Debbie Miller

Debbie Miller

Monday, 12 February 2018 21:07

2017 - Christmas Party

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

Friday, 15 September 2017 23:58

The Ongoing Anderson Expedition

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!! 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.  

Friday, 15 September 2017 23:48

Joso in the Oval Office?

Joso in the Oval Office?

This is the kind of thing that haunts our dreams... Desert Explorer, reprobate and raconteur Bob Jaussaud at the helm of the ship of state. Here is the evidence:

Bob in replica Oval  Office, Nixon library,  Yorba Linda, CA.  Is that Putin calling?

Friday, 15 September 2017 22:23

Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes July 8, 2017

Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes July 8, 2017

Attending: Bob & Sue Jaussaud, Debbie Miller Marschke, Bill & Julie Smith, Ding & Allan Wicker, Dolly & Jerry Dupree, Emmett & Ruth Harder, Mal Roode, Jay Lawrence, Neal & Marian Johns. Regrets: Nelson Miller, Nan Healy, Steve Jarvis, Steve Marschke, Terry Ogden.

Meeting Opened 11:45 a.m.

Previous minutes: Approved.

Treasurer Bill Smith reported bank checking and savings total $4,426.10 as of June 30. Discussed possible calendar year renewal subscriptions to newsletter instead of subscription anniversary date renewals. We all figured it would cause as much work as it cut so it was dropped. Also covered the idea of lifetime subscriptions and decided against it. The newsletter is already inexpensive so just subscribe for a longer time. Easy peasy. We are sending $50 to the Needles Museum to put our logo on one of the pages of their excellent calendar. We are giving several honorary subscriptions to the MVRM, Museum Lead Pat Schoffstall, DE pioneers Neal & Marian Johns and Crazy Suzy our website builder.

Newsletter The newsletter is running smoothly with quite a few regular contributors. We had a brief discussion on what works well for contributions in terms of text and images. Jay will write up a short recap for the newsletter.

Website Deb reported that she received all the materials to post recent newsletter content. May, June and July will be up on the web shortly. Right now it looks good, runs good and all is well.

Subscriber Guide Tabled. Updating the Guide has been on the back burner but we will endeavor to have it whipped into shape soonish.

Museum No MVRM newsletters in the summer. They are getting tons of visitors despite the heat. Nelson Miller will be speaking at the September BBQ on the Old Spanish Trail Association. Stand by for a possible work weekend with Nelson.

News The Old Spanish Trail Association will be holding their annual convention in Barstow the first weekend in October. More info at their website:

Rondy 2018 Jerry Dupree and Bob Jacoby are scouting Ridgecrest accommodations for our next annual DE Rendezvous. Checking on lodging, camping and RV sites, catering and site suitability. Discussed past Rondy site at the fairgrounds. Possible local, inbound and outbound trips could 

include the El Paso Mountains, Trona, California City, the Borax Museum, Panamints, Ballarat, Shoshone, rock art by Little Lake and maybe Little Petroglyph Canyon on the China Lake base. Will report back next meeting.

Trips Mal Roode reported Ron Lipari has a July trip to the White Mountains and Log Cabin Mine, Danny Siler will be leading an August trip in the Big Bear area. Bob and Sue Jaussaud will be leading an exploratory trip in the Spring Mountains in Nevada from September 19-21 plus a trip to Tonapah, the Belmont Mountains, Barcelona ghost town and Monitor Valley from October 23-27. Bill Powell is putting together an October trip in Nevada for 2-3 days covering the Hastings Cutoff. Neal & Marian Johns will be leading a two day trip on the first segment of the Mojave Heritage Trail out of Needles. Date is still undetermined. Discussed doing a trip in the Black Mountains near Barstow covering Inscription Canyon, Scouts Cove and Rainbow Basin. All agreed this needed to wait for much cooler weather and we will put it on the schedule for sometime in the first part of 2018. And thanks for the suggestion Ken Hemkin!

