2013 Trips (30)

Reports on trips taken in 2013.

Thursday, 21 November 2013 23:55

2013 Trip Report - Ibex Boondoggle !

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Ibex Boondoggle

Survivors Traumatized    No Rain; Some Pain

Leader in Denial

January 19 & 20 2013, Leader and author: Ted Kalil 

Peggy Sue’s Diner, Yermo. This was the meeting place where I thought we might enjoy a breakfast or coffee together. However, I was the only one who dined, everyone else waited outside (was this an omen?). Those present were Gene and Beverly Stoops; Jose Alvarado together with Steve, Aaron, and Jordan; Rebecca, Hannah, and Leonard Friedman; Alan Hodes; Nelson Miller; and Nan Savage. We then went to the Mad Greek’s parking lot in Baker, where we met up with Mignon Slentz, and continued on SH 127 to the radio tower. There we turned off onto Ibex Spring Road, following it to the settlement and mine where we saw and photographed the old buildings.

     Gene shared a lot of great information about this place, having been with Bill Mann when Bill persuaded the National Park Service to refrain from destroying the sites. The provision was that the Mojave River Valley Museum would annually monitor the changes and provide photos. Gene had brought newspaper articles and pictures from when they first photographed the area in 1991. In comparing them we could see some deterioration, but not much considering twenty one years had passed. The palm trees were alive and flourishing. Our two signs there are readable but could use some help.


Friday, 22 November 2013 00:16

2013 Trip Report -Life After Ted's Trip

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"Life After Ted's Trip"

by Rebecca Friedman

Since Leonard, Hannah and I were among the survivors of Ted’s Ibex Spring Trip (5 out of 8 vehicles made it to the end), we decided to tempt fate and continue on. After parting from the others on Sunday at about 5:00 p.m. at the Harry Wade marker, we headed north toward Death Valley Junction. We were in time to take a quick peek at a benefit dance recital at the Amargosa Opera House. We stayed overnight at a motel in Beatty, NV, and enjoyed visiting the “largest candy store in the state.”

     After watching the televised Presidential inauguration on Monday morning, we headed west into Death Valley National Park. Leonard was especially excited to be driving through Titus Canyon for the first time, since the road was open thanks to good weather. The beautiful colors and steep canyon walls did not disappoint. We even enjoyed stopping at Leadfield, a mining town of 300 people from 1926-1927. We drove by the Devil’s Cornfield as we proceeded to Mesquite Dunes for lunch. Our hike through Mosaic Canyon was another highlight, as we saw such varied rock formations and colors. We even ran into a dancer we recognized from the night before; she was also an artist, who was sketching the scenery. It was a full day at the end of a long weekend, and we arrived home late. We were tired but happy.

Friday, 22 November 2013 00:20

Neal Johns birthday - January 19

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A contingent of the Desert Explorers surprised Neal for his birthday on January 19, 2013, at Jerry & Joanie Harada's Chloride House.  He thought we forgot....SURPRISE! HAPPY BIRTHDAY NEAL. Here's to one more year of tormenting the ladies!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:19

East Mojave Adventure

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   March 2, 2013 by Sunny & Jean Hanse

Trip participants: Sunny & Jean Hansen, Charles & Mary Hughes, Bob & Sue Jaussaud, Ron Lipari, Mike Vollmert, Mignon Slentz, Glenn Shaw, Pete & Janet Austin, Craig Baker, Leonard, Rebecca and Hannah Friedman.


     It was a crisp, clear, beautiful day when we all gathered to begin our trip in the East Mojave. We formed up and drove to the parking area from which we would begin our hike. We hiked several miles, stopping along the way to view, photograph and appreciate petroglyphs. Part of the hike led us on an old trail, which Jean particularly liked.


     Once we reached our site destination, we all relaxed and enjoyed viewing the petroglyphs and then we had lunch. After lunch, we got some great group photographs and then retraced our steps back to our vehicles. The return trip was faster because (1) Jean was not leading and therefore we had no long detours where she missed the trail on the inbound part of the hike and (2) Sunny just happened to mention “Happy Hour.”



