Reports on trips taken in 2017.
Salton Sea Whimsy
by Sue Jaussaud
“Whimsy…a fanciful device or creation, especially in art.” Well, that pretty much describes the places Bob and I recently visited in the Salton Sea area. Our ﬁrst stop was at the International Banana Museum (“The Most A-Peeling Place on Earth”) near tiny North Shore. The museum is just one large room, but it’s delightful… and delicious. There is a nominal admission charge, which is waived if you buy something, and you really, really want to enjoy one of their chocolate banana shakes. While whipping them up, the owner told us the story of the museum’s origin. And when his wife saw me taking Bob’s photo, she popped up from behind the counter wearing, what else, a banana costume. Display cases line the walls, full of more banana related items than you ever knew existed. Take a look on line, and call ﬁrst to be sure they’re open. Then go bananas!
Our second stop was “East Jesus”, near Slab City, east of Niland. Amazing folk art lives here, created from the ﬂotsam and jetsam of a trash pile. And it’s wonderful! Enter through a metal arch decorated with bicycles and propane bottles, and move on to the bottle wall, giant lizard, decorated cars, and TV wall. The creations go on and on, and you are free to walk around and take pictures. Nice folks here, too. I do love the desert, and ﬁnding this stuff is just the best! ~ Sue
(Click Read More to see the photo album)
Report of an unofﬁcial DE trip
The Jaussauds invited two couples to join them at their Colorado River shore home for a fun three day holiday. It was at the end of September and the weather could not have been more perfect. However, as you read my report of this most peculiar trip you will see why I do not name the invited couples, so as to save them embarrassment.
The DE members know me and know that I am a staid quiet and less than talkative, serious person, but I need to reveal some information about our guests to DE. I was designated to write the trip report; I suspect so, as usual, the DE members would pick on me.
My wife, Ruth, and I arrived at their gated private river road on the east side of the river across from Needles, California about midday and was I surprised. As I toured their property, I found that it was a large lot with four modern garage buildings. DE members know that Bob is retired from the entertainment industry and this was obvious as I saw what he and Sue have done with their place. They have saved a variety of desert treasures, including two trucks that had run down a bit but had been resurrected.
Before the other couple arrived, Bob and Sue took us on an old desert road north to a dilapidated and very old town where Bob was shopping for more desert treasures. There were a lot of cars and people, as well as a large local population of burros who seemed to have the right of way. As we tried to walk they kept getting in my way and trying to intimidate me into feeding them. Further on, we were shown some old mines. One was the Gold Roads Mine where my grandfather lost his right arm. Also, we were shown some of the old Historic Beale Road and many other old interesting sites.
(Click "Read More" for the rest of the story, and lots of photos)
Holiday Fiesta at Ding and Allan Wicker’s House!
I t’s possible you had an excuse for not making the Desert Explorers holiday gathering at the home of Ding and Allan Wicker, but it couldn’t have been a very good one. You must plan better next year. The folks who did make it were treated to great food, happy people, a festive day and some twisted fun with the “bring a gift, get a gift, steal a gift” game.
We kicked the gathering off with the shortest DE meeting on record, less than 25 minutes! There were wonderful dishes, savory, sweet, local, international, hot, cold and in-between. Nobody went hungry and everybody found things to satisfy their cravings.
Regardless of folks’ backgrounds or traditions, it is always a wonderful way to wrap up the year. Warm greetings, friendly faces, good food and a wacky game to loosen things up made this a wonderful afternoon.
Who was there? Bob Jacoby, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Nan Healy, Jean and Sunny Hansen, Julie and Bill Smith, Kate Fosselman and Steve Jarvis, Neal and Marian Johns, Ruth and Emmett Harder, Bobby Sanchez and Daniel Dick, Jim Watson and his sweetheart Linda, Ann Yibing Bai, Marie and Nelson Miller, Ellen Miller, Dave McFarland, Axel Heller, Jay Lawrence, Bruce Bartlett, Dolly and Jerry Dupree, Nancy Maclean and Ron Ross, Vicki Hill, Genmarie Wentworth, and our hosts Ding and Allan Wicker.
Thank you Ding and Allan for having us again this year. It was big fun!