Discussion The subject of publishing specific trip meeting places and times in trip writeups was tossed around and it was generally agreed that trip leaders should give that info out directly to folks after they sign up for the trips so the leader has a good head count and contact info for all the trip attendees. General info on the trip location, highlights, dates, degree of difficulty and special vehicle or gear requirements is what is really important in the initial trip writeup for the DE newsletter. • Sue Jaussaud is keeping an eye on news about the Walking Box Ranch between Nipton and Searchlight. (Karl Welch’s old ranch). • Reminded everybody who is leading a trip to either DO a trip report after the trip or ASSIGN the reporting to someone on the trip. We need your words and photos! • The huge collection of petroglyph and pictograph slides from DE member Dwight Stroud is now safe from the elements with Dennis Casebier in his archive building in Goffs. Dwight passed away several years ago and all 

agreed he would approve. Mal Roode scanned all the slides and will try to locate his files so other DE folks might get a copy on CD or DVD in the future.

News All of us were saddened by Jerry Harada’s accident and grave condition. Prayers and good wishes from everyone who knows him (and that is ALL of us) go out to him and his family.

Next meeting  Neal & Marian Johns’ home, September 9th, 11:00 a.m.

Christmas Party  December 16th

Adjourned 1:15 p.m.

Friday, 15 September 2017 21:57

"Old Dinah" Lives On

Old Dinah

An article from Westways September 16, 2016 issue sparked some interest from DE’er Julie Smith. A little digging revealed this: “Old Dinah was Borax Smith’s experiment in transporting ore from the mines at Borate to the railroad at Daggett in 1894. Dinah was a traction engine which burned coal – 3.5 tons a day. Her speed was 3.5 miles an hour on level ground, not including time out for getting stuck in sand. On steep grades she slipped backwards faster than she could go forward.

It took four men to keep Dinah running: an engineer, a fireman, a brakeman and a mechanic who worked all night, every night to put her in shape for the next day’s run.

After a year struggle, Dinah was abandoned and the 20 Mule Teams which had continued to haul alongside of her took over the job again.”

Old Dinah got one more chance when borax operations resumed in Death Valley in 1904. Trying to avoid the expense of a railroad into Death Valley, the Borax Company graded a 98 mile tractor road from the borax mines to the railroad. Dinah broke down on her first trip, and had to be towed home by the very mules she had tried so long to replace. In 1910, Old Dinah was sold to a freighter for use hauling supplies between Beatty and the Keane Wonder Mine. After a couple of years, Dinah broke down in the Daylight Pass and her owner abandoned her in disgust. In 1932, Harry Gower rescued Old Dinah and brought her to her  present location in Furnace Creek.

Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes February 11, 2017

Attending: Dave Burdick, Daniel Dick & Bobbie Sanchez, Barbara Midlikoski, Mal Roode, Bill & Julie Smith, Jerry & Dolly Dupree, Bob Jacoby, Steve Jarvis & Kate Fosselman, Neal & Marian Johns, Nelson Miller, Sunny & Jean Hansen, Terry Ogden, Allan & Ding Wicker, Jay Lawrence.

Meeting Opened 11:45 a.m.

Previous minutes: Approved.

Regrets Nan Savage-Healy, Debbie Miller-Marschke & Steve Marschke

Treasurer Bill Smith has taken the bit in his teeth and reported balances in Paypal, savings and checking totalling $5,011.73 including a small profit from the Rondy and $303 from the Silent Auction. A big thank you to auctioneers Bob Jaussaud and Steve Marscke! Great job on the Rondy Jerry Dupree and Bob Jacoby.

Newsletter Bill Powell volunteered to lend a hand to back up the newsletter assembly. He currently has a complete newsletter and all the ingredients so he can see how he likes the software and if he needs any help learning it.

Subscriber Guide No new news, but Mal Roode, Bill Smith, Bob Jacoby and Jay Lawrnce are digging into it.

