Brief Rendezvous Retrospective
Nipton, California - March 20 - 22, 2009
by Allan Wicker
The 2009 Desert Explorers Rendezvous in Nipton was a resounding success. All of the key components, including cooperative weather, came tog, her neatly to yield this result. There were ample opportunities for participants to meet and chat informally—and they did. Small groups formed and reformed around the Nipton town site when no events were scheduled. The two-part keynote talk (on the Mojave Outback Explorers and on the history of Mojave County, Arizona and beyond) by Dan Messersmith was both entertaining and informative. His brave strategy of inviting the audience to ask questions about the County assured that he would be addressing topics that interested us, including Mormon settlements and practices, mining, treatment of the native Americans, and early days in Kingman, AZ. Many thanks, Dan. Jerry Freeman’s talk and slide presentation on the history of Nipton was very well received by a standing-room-only group in Freeman Hall. The event was a re-christening (perhaps I should say re-dedication) of the newly renovated old school house building. Jerry’s carefully selected photos of Nipton through the years included several shots of silent film star Clara Bow and her beau, Rex Bell, frequent visitors to Nipton. The silent auction, flawlessly run by Alan Romspert, gave everyone a chance to enhance their reputations as collectors, and yielded several hundred dollars we can use for worthy causes. I heard nothing but favorable comments about the dinner catered by the Rib Company from Twentynine Palms. This was our second time to use Ron and Lisa’s services, and I’m confident we will do so again. The staff at the Nipton Trading Post pampered us in numerous ways. Fred, mounted on his “mule,” led people to their rented tent cabin, RV site, or hotel parking place, and provided numerous other services. Bobbie handled requests in the office cheerfully and adeptly. So far as I am aware, everything that the Nipton facility promised was delivered—including newly installed toilet facilities in Freeman Hall. Incoming trips led by Bob Jaussaud and by Deb Miller and Steve Marschke were outstanding (based on my own experience and what I heard from others), as were the Saturday day trips led by Bob Dodds, Neal Johns, and Sunny and Jean Hansen. Deb and Steve’s outgoing trip gave people an opportunity to see the nearby Kokoweef Mine and the delivery of some unpleasant weather (wind and hail) that had been forecast but that had held off until Sunday. Stay tuned for detailed reports on these trips. The contributions of many people were needed for all of this to come about. None was more important than the Big Kahuna from Bullhead City, Mary Hughes, and her sidekick, Charles. Mary and Charles embraced this opportunity to give something back to the Desert Explorers, and they excelled in the effort. A fuller list of the contributors and more on the Rondy will appear next month.