2003 Trips (15)

Trips taken in 2003.

Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Reports - Rendezvous - Going Home Rush

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Going-home Rushes

Sunday, March 2 , 2003
by John Page

It was still dark, early Sunday morning, when the rain started banging on the corrugated metal roof of the tool shed I had confiscated for the weekend, waking me up with a jolt. Great, I thought, now we’re going to have sticky mud on the flats and slimy mud on the hills. Besides, on Saturday, someone had gotten stuck in mud in Arroyo Seco del Diablo, even before this heavier rain. To make it worse, once we take the Diablo Dropoff we can’t turn around and come back, so we have to run the Fish Creek drainage, no matter how mucky it gets. Maybe I should cancel the trip?

A few hours later, the sun and a light breeze were drying out the Anza-Borrego desert and I was feeling a bit more confident. Six vehicles joined me in what I hoped would be an interesting run from Ocotillo to S22 at the western boundary of the Park. These brave souls included Betty Wallin and Don Sweinhart, Robb Anderson, Ana Romero, Allan and Ding Wicker, Gordon Lohan, and my buddy from a couple of Baja trips, Dick Taylor.

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Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Report - Pinto Mining

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March 8 - 9, 2003
by Alan Romspert
Images by John Page

Friday the 7th of March was a beautiful day, the weather persisting for the whole weekend. By evening all participants had arrived with John Page in his Toyota pickup being the last to arrive preceded by Dave Welbourn in his GMC pickup. While the good Allan and I were out exploring the Virginia Dale Mine in his battered FJ-40 Landcruiser we heard traffic on channel 13 which turned out to be Bill Ott in his Blazer and Dick Taylor in his Toyota truck with popup tent. With me in my Nissan Pathfinder we made a crew of six.

We spent Friday night in Owl Wash off the Gold Crown Road around a nice Bill Ott fire. The only unsettling occurrence was when Schoenherr discovered he had forgotten his steak so was looking forward to a meatless dinner. Luck was with him in that John Page had an entire rotisserie chicken, which he shared. About 9 PM the wood had been burned and everyone retired to their abodes. Temperatures got into the mid 30’s that night.

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Arroyos Loop

Saturday, March 1, 2003

Led by Marv Patchen      

Reported by Allan Schoenherr

Our official leader, Marv Patchen, met us (all 23 vehicles) at the Carrizo Badlands Overlook in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There he stood, a slight man, with his old straw hat sewed together with yarn, and prepared us for our trip through the scenic Carrizo  Badlands. He proved to be a knowledgeable guide. He is a resident of Canebrake, a nearby community that originally was established as a group  of homesteaders. It is now a well-maintained desert outpost with a winter-resident population of about 50 and a summer-resident population of 3. Marv told us he retired in 1975 (You do the math). We had a glorious day, a little bit windy, but warm and sunny. Marv talked to us about the scenery and the geology. His CB was a little weak so we relayed his information to the group with a CB relay.                    

Our trip took us down Canyon Sin Nombre where we traveled through nearly 4 million years of geologic time. The canyon follows the Elsinore Fault trace, and the evidence of right lateral movement was displayed in the warping up and down of the ancient lake  sediments. Our first stop was at a slot canyon cut deeply by flowing water into the sediments. Marv led us up the canyon to an overlook, gaining several hundred feet in elevation without cracking a sweat or showing signs of deep breathing, not so for many of our participants. After taking  in the view, we made our way back down to the wash where we pushed out the first of our stuck vehicles, verifying once again that a few people pushing can usually get a vehicle unstuck in sand. No names shall be mentioned to protect the innocent.

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The story of Neal's Mexico Rescue - All five versions!

Size Counts (story #1)

by Marian Johns

I know what all of you are thinking, but in this case, it was a bigger hammer we needed, rather than the smaller one we pack along on our desert travels. A big hammer and a small Mexican named Pancho saved the day. Actually, the real heroes of this drama were some incredible friends – Bob and Marilyn Martin and John Page – who came 500 miles when we called for help. Plus, there was a little instrument of modern technology called a satellite phone, courtesy of son (and satellite tester), Jonathan, which was an indispensable item that enabled our rescue. 