March 3, 2013 by Marian Johns


This year our Saturday evening’s Silent Auction didn’t actually finish until Sunday morning. Consequently, we didn’t leave Zzyzx on our Cady Mt. Canyons trip until about 9:30 a.m. because Steve Marschke and Bob Jaussaud, our two Silent Auction organizers, couldn’t leave until the auction details were finalized.


            We were fortunate to have Steve, (who is also our bighorn sheep expert and past president of the Bighorn Sheep Society), and his lovely wife, Debbie, on our trip because we intended to check out the bighorn sheep guzzler the Society has installed in the first Cady Canyon (on the south side of the Cadys) we planned to visit.



Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:33

2013 Rondy Ramblings

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by Ruth Harder

 It seems Zzyzx was the perfect place to hold the 2013 Rendezvous. Granted it wasn’t the Biltmore, but it was certainly better than a Motel 6. The ambience far outweighed the inconveniences. It was so peaceful and quiet and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Another plus was that we were completely isolated from the hustle and bustle of any city life. I had so many people tell me how happy they were that we held the Rendezvous in Zzyzx. Our host, Rob Fulton, was a delight. He has a wonderful personality and tried his best to please us in every way. He was available whenever we needed something or even just to talk. In his after dinner presentation we learned a lot about desert critters. Friday night we had our usual pot luck dinner with way more food than we could possibly eat. Friday, Saturday and Sunday Chef Victor Keaton did a great job preparing good meals for almost 70 people. Breakfasts were the normal fare but varied somewhat each day with many dishes to choose from; Saturday we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner. Everyone looked like very happy campers.Each day there were plenty of different types of trips so there was something for everyone’s different preference.And, as usual, everyone had great fun finding things to outbid each other for in the Silent Auction which was a huge success.We appreciate all the help we had. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who put in so much time and work to help make this rendezvous one of our greatest.


 May 11, 2013 

 by Bob & Sue Jaussaud

Yes, our Museum has been doing this for 47 years, and you don't want to miss it when it rolls around again in 2014! The folks in Barstow put forth a HUGE effort, and it shows in the quality (and quantity!) of events taking place throughout the day.


Saturday, 30 November 2013 17:05

2013 Desert Explorers Rendezvous at Zzyzx

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March 1 - 3, 2013  Story written by Neal Johns

 We had about 70 intrepid desert rats show up at the most “desert” of all desert places; Zzyzx, CA for a delightful weekend. Nearly everyone in Southern California has passed the Zzyzx off ramp on I-15 near Baker but few know what is at the end of a short road.

     Back when the world was a few decades younger, an itinerant preacher named Doctor Springer filed a mining claim on aptly named Soda Lake for the mineral crystals that were found on the surface. Overstepping the mining regulations more than a little, he built a health resort using homeless people from Los Angeles he bussed out to the desert for labor. He promised them sunshine, better health, and a place to stay in exchange for a little work. No booze was allowed, and guess what, it worked out well for all concerned. He let guests stay for whatever they could afford and sold the crystals as a cure-all with the help of his own radio program. My ancient wife remembers listening to it.

The end came when the Los Angeles Times published an long article basically stating “Why is this man allowed to build and run a health resort on public land under the guise of a mining claim and sell dubious medicines?” This prompted several government agencies including the BLM and the IRS to come down hard on Doc Springer. After a long legal battle, he was evicted and the now large resort was left to deteriorate in the sun and wind of the East Mojave Desert. After several years the BLM finally realized something should be done and arranged for the California University system to take over the facility under the lead of Cal State Fullerton and use it as a Desert Studies Center. Any educational organization can, for a modest fee, use the facility. Since the Desert Explorers are a section of the Barstow Mojave River Valley Museum, we were in!

Eight different trips were led to historical mining sites, petroglyphs sites, scenic canyons, a geology tour, ghost towns, etc. My Current Wife and I led eight vehicles to several scenic canyons in the Cady Mountains. Hidden away in one was a Bighorn Sheep Guzzler which furnishes water in a mountain range where few if any all year springs exist. We had a former President of the Bighorn Society along to explain why and how this volunteer organization builds and installs these expensive and complicated systems in remote places. One canyon rivaled Artist Palette Canyon in Death Valley for colorful formations while another had dozens of caves in the side walls.

