take your dog to different places to run around and go crazy off leash. It was fun to visit all of these places nearby that I had never gone to.I always love going to Davis Creek in Washoe Valley, which is north of Carson City about 10 minutes. There are wonderful trees, also a little pond and you can camp out there. I just go for the day and took Cici there also. Until it started getting too crowded with school busses filled with kids, other people with their dogs, and tourists. She loved running around chasing squirrels and other wildlife…
Just above Davis Creek is a little store that sells all kinds of goodies, homemade and otherwise. Unique gifts, hot jams and jellies, cactus and all sorts of fruits and veggies, pies, cookies, sweets, etc.There’s a Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory above Davis Creek, as well as a Chocolate Nugget on the way to Virginia City off Highway 50.
Virginia City is a really fun place, a place set back in time. Cici loved social butterflying herself around, meeting people. We visited some of the stores that would allow me to bring her inside. The cool thing about Virginia City is that it is a replica of an old gold rush town, with museums, gift shops and taverns. It’s one of my favorite spots to visit near Carson City. There’s a Mark Twain Book Store, mines where you can dig for gold and gemstones, the Virginia and Truckee (V&T) Railroad and several museums including the Mark Twain Territorial Enterprise newspaper Museum and a Gambling Museum. I also remember some kind of a honky tonk show place where you could dress up like a hooker, but I don’t see that listed on the website…
Did not visit the Grover hot springs in the park in Markleeville, but it seemed like a nice place. We just meandered around town looking for a nice park or place to cool off. Found a little respite a few miles east of town finally. Not a place to let Cici off leash. A librarian told me about a school on the way back out of town, towards Woodfords, where I was able to let her run around. I spotted an overnight campground place on the way into town, and tried to let her offleash there and got yelled at by the caretaker. Overall, it seemed like a nice town. Good for hiking, camping and taking a dip in the hot springs.
On another occasion, we drove down the 395 for two hours and arrived in Bridgeport, CA. Another very small town, expensive accommodations, at least that is what people told me. And Cici enjoyed chasing after skateboarders. We ate turkey burgers at a local joint and inquired about places to let her loose. Not much. We were directed to a few campgrounds. Cici loves fishermen, too. And she splashed around a bit in the water. She tried to catch some fish which was hilarious to watch.After awhile, we decided to head further south to find a beach where Cici could run off leash near Mono Lake, to no avail. All were crowded, campgrounds were filled up and there were just too many dogs and people.
The Visitor’s Information people were very helpful and called up the Virginia Settlement people and got us a camping tent site for the night for about $12. Thought that we might be able to get a covered wagon but the tent site was all they had available, they just had a cancellation so we were lucky to get it. The Virginia Settlement is about five minutes south of the town of Bridgeport, 5 miles south of Bridgeport on Highway 395, so we drove back up from Mono Lake. The settlement has wireless internet, a nice restaurant, it’s like a tiny little community. If you blink your eyes, you will miss the place. The people were very friendly and accommodating there. The only thing that I did not like was it was too smoky from the campfires and a bit crowded.
But the tent site was amazingly spacious, private, surrounded by trees and bushes, and each has a campfire pit and water. Cici slept in the car because she was just too jazzed up about all of the other dogs. Plus, this family across from us also had llamas. I slept on the grass in my sleeping bag. The guy even gave me a padded mat to make it more comfortable. Cici befriended the folks across from where we stayed. They were sleeping in a covered wagon. Seemed nice and private and very small, basically a bed but the price was only $22, $10 more than the tent site. They also have cabins and a motel there. It was quite cold at night and the stars were beautiful to behold. A lot of people come here to fish.
More about the town of Bridgeport…
This looks like a nice dog friendly place to stay, nearby.
http://www.walkerriverlodge.com/ammenities.htmand an RV park…