An Unforgettable Weekend Scouting the Backroads of California's Highway 395

2017 Tacoma TRD Pro (Ted), three buds, and an open road, or trail...

By: Benjamin Canevari
November 11, 2016

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My buddy Luke got his hands on a brand new Tacoma TRD Pro so naturally we had to take it out for a maiden voyage and see what it could do! 

Jack and I met up with Luke and we headed out for a few days. Neither one of us have ever been through the Tioga Pass before so we took that route. We had no idea how much of Yosemite we were missing, typically we stick to the spots in the Valley. Great news, we have new spots to explore! 

First stop was Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine. We got in after dark and set up camp. You wouldn't believe how clear the skies are out there. The Milky Way showed up nice and early for us, super nice so we could get our beauty sleep. Unfortunately, the wind was HOWLING all night and I don't think any of us slept for more than an hour. Poor Jack, my golden retriever, is not a fan of the wind and was stressed all night. I need to get him some puppy ear muffs or something.

The next day was worth the lack of sleep. We got to explore the Hills in the daylight and check out some of the 4x4 trails with the truck. The main goal was to find a spot for a photo shoot for the truck. We were planning on getting climbers and slackliners out to shoot with. So far life has gotten in the way and we haven't been able to set up the shoot. But someday it will happen!



Jack was a champ throughout the whole trip, lots of time in the car when I know all he wanted was to be running around free as a bird. It's a good thing he just loves being out and about with us whether he's in the car or running, swimming, or chasing his toys.


At least Jack got to do it all!


This was one of a few hot springs in the area. There were some people that had set up camp right next to the spring. Not cool. The locals that were there were pretty upset. Nobody was at the camp though for hours and the locals took off right after we got there, so we had it to ourselves. Jack is beyond obsessed with water, so yes he went for a quick swim. The water was super hot so I made him get out right away. 

We tried to camp at Mono Lake for the night but they wouldn't give us a permit for dispersed camping due to an extremely high fire hazard. So Luke got in touch with one of his buddies and he recommended a few spots for us. Since we had 4 wheel drive we were able to take some back roads to get to a beach on Lake Crowley. Best idea ever. We were the only ones there the whole time. 

We got to in just before sunset and set up the camp. Of course Jack snuck into the water while we weren't looking. We lit a fire to cook dinner and help Jack dry off before dark. As soon as the sun dropped, the temperature did too. We stayed up for a bit and took some photos of the night sky, and then we passed out.

The temperature dropped to around 20 degrees that night. I woke up and Jack was shivering next to me. I couldn't tell if he was dreaming or cold. So just to be safe I put my sweatshirt on him (yes his legs went through the arm holes and everything), covered him with the other half of his Therma Rest blanket, and topped it off with my snow jacket. He tucked his head under my sleeping bag and fell back asleep. He didn't move for the next four hours when we woke up for sunrise.


We packed up and got ready to leave. But not before ripping around the beach with Ted!


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.