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Saturday, 30 November 2013 17:05

2013 Desert Explorers Rendezvous at Zzyzx

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.

Published in 2013 Trips
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00

2005 DE Rendezvous - Apple Valley , CA

Rendezvous 2005 at The Lone Wolf Colony RV Park , Apple Valley CA

(No write ups were submitted, but don't miss the photo gallery. Click Read More, below, to see the gallery)







Published in 2005 Trips
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00

2007 DE Rendezvous Recap - Amboy

Rendezvous Retrospective - Amboy

by Allan Wicker

It was cool and windy when I left Claremont Thursday morning of the Rendezvous weekend.  I called ahead to let Bob and Nancy Dodds I’d be later than our appointed time to load tables from the Mojave River Valley Museum into the Dodds’ truck to be transported to the Amboy Rendezvous site.  By the time I arrived, all but two of the tables were sitting in the truck.   It was cold and windy in Barstow as well. 

 Bob said that there had been an accident east of Barstow on I-40, so we would need to take old Highway 66.  Our caravan to Amboy included Bob and Nancy in separate vehicles, with their truck and a trailer loaded with a generator, electrical cords, and other supplies.   They also pulled their camp trailer.

From Highway 66 we could see the backup of vehicles stopped on I-40.  An ambulance streaked toward Barstow.  We later learned that two people died in a multi-vehicle crash apparently caused by blowing sand.  Much of the I-40 traffic was diverted to Route 66, but it kept moving—for a while.  After we had passed by the spot, a second crash on 66 caused it to be closed as well. 

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

 

Published in 2007 Trips

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.









Published in 2009 Trips

Renezvous 2008 from the Eyes of Newbie

by  Carl and Nancy Noah

We recently joined the Mojave River Valley Museum after hearing about the Desert Explorers from a friend. We've gone on a few outings with both the DE and MOE groups and had a great time on each trip. We've been impressed with the leaders' historical knowledge and enjoy the running commentaries over the CB.  We're becoming more and more interested in the history of the places we visit, but aren't ambitious enough to do our own research. We really appreciate the leaders sharing thier knowledge and research with us. We definately want to be a part of these groups, so...when we heard about the 2008 Rendezvous, we fit it into our schedule. We really didn't know what to expect. We weren't at all sure what the "Creative Showcase" was all about, so we were particularily looking forward to this.

(click Read more to continue reading and view photos)

Published in 2008 Trips

 

Rendezvous Recap

March 19 - 21, 2010

By Bob Jacoby

The Annual Desert Explorers’ Rendezvous was held on March  19-21 at Death Valley Junction. Death Valley Junction was formally the borax  mining town of Amargosa and proved to be a unique and outstanding venue. A total  of 64 members attended the Rendezvous and it appeared everyone had a great time.

    The fun actually started on Friday morning in beautiful  downtown Baker, California.  Neal and Marian Johns led an outstanding inbound  trip on portions of the old Mojave Heritage Trail through Kingston Wash and the  Kingston Mountains. This was a very interesting and scenic trip that got folks  in the mood for the fun packed weekend in store for them.

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

Published in 2010 Trips

DESERT EXPLORERS RENDEZVOUS 2011

Anza-Borrego, CA

By Marian Johns

Another year, another Rondy, how time flies. If your  missed this one, we’re sorry because I think is was one of the better ones,  despite the late decisions about dates and place - for which we apologize. Next  year we hope to have this information available early so you can set aside the  dates. Debbie Miller will be working on Goffs as the venue for next year, but we  should probably have an alternate site just in case, so if you have any ideas  lets us know.

I was really impressed with the outstanding job that  Bob Jaussaud and Steve Marschke did organizing the silent auction. It was loads  of fun and we made a significant amount which will now be used for our own  expenses and hopefully a donation to a worthy cause/organization. We surely miss  Alan Romspert, the Dodd’s and Maybelle for the work they did putting together  past auctions and hope Bob and Steve will continue this tradition. Thank you  everyone who either donated or purchased items.

(click Read More, below, to continue reading)

Published in 2011 Trips
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:43

2012 Trip Report - DE Rondy Recap and Photos

DE Annual Rendezvous 2012

Needles, Californina

April 13, 14, 15

By Marian Johns

I would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Rondy in Needles for your  support. And I would also like to thank all who helped in some way make this a  memorable weekend. Some of the folks did double duty – helping in more than one  way. They are:

 

¨ Bob  Jacoby – money collector and list of participants’ keeper 

¨ Bob & Sue Jaussaud – my Needles’ contact, silent auctioneer and inbound trip leaders

¨ Mary & Charles Hughes – also my Needles’ contact, leaders of Saturday and Sunday  trips

¨ Mary  Hughes – helping set up the Silent Auction Friday while Joso was leading the  inbound trip

¨ Steve & Debbie Marschke – silent auctioneer and Saturday trip leaders

¨ Dave  Given (hope you’re recovering from your fall) & Bob Rodemeyer – inbound trip  leaders and Saturday trip leaders

¨ Neal & Marian Johns – Sunday trip leaders

¨ Ron  Ross – Saturday night program – his impressive presentation about his  grandmother, “The Girl from Williamsburg”

¨ Jim  Proffitt – (good to see you up and about) video maker of Ron’s program

¨ Donators  and purchasers of silent auction items

¨ Everyone  who helped clean up after the meals

 (click Read More, below, to continue)

 

Published in 2012 Trips
Monday, 17 February 2014 22:03

2014 Rendezvous - Who Was Jack Longstreet?

Who Was Jack Longstreet?

Articles written by Emmett Harder and Marian Johns

 

Longstreet - by Emmett Harder

(article appeared in Newsletter, September 2013)

 

 Andrew Jackson Longstreet was born in 1838 and died July 26, 1928.

(Click Read More, below, to continue reading story)

Published in 2014 Trips

Thank You, Ruth!

There were many people who worked to make this year’s Rondy a success. Most of them were mentioned at our catered dinner Saturday night. However, there was one person that wasn’t recognized and that is Ruth Harder, our chairperson. In addition to her regular duties, this lady did a fantastic job of planning, organizing and taking care of myriad details – which included making arrangements for the catered dinner and a discount for the rooms and camping. I know she made a gazillion phone calls, plus, she and Emmett even made several trips up there on our behalf. Because of Ruth, I believe this year’s Rondy a great success and came off with a minimum of unexpected problems. So, THANK YOU, Ruth for an outstanding event!

Please see the photos, which were contributed by Allan Wicker and Alan Heller ( Click Read more, below)




Published in 2014 Trips
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