Carne Lowgren – ‘A great loss’

By Charles James

Last Friday, March 29th, the California Highway Patrol reported that a bicyclist had died at about 10:35 a.m. after being struck along U.S. 6 and Chalfant Loop Road, about 12 miles northeast of Bishop, California. Information on the identity of the bicyclist was withheld pending notification of next of kin, and then later identified as Carne Lowgren of Chalfant.

A 76-year-old driver from Hammil Valley, Calif., told CHP that she was traveling on U.S. 6 about 50 mph in her Chevrolet Impala when the bicyclist unexpectantly turned in front of her car. The Impala hit the bicyclist, who died.

Lowgren was a well-known local personality in the Eastern Sierra. He worked as a columnist for The Inyo Register for several years. His “Uncommon Sense” column, which covered a wide-ranging eclectic commentary on social, political and cultural topics, appeared in the Tuesday editions of the Register. An avid outdoorsman, Lowgren also wrote articles that have appeared in Backpacker and Rock & Ice magazines.

The Managing Editor of the Register, Terrance Vestal, said that “We first heard of the accident over the emergency scanner in their Bishop office, but we did not realize that it was our friend and coworker Lowgren whose name was being withheld at the time. When we later found out, we were devasted, as are so many others that knew him. It’s heart-breaking and a great loss.”

Lowgren was 65 years old. A retired CalTrans employee, he told many of his friends that he was looking forward to his retirement and spending more time with his wife, Deborah, who he loved greatly. He also looked forward to traveling with her and becoming more involved in the community. His friends and coworkers described him as witty, intelligent, a great poet, an observer of humankind, and a talented musician.

According to a CHP officer who had been at the scene, Lowgren was riding his bicycle southbound on Highway 6, towards Bishop. The driver of the car told them that she saw him, and that she slowed and moved over several feet to give him room. She went on to say that Lowgren suddenly turned in front of her car and she could not avoid hitting him.

Based on the reports so far, no arrest has been made as a result of the crash and the driver of the Chevy Impala was not injured.


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6 Responses to Carne Lowgren – ‘A great loss’

  1. Kenneth C. Hargens April 10, 2019 at 8:29 am #

    My name is Kenny Hargens. I met Carne and Deb a couple years ago when they came to visit the Black Hills and our mutual friend Craig Olofson. We had great fun motoring about in my 4×4 van visiting historical areas and old gold rush town sites. It was a great time and I wished they had been here longer. I feel I am a better person for having met Carne, and Deb, and for having been exposed to Carne’s philosophy and talents. I share the sadness and sense of loss of Deb and Carne’s many friends. Ken Hargens

  2. Julie Nellis April 10, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    When I first met Carne about 20 years ago, I knew he was unique guy, who I instantly liked. I was always interested in hearing his opinion on things. He was intelligent, funny, warm and humble. I was part of many conversations with him and friends over the dinner table or around the campfire. The conversation was always better when he was part of it. When I first heard about what happened, I just felt so shocked and then an overwhelming feeling of loss. When driving back into town the Sunday after he died, it just felt weird being here knowing he is gone. He was one of my first friends when I moved here. I was planning on going to Carne and Deb’s talk next Saturday, looking forward to hearing Carne read his poetry and play his guitar. I was looking forward to seeing the slides of all the places he and Deb had camped and hear Carne’s description of how he makes cowboy coffee on his tail gate. He was a unique individual and I miss him more than I can describe. I’m grateful to have known him and will always cherish my memories of him.

  3. James M Rupp April 6, 2019 at 4:39 pm #

    Carne was my friend for more than fifty years. We were Boy Scouts together. When we first moved out our parents houses we rented an apartment together. We got in trouble. We drank a lot of beer. We walked many dusty trails together. We got to more than a few mountain peaks through the years.
    Carne knew the meanings of big words. Not the type of word you would have to look in a dictionary to find out what it means. He knew that awesome does not belong with some fast food burger but it does fit nicely with a high altitude sunset or thunder clouds scuttling across the desert during monsoon season. Grandeur is the Sierras after the first snow storm. Big words like these made Carne happy.
    Carne’s politics and social leanings were left of center but were always backed by fact and thoughtful research. He liked people as a whole and wanted to see the best done for the most.
    I just returned from a six day hiking on Catalina Island that Carne was going to be on. He was supposed to be at my house on Saturday March 30th; the day after he was killed. The news devastated me but I did the hike because I knew he would had the situation been reversed.
    Carne did not believe in a higher power and in general scoffed at any organized religion so prayers do not need to be offered because in Carne’s own words “If there is a hell when I die I will be spent straight to hell and roast on a huge barbecue spit.
    I loved Carne as one of by best friends. Tears will continue to come in the next weeks but I understand Carne’s book is finished and man the joy he gave the ones who were a part of it.

    • Craig S. June 10, 2019 at 6:15 pm #

      Jim Rupp!

      I’m very sad and didn’t find this link until tonight.

      From Texas,

      Craig S.

  4. Charles James April 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

    This was a difficult article to write, especially so because it involved someone that I greatly liked, admired and have known for many years going back to a time when both of us wrote articles and commentary at The Inyo Register.
    Carne and I are were both children of the progressive 60s and 70s; a time which greatly defined our politics and philosophy on life. We agreed on most things from politics to social and cultural phenomenon. And we also occasionally disagreed, which was the beauty of knowing Carne—he deliberately and creatively challenged others, including his friends. It was a gift. He was truly a modern-day Renaissance Man.
    Initial reports of the accident were confusing, and errors made in initial reporting have largely been corrected. On the other hand, nothing in the correct details will change the final tragic outcome—We lost a dear friend and a tremendous community asset.
    While my heart and thoughts go out to his family, I also want to express my heartfelt condolences to the people at the Imagination Lab, where he often shared his many talents, and especially to the people working at The Inyo Register. They lost both a good friend, a great writer, and a talented colleague. The Register’s Managing Editor Terrance Vestal’s comments in Tuesday’s newspaper were well done and a fitting tribute to Carne’s memory.

    • Craig June 10, 2019 at 6:13 pm #

      I was saddened as well when I heard about Carne’s passing. We went to the same high school and roomed together (1974) in the house he grew up in … his parents rented it to us for $100/month. In June of 1974, I stopped by his parents house in Moro Bay, CA to jump into his VW for the road trip north to climb Mt. Ranier.

      In the many years since those days and on occasion, we reconnected to discuss those youthful exploits. Along the way, we diverged with our personal philosophy, but deep down, there was always some mutual respect and the common ground of music …

      … I will say he had a much more adventurous life than mine 🙂



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