Click Read More for photos
Hiking in the Calico Mountains
Odessa Canyon and the Doran Scenic Loop
Text & photos by Danny Siler
I n January 2015 Nelson Miller led a four-wheel drive trip to the Calico Mountains. At our lunch stop atop the rim of a canyon, he pointed down and announced “that’s Odessa Canyon down there!” It was deep and narrow - my kind of place. Ever since then I’ve wanted to hike through there. It was easy to find on a topo map and finally I got my wish.
The Calico Mountains are well known for all the colors, shades of colors and blends of colors; vermilion, copper green, orange, brown, saffron yellow, maroon, and violet. And much geologic fascination from fault lines, folding, slate and schist.
After mining ceased, Odessa Canyon was joined with the former Bismarck Canyon and renamed Doran Scenic Loop after a county supervisor in the 1930s. The massive Bismarck site is located on this route. This is home to at least a hundred adits, mine shafts and glory holes. With rappelling gear one could go all the way down into the bottom of a shaft.
Wildlife I encountered along the trail were lizards, a hawk, jack rabbit, a couple of desert rats, and one dead tarantula; but no snakes. Occasionally I saw some animal tracks and I believe they were coyote.
(Click "Read More" for the rest of the story and lots of photos)
Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes
Saturday, October 2, 2017
Attending Bob Jacoby (Chair), Alan and Ding Wicker, Dave McFarland, Barbara Midlikowski, Neal and Marian Johns, Emmett and Ruth Harder, Nelson Miller, Bobbie Sanchez and Daniel Dick, Bill and Julie Smith, Mal Roode, Terry and Eileen Ogden.
Regrets Nan Healy and Jay Lawrence.
Minutes Accepted as published.
Treasurer Bill Smith provided the Treasurer’s Report. He announced that the DE cash balance is $4,572. We have 86 paid members and there have been two new members since the last meeting. There have been no expenditures since the last meeting. Bob Jacoby noted that a check needs to be written for $425 as a security deposit for renting the 2018 Rondy facilities. The check will not be cashed and will be returned to us at the end of the Rondy. Bill also indicated that it may be better to have new and renewing members make just one payment to cover the DE newsletter dues and the annual membership for MRVM. He will investigate this possibility with MRVM.
Newsletter Bob Jacoby gave Jay Lawrence’s report. Jay reports the monthly newsletter is functioning fine. There is a need for backup and we always need more input from our membership each month. This can be trip reports, tech reports, etc.
2018 Rendezvous Bob Jacoby and Jerry Dupree gave an update on Rondy planning. The dates in Ridgecrest are April 6-8. We will be utilizing the facilities at the Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest. Full hookups, tent camping and nearby motels will be available. We arranged for a caterer, and a Saturday evening guest speaker. We hope to have petroglyph tours conducted by the museum on both Saturday and Sunday. We will need volunteer leaders for other trips on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Website There was no report as Debbie was unable to attend.
(Click "read more for the rest of the story and photos)
By Deb Miller Marschke
In July 2017, I attended “Old Fort MacArthur Days” which is a multi-disciplined living history event. It’s held annually on the grounds of Fort MacArthur in the city of San Pedro. Each era that is represented here has a section of the grounds, and the re-enactors set up a “period” camp. The part I enjoy the most are the costumes. The re-enactors wear period attire which is as accurate as possible, and these folks wander about. For those that truly enjoy history, this event is like a really weird dream; you are walking around in your street clothes amongst the Romans, Vikings, Yankee soldiers, pirates, and Victorian ladies.
Making costumes has been one of my most favorite hobbies since I was a kid. I enjoy the challenge of conceptualizing my ideas, constructing the outfit, and the pleasure of wearing the finished costume. So as I floated dreamily around Old Fort MacArthur days, the urge to make a costume for next year grasped me. I found myself in one of the exhibitor’s canvas tent, which was set up as a general store. There were historically accurate patterns for sale, so many choices. I needed to decide what era I was going to work in, so I began to think about famous women throughout history. I decided that it would be fun to depict Olive Oatman, and I purchased a historically accurate pattern for a Victorian era bodice and skirt. I also purchased a lace parasol and a straw bonnet.
