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.
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?
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.
(click read more for the rest of the story and photos)
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 at Large
The Vicki Hill Report
Artist, teacher, desert lover and generally keen observer of things beautiful and rare, intrepid DE “cub reporter” Vicki Hill shared a few of her recent findings. Her son Grey spotted this little guy (see photo of the lizard) a few weeks ago in Wonder Valley. Look close!
And then there was 4th of July in Randsburg. Vicki has always been thin, but this might be taking things just a bit too far...
And finally, from Virginia City, Nevada One of the few female blacksmiths. She built the motorized bike from parts. It gets 75 miles on one tank of gas! (This was what she told me when I visited the other day). ~ Vicki