East Side Inbound: Turquoise Mountain Loop, written by leaders Bob & Sue Jaussaud

March 1, 2013

This part of the desert has everything we love: unbeatable scenery to enjoy, lots of history to ponder, old roads to drive on, and mining ruins and cabins to explore. Add a whole bunch of Desert Explorers to share it all with, and you've got the perfect combination for a sunny, breezy Friday in March.

     Our first stop was a small group of petroglyphs on a low, dark hill nearby. We saw only a few of the glyphs, which were inventoried by archaeologist Wilson Turner years ago. (An instructor at Rio Hondo College, it was Turner who sparked our first interest in rock art in the 1970's.) Halloran Springs tank, with its resident gold fish, and the boarded-over spring close by, were next on our agenda. As with any spring in the desert, this water source was very important for early explorers, prospectors, and later "auto-ists", and was probably known to early people who came to this area for its precious turquoise. A short distance away is the foundation of Halloran Springs Station, which was, among other things, a place for early automobiles on the Arrowhead Highway to stop and cool their overheated engines, after climbing the punishing grade out of Baker.



     Four wheeling fun began at this point in the trip with our own "punishing grade", an uphill climb in very soft sand. But the reward was a visit to an abandoned mine, with its 2 mysterious metal "safes", one of which is still locked up tight. Nearby Bull Springs is a delightful place, its large corral intact, with a tank full of water inside the enclosure. The actual spring is in a sinkhole, covered with tules and overshadowed by a tall willow tree. Sadly, the two owls that we'd seen when scouting this trip with Charles & Mary Hughes were not around.

     We stopped for lunch at "Francis Spring," which is sizable enough to be described as a small pond. This watering spot is correctly titled "France's Spring", named after William France, an early explorer and prospector in this area. Ironically, France would later perish from thirst near Cerbat, Arizona, when he got lost while prospecting and was unable to find water. Our repast here was made even better with a surprise birthday cake for Leonard Friedman, cake and candles supplied by wife Rebecca and daughter Hannah. Add to that Mignon's delectable "Wonder Bars," and we soon found ourselves on a "sugar high."

     Our group got even higher as we drove the paved road up Turquoise Mountain to check out the large buildings and relay towers on the top. This installation is huge, and very startling to find in the middle of the desert. One account we read explains it as being a cold war installation, built to withstand the effects of a nuclear blast. The buildings supposedly extend downward for four stories into Turquoise Mountain. (We would love to have a chance to check that out!). Whether or not this is true, the facility is a very impressive site. And the 360 degree view from the top is fabulous.

     A quick stop at a quail guzzler was next, and a drive-by of Hyten's Well(s) followed. Next stop was at the Wander Mine, a gold mine that has been worked from the early 1900s to the present, as evidenced by the small piles of recently sifted tailings. The miners followed a quartz vein close to the surface for quite a distance, and the result is a deep ditch that, ...well, wanders! Moving on, the cabin at Cree Camp came into view, and we stopped to have a look and hike up canyon to the small but wonderful mill and rock lined well. Unfortunately, none of our sources had any history at all on this old homestead.

     Our thanks to everyone who joined us for this inbound adventure. Your enthusiasm, curiosity, and sense of fun made leading this trip such a pleasure for both of us!

EAST MOJAVE GEOLOGY TOUR - March 2, 2013    written by trip Leader Bill Neill

From Baker, 6 vehicles drove about 170 miles through and bordering Mojave National Preserve, and viewed five rock types that represent the geological history of the East Mojave.  Besides my wife Gwenn, participants were:  Bob Jacoby; Steve & Debbie Marschke; Bruce Barnett and family; Terry Ogden; Gary Preston; Bob Peltzman & Anne Landon.  While heading south on Kelbaker Road, our first stop was at the toe of a basalt sheet that flowed as molten lava down from the cinder cones.  The basalt is the youngest volcanic rock in the East Mojave, around 10,000 years old, and it rests on the oldest formation in the desert, metamorphic granitic rock called gneiss that’s about 1.4 billion years old.The older rock forms the ancient “Precambrian basement” of North America, extending from the San Gabriel Mountains eastward and northeastward across the continent to the Appalachian Mountains and Canadian Shield.


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