I chose Olive Oatman because her haunting photographs stood out in my mind. I only knew the basics of her story: she was on the emigrant trail, had been captured by Indians, and had lived amongst them long enough to receive a disfiguring tattoo on her chin. So before I made the costume, I needed to learn more about her story. There are a few books about her, the most well-known is also the first book, written by Royal Stratton. Stratton was a minister, and he stepped forward to shelter and protect her as she reintegrated into society. I chose to read “The Blue Tattoo, The Life of Olive Oatman” by Margot Mifflin first. This book was first released in 2009, so I thought it would be a good choice if I wanted to know Olive’s life story.
( Click Read More for the rest of the story, and photos)
Explore Nevada Trip Report
October 23-27, 2017
Leaders: Bob & Sue Jaussaud
Photos: Sue, Mignon, Glenn & Nelson
Oh noooo…! From the rear view mirrors, we could see billows of smoke pouring out the back of our truck as we climbed the grade into Boulder City. Not a good thing! I hastily pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped. There was so much smoke everywhere, the truck must be on fire! I grabbed the fire extinguisher, but luckily with the engine off the smoke slowly started to dissipate. However, oil was still running out underneath the truck and a large pool formed quickly. Something major must have blown!
Sue called for a tow truck. Finally getting through to the Auto Club help line, she was informed it would be 45 minutes before someone could arrive to assist us. Time to think. First, we texted the others on the trip to let them know they were currently leaderless. Then we analyzed the situation. It was definitely transmission oil pooling on the ground and it was leaking out from the radiator area. Could it be that a transmission oil line to the transmission cooler on the radiator had broken? Being on a grade, we were able to roll the truck back off the pool of oil and I crawled under to remove the skid plate. Yes! A clamp had worked loose and an oil line had come apart. It was an easy fix. By the time the tow truck arrived we were repaired, except for no transmission fluid in the transmission. John, the very friendly tow truck operator, said the easiest thing to do would be to load our truck on his vehicle and he would take us to an auto parts store to get oil. In Boulder City, he off loaded us at the store and stayed with us until we had refilled the transmission and tested the truck. Everything was good and we were on our way. Happy days!
(click read more for the rest of the story, and photos)
Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes
Saturday, September 9, 2017
Attending Mal Roode, Daniel Dick & Bobby Sanchez, Ruth & Emmett Harder, Ding & Allan Wicker, Marian & Neal Johns, Dolly & Jerry Dupree, Julie & Bill Smith, Lindsay Woods, Tracy Woods, Vicki Hill, Eileen & Terry Ogden, Dave Burdick, Brett Henrich, Nelson Miller, Sue & Bob Jaussaud.
(click read more for the rest of the minutes, and photos)
Grand Canyon (South Rim Area)
DE member Joey Anderson has graciously offered to let us poach items from his excellent website at andersonoverland.com and we have taken him up on his offer. Take a look when you have a chance. It is loaded with great trip writeups and outstanding photos.
So when your parents say they want your little one to come stay with them for a few days before the school year starts, you pack the truck! Date trip!!! With four days to get away we decided to head to the Grand Canyon south rim. We had been to the south rim in May but it was a quick stop. The park is always fun to check out but we really wanted to find some dirt trails and hopefully find a cool rim spot to camp. Sadly, no such luck. Every trail we went down either ended in a locked gate or just simply came to an end in the middle of nowhere. Super spotty cell signal, which didn't help. Thankfully, there is a ton of dispersed camping in the area and we found several great spots. We did have a very large elk walk down into our camp the last night, which was pretty sweet. Luna our guard dog, (lol) didn╒t know what to think of him. We had planned to do some product review videos but sadly the weather was not on our side. We did have some pretty bad wind from sun up to sun down. Oh well. Just go with it, I guess. Probably my favorite part of the trip was grabbing a spot along the rim to catch the sunset. EPIC! It was a quick but great trip. We hope to check out the other areas of Grand Canyon soon, including maybe a trip to camp in the bottom of the canyon. Any trip is a great trip. You can╒t go wrong with some fresh air and good company. Love my man and our adventures together. And yes, it was so good to pick up our little one and hug her tight when we got home.
