Trip report . Lights in the sky,-- New Fire Truck for Rachel, etc

Message posted by Joe on June 21, 2008 at 19:07:45 PST:

Spent last Thursday night at the campsite just off HWY 375; Saw a tent pitched in the parking area just south of there, so went on to the campsite arrived just after dark in my small RV, no other campers there, and immediately saw a flare to the far south of the base. Didn't have a camera handy, but watched it burn, apparently at the same altitude, without drifting, for what seemed like more than a couple of minutes. Was bright copper colored and an eyebrow shaped arc. Then it flickered out.

A few minutes later, the nearly full (one day past) moon rose, and I figured nothing much else would happen -- but then after the moon was fully up, and maybe 15 minutes after the first flare seemed to burn out, three (apparent) flares lit, in the same general location, looking similar to the spacing and angle of the three stars in Orion's belt. These, unlike the first, seemed to slowly drift downwards.

I wondered why they would be testing flares in the light of a full moon.

About 30 minutes later, I went to sleep for the rest of the night. (I always seem to get there tired from a long drive, and am never very good at staying awake all night).

Around 10:30 am yesterday morning, I was looking toward the base through a small window mounted spotting scope and saw what looked like an odd-shaped white cloud moving from south to north, just above the ridgeline to the south of the Medlin ranch. I couldn't see it without the spotting scope. It was roughly triangular in shape, but uneven, and shifted to look more like the tail section of a airplane, or perhaps the space shuttle (for a moment I thought it was one of the shuttles). Then it appeared to do a banked U turn, reversing direction, the underside appeared black with three copper colored, very bright lights underneath and it quickly descended below the ridgeline.

Nothing else appeared in the sky, at least where I was pointing the spotting scope, for the next hour or so; so, after collecting all the garbage in the area -- including a small green propane tank with bullet holes -- I headed into Rachael for lunch and a shower (in my RV -- more level in the parking lot there).

Pat was, as always, a gracious host. Still the best potato salad I've had, and the blueberry pie wasn't bad either. Apparently the ice machine is broken.

Pat encouraged me to stay for today's firetruck celebration -- a small town in California has donated an older bright yellow fire engine to Rachel. I lingered for a bit, but left an hour or so later, as I needed to be on the west side of Yosemite today, drove watching for the new fire engine all the way to Tonapah. I was a bit concerned as I didn't see it, Pat was expecting it within "an hour or two" but jsut when I'd given up, I found it at a gas station just a bit north of Tonapah. Took a photo of the truck and the three guys driving it which I'll try uploading here later.


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