Museum We are currently trying to get a system together to keep up-to-date on MVRM memberships. Bob Jacoby will talk with Pat Schofstal. Also noted that all future DE checking accounts should be company accounts rather than personal to ease turning over signers when DE leaders change.

The museum is in need of volunteers. They have a lot of pieces but the exhibits have not been updated in a very long time and there are many things that need to be repaired or tuned up, particularly the displays. There are nine board seats and currently three or four of them are vacant. They also need docents, the research room and the huge historical photo collection needs organization.

Discussion on setting up a work trip and museum cleanup in May or early fall, possibly including camping at Paradise Hot Springs. The museum is struggling. Jerry moved to donate to a museum building fund. The motion passed unanimously. It was noted that they have funds, but not enough hands.

Website Deb reported via Bob Jacoby that the website is up-to-date including trips and the PayPal subscription system.Thanks, Deb and Crazy Suzy!

News Welcome to Dave Burdick from Corona who described himself as a ‘desert rat’ for the last 45 years. He enjoys desert history and currently drives a Jeep Rubicon.

The Old Spanish Trail Association will have 16 speakers at its national conference in Barstow October 5-8. It will be held at the Quality Inn.

Rondy Unanimous accolades on the success of the 2017 Rondy and many attaboys for Jerry Dupree who put the whole thing together from the getgo. The location and facilities were great, we had a bunch of trips, now where are we going to have the next one? Trona was mentioned but lack of facilities would be an issue. Ballarat and Ridgecrest were also mentioned. Barbara Midlikoski knows the area well after having lived in Ridgecrest for a number of years. She suggested the Fairgrounds for a site and the Carriage Inn for catering. We had a successful Rondy there in 2004. Bob Jacoby will give it an initial look and report back.

Trips Nelson is running his Stoddard Mountains trip on the 22nd and Bob Jacoby will run his Santiago trip on June 10. Nan is working on a possible May trip to the William S. Hart museum and maybe dinner at the Rock Inn. Nelson asked that if you have a place you would like to explore, let him know and he would research it. Bob Jacoby is contemplating a Fall trip on unpaved old sections of Route 66. Big Bear area trips from Bill Mann’s book on that area might be some good possibilities.

New Business Bob Jacoby will stay on as Chairman now that Bill Smith has taken over the Treasurer duties. There was unanimous approval and a general sigh of relief to accompany the applause.

Next meeting Ding and Allan Wicker’s home Saturday July 8th, 11:00 a.m.

Adjourned 1:00 p.m.

Movie! We all got to see Steve Jarvis and Kate Fosselman’s excellent new full length documentary The Women in the Sand and it was excellent! Steve and Kate obviously poured their considerable talents into every bit of it and it shows at every turn. All who saw it were wowed and wished them luck on the national and international film festival competitions. It is both powerful and beautiful. Very nice work indeed.

Monday, 12 September 2016 23:51

2016 - DE Meeting - July 16, 2016

Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes • July 16, 2016

Attending: Bob Jacoby, Debbie Miller-Marschke, Neal & Marian Johns, Terry Ogden, Ruth & Emmett Harder, Mal Roode, Sue & Bob Jaussaud, Bobbie Sanchez & Daniel Dick, Jerry Dupree, Jean & Sunny Hansen, Vicki Hill, Betty Wallin & Don Sweinhart, Ding & Allan Wicker, Nan Healy, Jay Lawrence.

Regrets: Ted Kalil out sick. Steve Marschke: “He was doing a fence project that he could have paid someone to do but he did it himself because he’s Steve.” (Deb)

Call to order: 11:52 a.m.

Previous minutes: Approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Ted Kalil was sick and asked to be relieved as Treasurer. We need a volunteer, job usually takes about 4-6 hours per month.

• Online pay for new subscriptions and renewals is only partially used. Need to remind folks this option is available.

