It looks like we can take this off my recommended list, at least while they make repairs. A big rig full of hay went out of control on 395 entering Lone Pine about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday and checked into the motel, which is one of my go-to places in town. It sounds like no one was seriously hurt, but it also appears that the motel, at least that part of it, will be out of commission for awhile.
In the photo with the trailer into the building, you are looking SW at the north wing of the older of two buildings. The building is like a squared-off C shape with the opening on 395 and the fire section would be the top of the C, with parking and a small pool in the middle. (A newer annex is out of view, west of this building). The main street with the crosswalk is 395, and the cross street is Statham Way; north across Statham from the motel, and out of view, is a Shell station with Carl’s Jr.
In the Sierra Wave picture looking north, showing the building on fire, at the extreme right is the side of the El Dorado Bank. You can just see the mural on the wall of a historic Mt. Whitney ceremony that involved Father Crowley, who had a parish in Lone Pine. This is the other side of Statham Way, but the name changes to Locust (that's the street where his church was, after it moved from Main Street because the Dow Hotel wanted to expand and bought the church's land).
A few observations:
There are no onlookers, unusual even in a small town. Everyone runs out to see a fire. There aren’t even hotel guests milling around. It may be that COVID saved lives by reducing tourism, because a normal Saturday night in the summer sees tons of visitors staying in Lone Pine. I’ve stayed at this place often, sometimes on days off from working in Death Valley, a few times in the wing that was hit, with my car parked about where the ladder is standing. At 4:30 a.m. in a typical summer travel season, this could have been a multi-casualty event.
The driver was 73 years old. Repeating, this happened at 4:30 a.m. Not saying that's relevant to the accident, but how many of us have felt drowsy after driving maybe all night, even when we were 30? Or could he have had a medical problem?
The detailed report on KOLO TV tells me it was a slow news day in the Sierra. This is a Reno station which would normally have little cause to be interested in Lone Pine, other than the closure of 395 which is a main street from Reno to everywhere south.