After 15 days in Bishop, California, we’ve finally changed scenery. We had a fantastic time there; there were more places to see and more rock to climb, but we had to move on sometime. We thought we would give a little break-down of our stay in the area – what we did, what we ate, where we stayed, etc.
February 16th – March 2nd, 2015
Where to stay:
Vons / Kmart parking lot:
- We made this parking lot our home for all but one night in Bishop. Staying here for “free” is completely acceptable (I say “free”, because we did spend enough money in the Vons to make us paying customers…).
- About halfway through our stay, we realized we could park close enough to the Kmart entrance to get reasonable WiFi. This was a great discovery, because it meant we didn’t have to feel like we had to go to a coffee shop to get caught up with the rest of the world. Most places (other than Starbucks) seem to close around 6pm, so it doesn’t give you much time in the evening. We do have a T-Mobile data plan while we’re travelling, but the connection was pretty weak in Bishop (it’s an AT&T town).
- $35.00/night for full hook-up.
- The showers were free and the laundry was cheap, $1.25/wash, $1.00/dry. There were drying lines out in a little courtyard, which meant we could air-dry most of our laundry before we left, making a nice bonus!
- The sites were pretty cramped, so I would fully expect it to be a bit “cosy” during the busy season to say the least, but in February, it was perfect for a night.
Where to shop:
- Vons (aka Safeway): This was almost the cheapest grocery store (it was still expensive, but food was generally expensive in Bishop) and we tried to get most things here.
- Manor Market: This place had a great (but expensive) beer / wine selection and a lot of organic / imported goods. It was a good “treat” store.
Where to eat:
- Schat’s Bakkery: The “touristy” bakery. It’s huge, and has tonnes of fresh bread and different types of sweets / pastries. We went there a few times, trying to get something unusual each time. If you don’t mine excessive crowds (or are able to take your goods back to your RV and enjoy a nice quiet coffee there), it’s worth a visit.
- Great Basin Bakery: A good local bakery with really tasty food and sweet treats. Best to get there early, though, as they tend to sell out of many baked goods by noon.
- Mountain Rambler Brewery: A relatively-new micro-brew pub. We went there for dinner during our first week. The food and beer menu is fairly small, but all the food was good. They didn’t do beer “samplers” because their beer list is limited, but they do half pints. We ordered these, and I’m pretty sure they were more like 3/4-pints, so a good deal for tasting!
- Burger Barn: This is a ramshackle hut on the highway that serves great food – expect a line-up! They have great burgers (local beef), sides (onion rings, fries, yam fries, etc), salads, milkshakes, etc. All good!
Where to shower:
- The Wash Tub: It’s a laundromat that also has two showers. It’s $5.00/shower, BUT you get a clean towel each time. The cost may be slightly expensive ($10/couple), but it’s still cheaper than spending $35.00/night at an RV park. The owners were super friendly and were starting to give us fresh-from-the-dryer towels by the end of our stay.
Where to drink:
- Black Sheep Coffee Roaster: This is where the climbers go. It has a very laid-back atmosphere, free WiFi (they don’t seem to care how long you stay!), and pretty decent nibbles (if you stay long enough and get peckish). They roast their own beans and brew their own beer ($4.00/pint after 4pm), how can you complain with either of those?!
- Mammoth Lakes Brewing Company: While we didn’t make it out as far as Mammoth Lakes, we did sample their local beer. Highly recommend any of their brews!
Where to recycle:
- It’s weird. There are many recycle bins around town for plastic bottles, aluminum and glass, but no paper!! So we had two trips to the local recycling depot, just outside of town. If you’re a recycler, you’ll probably have to do the same.
Where to fill-up and dump:
- The Shell station (heading out of Bishop) has RV dump and water fill for $12. With not staying at an RV park, we made use of this a few times, however, we felt it was slightly pricey (given that the “old price” of $5/dump was still quite visible under the “new price” sign…). What can you do? Needs to be done, and it seemed to be the best (only?) local option.
Where to cycle:
- There are a couple of really nice loops around the town of Bishop. Doing a full loop (as given in one of the cycling guide books) took us about two hours. We were able to find nice one-hour loop modifications of the longer one.
Where to get Beta:
- Wilson’s Eastside Sports: This is probably the biggest and most well-equipped sports store. We bought a few guidebooks here and another bouldering pad. Friendly staff!
We really enjoyed our time in Bishop. It’s a laid-back town, with really great climbing a stone’s throw away, I have no doubts we’ll return for more and we could easily have stayed for longer!
Now time for some climbing in Joshua Tree National Park!