A week of exploring and wildflower viewing near Cataviña in Baja (about 300 miles south of the border) started off well enough as we “oohed” and “aahed” at the solid blankets of orange poppies covering the hills along I-15 between Corona and Lake Elsinore. But fate had other plans, and she dealt us a hand with a few unpleasant surprises. First of all, Neal’s bridge broke as he was pigging out on Jelly Bellies we had just purchased at Tom’s Farms. After considering different options, we found a dentist in Escondido who temporarily cemented it back in place. By the time Neal’s teeth were fixed, it was too late to cross the border, so we camped in the boonies near Tecate on the U.S. side.

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Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Reports - El Mirage Windsailing Trip

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El Mirage Land Sailing

April 5 and 6, 2003

Led and reported by Bob Martin

There had been rain and the El Mirage BLM hot line recorder had failed, so on Wednesday Marilyn and I drove down to the lake to see if it was open or closed. There was a little water where the road entered the lake, and all the signs proclaimed the lake closed. It looked dry enough to us. So on Thursday I called the Barstow office to find out. The Field Office Manager, Tim Read, told me he thought it was open but would find out and call me back. He did and said  it was open and the signs were being changed. So I e-mailed those who had said they wanted to come to say the trip was on.

It had turned cold, and the wind was up when I went down Friday afternoon.

Saturday about 9:15 a.m. Craig  Baker arrived. We assembled a double sailer, and I showed Craig how to  sail. Betty Wallin and Don Sweinhart rolled up in Don’s motorhome about  9:30 a.m.. We quickly assembled another double sailer, and I showed Don  the “ropes”. He soon had Betty ensconced, and they were off in the wind (which was blowing 18 to 20 mph with gusts to 35). It wasn’t long  before Craig graduated to the single seat Chubasco sailer. Didn’t see  him again till lunch.

The cold wind and sailing continued all day.

About 3:30 p.m. Chuck and  Jeanice Kalbach arrived. They had planned to come down Friday, but their motorhome had other ideas. Neal and Marian Johns rolled up about 4 p.m.  Craig, Don and Betty and the rest crowded into our motorhome and drinks and hors d’ouvres, along with good conversation, ensued.

All had brought food for the pot luck, and when we began to lay it out you could hear groans about being too full of hors d’ouvres. It must have been in jest as the plates I saw were overflowing. By 8:30 p.m. everyone was ready to call it a day, and all but Don and Betty headed home.

Sunday it was still windy, blew  all night. Don had some things he needed to do so we packed up the sailers  and were off the lake by 9:30 a.m..

Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Reports - Weekend with the Olivers

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Mojave Explorers April 2003 field  trip

April 4 through 6, 2003

Reported by Gene Stoops

Bob and Betty Oliver were our hosts at their Joshua Tree estate. I say this because they have made it such a beautiful place and so inviting. They were very gracious hosts, and we will never forget their kindness. Bob is very familiar with the area and led us to some very interesting places over the weekend.

On Friday, April 4th Bob led us to the Keys’ Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park. Originally from Russia, Mr. Keys eventually settled in the Joshua Tree area where he ranched, farmed and mined in the early 1900s. We were met by a Park Ranger who led  us on a wonderful tour of the ranch and grounds around the ranch. She talked about the ranch in its hey day and even had pictures for us to be able to understand what she was showing us. It was very enlightening, and many of us could still see remnants of our past: old equipment, ringer washer, etc.. We then parked at the site of the Barker Dam, explored the area and had lunch. Several dams were built in the area by ranchers trying to harness the water for fields and household use. It was a great day, and in the evening we had a potluck.

