Convict Lake

A Mammoth Failure


I was in a mood for an overnight road trip with my girl to chase fall colors so we headed up to Mammoth Lakes past weekend. Little I knew the universe did not want us on the road last weekend.

Mammoth Lakes is 310 miles north of Los Angeles.

I drove around the town before we got on the road to find a gas station with a working air pump. So, after 260 miles just outside of Bishop, when the low tire pressure light came on, I was stupefied. I pulled in to the next gas station and filled the air again impatiently. In hindsight, I should’ve checked the tire more carefully then since it was just one tire that had low pressure. But I didn’t. My mind was set on driving to June Lake while I still had a few hours of daylight.

As we got out of Bishop, a thick dark blanket of clouds swiftly rolled in and began to rain. Then the rain changed to sleet. Then, we were driving through a hail storm. What the… I was sure some of the hail left marks on the roof of my subie. Xena was nervous and whined a little. I assured her that everything was ok. But inside I was thinking, please don’t break my windshield.

June Lake is 20 miles north of Mammoth Lakes.

After we passed Mammoth Lakes, it rained on and off. I thought maybe we escaped from the bad weather. The happy thought was cut short when the low tire pressure warning light came on again. Ugh! I had to wait until June Lake to fill the air in my tires because there was no more gas station on the route. By the time we reached June Lake, the rain clouds caught up with us and so did the hail storm. It was brutal.


Have you been hit in the eye by hail? Now I can say I have. It hurts. It burns and hurts for hours. The universe was yelling at me to go back home.

When we arrived at Mammoth Lakes, it was around 5PM and the temperature was in the 30’s. Brrr. At least the sleet stopped. We were tired from being on the road most of the day and the tire looked ok except the warning light. I decided to take care of the issue first thing in the morning.

I didn’t sleep very well. I guess I was worried about the tire. I got up at 6:30 and went to check the car. I had a flat. Sigh… Apparently, I ran over a screw and the air leaked slowly overnight. In hindsight, I should’ve taken the car to a tire shop when I got in the town on Saturday and not wait until Sunday.

Instead of exploring beautiful lakes around the Mammoth Lakes area, I spent the morning searching for a tire shop that is open on Sundays and calling AAA multiple times. Due to some unexplainable glitch between AAA and the roadside technician, it was already 11:30 AM when the technician finally showed up.

I know pretty much nothing about cars but when he told me my car is ready, I knew my spare tire wasn’t put on correctly. I had to point it out to him. After studying the situation, he realized that the tire was put on reversed. Say, what? What if we just got on the road?

Since it was Sunday, all two tire shops in Mammoth Lakes were closed. Thankfully, I found a shop in Bishop that was open. Next stop, Bishop.

The shop was 40 miles away but it took me an hour to get there since it’s not recommended to drive over 50 mph on a spare tire. I was greeted by Alex at Perez Quality Tires. He was professional and caring. As I hoped, the tire was fixable. He promised me I would be on the road in 15-20 minutes. Thank goodness!

When I finally began to relax, Alex turned to me and said my wheel studs are mangled and I only have two good ones. He wasn’t able to get them until the next day. Due to safety issues, he couldn’t let me get on the road with two good wheel studs. I was dumbfounded. We can’t catch a break!

We were stranded again! This time in Bishop. I texted Steve then emailed my boss. We stayed in Bishop before so I knew Red Roof Inn was pet-friendly. No pet fee! I was going to walk to the hotel which was about a mile away but Alex called his wife, and she and her friend came to the shop to give us a ride to the hotel. Thanks, Alex and Joanna!!

The sequence of the events did not sit well with Steve. He dropped everything and got on the road. After 5+ hours, he met us at the hotel and brought Xena’s food. Finally, after 36 hours of stress, I was able to relax.

The next day, while we were waiting for my car, we drove to Convict Lake. It was a beautiful day and the clear alpine lake was absolutely stunning.



When I thought finally things were looking up, Xena came to me with some white string hanging out on the side of her mouth. It turned out to be a fishing line. Somehow, we were able to pull the fishing line from her but we didn’t know what she ate.


Xena was rushed to a local vet and got an x-ray. There it was. A small 3-pronged fish hook in her stomach.


My jaw dropped. The vet said it was the best scenario because her stomach acid will dissolve it in a few days. Seriously?

The only time she was in distress was when we were struggling to pull the fishing line out of her. After that, even now, she seems fine. She is eating and drinking fine. She brings me a toy so we can play.

I took her to see our vet team yesterday to do a follow-up and to review the x-ray from Monday. Is it really gone? Our vet pointed out that Xena ate a weight along with the hook which I didn’t see on Monday. The hook was in her stomach and the weight was further down in the intestine.

xena's x-ray 10_8_18

Now all of a sudden it was serious again because there could be a string still attaching these two objects. Another x-ray was ordered.

Xena's x-ray 10_11_18

Thankfully, the new x-ray showed that the weight was gone. Xena must’ve passed it. But the hook is still there in her stomach as you can see. Xena is currently on a high fiber diet for the next 2 days. We are hoping the fiber will help her to pass the hook naturally. We have another x-ray scheduled for tomorrow. I am hoping that she can do this on her own with the diet. Because if she can’t, she will need surgery.

My fun overnight getaway turned in to 72-hour suspense. And the story is still going. It could’ve been a lot worse. I am thankful that we came home safely and Xena’s handling this like a champ so I can deal with the situation calmly. By sharing my shortcomings, I hope our story can prevent this type of accident from happening to you and your fur baby. And if you go fishing, please clean up after yourself when you leave so others can enjoy the lake safely.

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Happy Hiking!

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14 comments on “A Mammoth Failure”

  1. Oh no…What an ordeal! Hope Xena passes the hook and does not require surgery. Surgery for ingestion of foreign bodies is one of the most common veterinary emergencies we help people with. Please keep us posted!

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