Love and live life to the fullest,
Neal & Marian Get Eclipsed
by Marian Johns
The last DE Newsletter (September 2017) had a short note by Leonard Friedman about the total solar eclipse and coincidentally running into Craig Baker. Like the Friedman╒s and Craig, Neal and I headed up to Oregon where we hoped to see the eclipse. In fact, we ended up camping next to the John Day Painted Hills and Fossil Beds which is fairly close to Madras where our DE friends were ,John Day is a little farther east. I was hoping to find someplace in the boonies east of the Cascades and east of Bend where there would be fewer people. Boy, was I wrong!
There were people everywhere. John Day was completely full, but we had learned from BLM that the field next door was open to campers. So we joined several hundred other folks and set up camp there Sunday evening. The following morning, more and more people arrived. They parked nose to tail all along both sides of the paved road bordering our field.
When, at last, the big moment arrived there was a big, collective cheer just as the very last bit of sun disappeared behind the moon. In a matter of mere seconds, we were engulfed in total darkness. It was an awesome and moving experience. Year ago I had seen a partial eclipse, but it was nothing like this.
(please click read more to keep reading story and see photos)
By: Nelson Miller
I am still in search of a mining historian and engineer who would explain to me the mines, equipment, and oddities we find in the Mojave. In the Clark Mountain area, we recently found four relatively primitive, but very well-preserved, virtually side-by-side Arrastras. The mining in the area seemed fairly modern with use of a bulldozer. Was this an old site, which someone wanted to further explore, or is this someone╒s poor-man╒s version of a four-stamp mill? This is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, any thoughts? It certainly was interesting, but as you can see I was running out of light and did not really get to examine these in great detail. ~Nelson
Please click 'read more" to see the photos.
Spring Mountains Trip
September 19-21, 2017
Leaders: Bob & Sue Jaussaud
It was advertised as an exploratory and that is what it turned out to be. But hey! Those roads looked OK on Google Earth.
After the group (Vicki, Ron, Glenn, Nelson, Neal, Marian, Bob &Sue) assembled at Valley Wells, we decided to take a short side trip to see the Mohawk Mine. Well╔ the road in was awful and the mine we finally found was on the opposite side of the mountain from the mine we wanted to see. Working our way around the mountain, we finally found the Mohawk, which turned out to be pretty neat after all. There was even an old tin shack still standing. The morning had evaporated, so we decided to have lunch before continuing.
(please click 'read more" for the rest of the story, and photos)
San Bernardino Mountains Trip
Saturday, August 26
Leaders: Danny & Norma Siler
It was a beautiful day in the San Bernardino Mountains on Saturday, August 26; not a cloud in the sky and 75 - 80 degree temperature.
Our instructions were to meet at the public bathrooms in the town of Running Springs. A bit awkward but there’s plenty of free parking and everyone loves a bathroom in the morning. Also a bit tricky was that there is not a street address for this location. But… everyone made it on time!!
Because this trip was to be a scenic trail ride through the forest, and not a heavy-duty four-wheel drive event, we piled all nine of us into three vehicles; Danny and Norma Siler as leaders, Dave Burdick, Moe LeBlanc, Hector and Sandra Mangione, Mal Roode, Allan and Ding Wicker.
We first drove to the very lovely Green Valley Lake to enjoy the serenity of it, then we said “good-bye” to the paved road and “hello” to the unpaved forest service road.
(please click 'read more" to continue reading & photos)
The Ongoing Anderson Expedition
After a recent plea for items for the Desert Explorers newsletter, this note came in from one of our subscribers, Joey Anderson:
“Feel free to use any of our posts from our trips on our website for the newsletter!! www.andersonoverland.com You can also follow us on instagram or facebook - @andersonoverland”
The Anderson family is Joey Anderson, Robyn Anderson, Jetta Anderson, and Luna Anderson (the puppy).
Here is their introduction on their website: “Hello. We are here to encourage, motivate, and assist those seeking to be adventurous! We strive to be an inspiration to the 4x4’ing and adventurer community by sharing wonderful experiences we have out on the open road! Our goal is to also provide unbiased opinions about products we use on as regular basis whether it be for dispersed camping or just trail riding.”
( the included items were poached off thier website) Their site is terrific, outstanding photos and text, good looking layout and sets a very high bar. We will be following it in the future and snagging the odd photo and bits of commentary as the world turns. Thank you Joey and family for your kind offer and a great site. Glad to have you with us in the Desert Explorers.