Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Desert Ramblin

Location, On The Road

I will post this as a catch-up log of the past 7 days on the road when I get Wi-fi some where.

I left home on Wednesday morning at 8:55 AM and had only normal traffic on the drive and arrive at Calico Ghost Town campground North of Barstow, CA about 2 PM. My friends were already there having spent the night in the nearby Boron rest stop. By the way, this rest stop will be closed for about a year and a half while they rebuild it. I wonder if they will still allow overnight camping.

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning we relaxed. Thursday afternoon we walked the streets of Calico Ghost Town which was getting ready for Halloween and the big Ghost Town Haunt weekend.

Friday morning we took the one hour drive to Baker, CA and parked behind The Mad Greek Restaurant in the large lot for RV’s and trucks. Al and Mike arrived shortly after we got there and we took Al’s Pathfinder for a trip to the new Kelso Depot in the Mojave Preserve. The Park Service had this historical train station rebuilt for use as an information and display center for the preserve which was created in 1994 by the Desert Protection Act. We ate our sack lunch in their picnic area before driving to a lava tube the park ranger had told us about. The tube is accessible by a metal ladder. Much of the tube has collapsed as the lava cooled. We next drove to the Aiken Mine which still has all the loading conveyers still in the mine.

After arriving back at Baker, we awaited the arrival of Nobby and Deana from southern CA. The pulled in an hour or so latter. After some snacks we all went to the Mad Greek Restaurant for dinner.

On Saturday we drove to Primm, NV on the California/Nevada border and parked behind Buffalo Bills Casino in the large lot they use for trucks and RV’s. This lot will be our home for a few days. Our goal here is to drive the old Borax Traction Road which originated outside of Death Valley and ended in Nipton south of Primm. Our first obstacle was to get access to the road from Primm. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has closed all access from Primm to keep the ATV’ers from tearing up the dry lake bed and surrounding area. We drove south to the Nipton road and accessed the Traction Road from there. After driving back towards Primm we were stopped by more locked gates and signs the BLM had posted. We did drive further south and found the old road bed as it headed for a railroad siding on the Union Pacific Rail Road.

We ate dinner at the buffet in Primm. It was ok.

On Sunday we drove North on I-5 to the Goodsprings exit and headed west to some old mining areas. After looking over this area we had lunch near an old mine before driving further west to the Sandy Valley where we picked up the traction road. We drove the old road south towards Stateline Pass. At the pass we found the road to be in good condition but it soon ended as if they stopped building it. Our recourse was to back track or take a very old road down into the wash. Of course we took the wash as a way out. After losing the road and driving cross country, we eventually got onto the better road out and ended up at Primm. Unfortunately, we ruined a tire while driving cross country by driving a stick through the side wall.

Dining in the desert.

On Monday we drove back to Baker and then towards Shoshone, CA on Hwy 127 to the BLM area outside of Tecopa, CA. Tecopa is famous for its hot springs. We spent the afternoon exploring old mines east of Tecopa.

On Tuesday we drove towards Pahrump, NV to continue part of the traction road however, the road in both directions was closed by BLM signs. BUMMER!!! We decided to drive south towards Tecopa by a dirt road which also was closed by the BLM. Our only option was to go back to Shoshone and then to Tecopa. While in Shoshone we talked to a BLM officer about the closure areas and found out the Traction Road now lies within BLM Wilderness areas so is closed to all traffic.

That ends any possibility of ever driving the road. We decided to go to China Ranch south of Tecopa and have a date shake for lunch. The temperature had been creeping up, so a date shake really tasted good. After lunch we drove east of Tecopa and explored some open pit talc mines. These were very extensive and went for a couple miles along the hills. Part of the group returned to camp while the rest of use drove further east to more mines. We saw 2 big horn sheep on a ridge above us. A great sighting. We drove by a round about road back to camp and arrived after 5 PM.

The wind came up last night about the time we were ready to go in for the night. I finally pulled the slides on the RV about midnight as the wind was trying to lift the RV. I rocked and rolled all night so consequently got little sleep. The wind is still blowing this morning.