• Neal has T-Shirt paperwork and needs someone new to take this over next time.

• DE balance roughly: $4,400 after donations to MVRM and Shoshone Museum, approx $1,400 owed to Neal for shirts & hats.

Newsletter: Everything was humming along nicely. We need more contributors. Please send your trip writeups, story ideas and photos to Jay. Remind trip leaders to make sure somebody on their trip will do a writeup. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare. Send your photos!

Website: Deb is getting caught up and trying to bring all trip reports current. Web hosting storage has been bumped up to accommodate all the archived newsletter files. Expense is now $50/year. Facebook page questions were fielded by Mal, who noted that we have had a Facebook page for the DE for several years and it is active. Encouraged all to visit and use it. It helps direct people to our website and has a live link on it. It is being underused.

Folks wanted to know how Crazy Suzy, our web tech, got her name. Unsolved... but it was moved, seconded and approved that we make her a member and send the Newsletter for free since she has helped us so much with the website.

Museum Deb was distressed to report that the Early Man site was vandalized thoroughly, all displayed materials taken as well as generators and equipment. It is being investigated by the police but the outlook for recovery and reinstatement is grim.

There is an upcoming barbecue at the museum. Museum newsletters will resume in the fall.

Scheduled Trips:

            •           California to Oregon trip just finished, report pending

            •           San Bernardino National Forest cancelled due to Ted’s illness

            •           White Mountains & Bristlecone Pines - August 5 - 7 - Leader Ron Lipari is on track and full

            •           Mojave Road Trip - October 22-23, 2016 - Leader Neal & Marian Johns and Nelson Miller. Terry Ogden and Jerry Dupree are going. More details in the Calendar of Upcoming Trips.

            •           Nelson possibly doing 2-3 one-day trips in the Mojave in the fall.

            •           October 24-27 Joso River Get Together

            •           Santa Barbara backroads trip postponed due to fire closed roads.

            •           Mojave Road Rendezvous October 7-9 at Goffs, California.

            •           Bill Powell may do a Hastings Cutoff trip through Nevada and Utah. He is researching the Pony Express route and Hastings Cutoff. Trails West has a good guidebook on this.

Trip Leadership It was discussed and agreed by all that the trip leader should always have the responsibility and authority to decide who and what vehicles can or should go on a trip they are leading. Driver experience level, appropriateness of vehicle for the trail, participant fitness and demands of the trail all figure into this decision. Moved, seconded and passed unanimously that any persons or vehicles participation in a trip is at the discretion of the leader.

2017 Rondy It was suggested and chewed over that Blythe, California be the site of our next Rendezvous. Jerry Dupree reported favorably on the facility, trails available, nearby areas of interest and welcome by the local chamber of commerce. Possible dates are early March 10-12 or late February. Neal and Marian offered to lead a trip to Dripping Springs, Bob Jacoby noted a book available on dirt road trips in the Quartzite area. Castle Dome site and the local museums in Blythe and Quartzite were mentioned. Jerry will dig further and report back.

Leader’s Checklist Neal updated the leader guide which was originally done by John Page. Bob Jacoby is editing. The final version will go on our website and be available to all subscribers.

New Business Bob Jaussaud noted that the Needles Museum was getting rid of extra copies of the Footprints publicaton by the late, great Maggie McPherson. Vicki Hill would like more folks to make things for the Rendezvous Auction and would like to see something in the newsletter promoting it. Somebody (not sure who) suggested posting an article about the newsletter on our Facebook page. Good idea! Now who will do it? Let’s see those hands!

Next Meeting August 27th at Don & Betty’s house in Yucca Valley.

Adjourned 1:02 p.m.

Thank you, Ding and Allan Wicker for hosting us in your home once again.

Photos: Allan Wicker & Jerry Dupree

(photos by Allan Wicker, click Read more)

Friday, 15 July 2016 21:48

2016 February Meeting at Don & Betty's

No story, but please enjoy the photos


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