On Saturday, April 5th we headed out, with our fearless leader, to some of the gold mines in the Dale Mining District. It is absolutely amazing the sheer labor it took to mine in those days (again early 1900’s). We explored several areas, and the guys always get a kick out of looking over all of the equipment. Along the way Bob told us about some of the other historical sites in the Joshua Tree area. Then we went back to the Olivers’ for another great potluck. Thanks to everyone who brought such tasty food.  Bob was determined to have a campfire, and, finally, the wind let  up on Saturday night. We sat around the fire and captured the beautiful view from the Olivers’. On Sunday Jerry Harada led a few people to  Coyote Canyon were there were many petroglyphs and beautiful wildflowers.

Thanks again to the Olivers for  a wonderful field trip.

Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Reports - Mother's Day Wildflower Trip

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Tiptoe through the Wildflowers on Mothers’ Day

May 11, 2003 Led and reported by Marian Johns

Mothers (and other participants) were honored on this special day with perfect weather and wildflowers  galore. Two of our members (Anna Romero and Jim Proffit) actually brought  their moms, and one mom (Lorene Crawford) brought one of her daughters. 

Twelve vehicles met in Mojave. From there, we drove west on Hwy. 58 and past Tehachapi a few miles to the Tehachapi Loop, where the Santa Fe and Union Pacific track makes a  complete 360 degree loop around and back over itself in order to gain  altitude where the grade would otherwise be too steep. This engineering  feat was built back in 1876. We were lucky enough to arrive at the viewing  area just as a train was circling around on its way uphill. We stayed a while longer and hiked out to a nearby point for a better view of the next  train, which happened to be going downhill.

On our way back to Tehachapi we  admired wildflowers that seemed to be growing everywhere. I was afraid  there might not be too many this late in the spring, but recent rains and cool weather kept the beauties blooming. Being in a train mode, we stopped  in town at the local railroad club’s model train show where we watched  little replicas of a variety of scales going round and round through tiny  villages and countrysides. A block away was the railroad park next to the  tracks where some of us ate our picnic lunches and watched huge locomotives pass by.

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Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Reports - Owyhee River (and More)

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Owyhee River Country & More

May 26-June 2, 2003
Led by Marian and Neal Johns
Reported by Ann Fulton

Where the deer 'n the antelope 'n the Black Angus play.* You know you’re getting close to back country when the markets in the little towns carry all manner of products labeled Western Family. You know you’re in the back country, when your maps don’t show the roads you are traveling, there are infinite numbers of gates to open and close, cattleguards to cross, and there are no power lines, no signs at junctions, no structures, no bridges, no other vehicles, and no town names on the map. We may be more than one up on the 1800's emigrants, with our visible (if only occasionally-graded) roads, GPS’s, satellite phones, and cushy seats in our shock-absorbing Hupmobiles, but there are still a few elements of uncertainty and a sense of adventure beyond the normal realms of travel, as we were to discover.


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Wild, Wonderful, Wide open spaces of Nevada and Idaho

by Marian Johns

Seems Mr. Jaussaud has stood me up again – but I  forgive him because it was for a most important reason. This trip was planned on very short notice (advertised only in the May newsletter) when Bob suggested I lead another trip to Nevada. Unfortunately, major eye problems and surgery precluded the Jaussauds’ participation at the last minute. But six of us – Tim and Alice Cannon, Ann and John Fulton, yours truly and current hubby, Neal – voted to do the trip anyway. Our thoughts were with Bob during our Nevada (and Idaho) escapades, and we sincerely hope that his eye ordeal will be resolved with favorable  results.

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Sunday, 26 January 2014 00:00

2003 Trip Report - Mojave Potluck

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Mojave Potluck

March 15, 2003
Led by Debbie Miller

Reported by John Page

This was Debbie Miller’s first trip as a Desert Explorer Trip Leader, so, as Trip Coordinator, I felt obligated to participate. In addition to probable rain, I resigned myself to suffering through a couple of long days in the Mojave Desert, enduring her looks (lovely), personality (charming), and brains (intelligent). Luckily, there was one other plucky DEx trooper who was willing to make the same sacrifices: our esteemed Treasurer, Ken Sears. Where is Neal when you need him?

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