By John Page
It was billed as a mild, laid-back trip and, thank goodness, that’s the way it turned out!
By 8:30 am, James Proffitt; David and Leslie Walker; MayBelle and Jonathan Lipking; Ted and Joan Berger and Mel and ?? Patterson?; Homer Meek and family; Terry, Eileen and Katie Ogden; Gordon Lohan?; Betty Wallin; Mike and Phyllis Aguilar, and C? and F? Awabde?; and Bob, Nancy and Trent Dodds, formed up behind me, John Page, and my passenger, Graham Mackintosh.
The Dodds agreed to take last place in the 11-vehicle caravan and, for the duration of the trip, gave a textbook-perfect example of how to sweep. Each of my transmissions was either echoed (directions, stops, etc.) or acknowledged (trivia). The Dodds warned us when impatient vehicles were overtaking us on the highway and they acted as rear guards in Titus Canyon, telling us it was OK to stop for photo-opps at several of the more scenic spots on the one-way road.
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Our first stop was in Stovepipe Wells for permits, snacks, and souvenirs of Death Valley. We made it to Beatty, Nevada in good time, in spite of a detour for repairs to the Mud Canyon road. Our short visit to Beatty was extended a little because of lines at the gas pumps and rest rooms. The slot machines let some of us pay our Nevada "dues" while some others got a reduction-in-fee for the trip.
The next stop, Rhyolite, is a ghost town that is easily accessible by blacktop, so there were many other people there to share the views of the old buildings with us. We took time for tail-gate lunches while we were there.
Back onto Nevada 374 to the turnoff to Titus Canyon, followed by about 10 miles of boring, dusty, washboard to White Pass, where the scenery turned spectacular! It got even better after we crossed Red Pass, about 2 miles further down the road.
We stopped at Leadfield, which has a few structures remaining from the days of mining the almost worthless ore in the area. Leadfield is another monument to the fraud and speculation that was so prevalent throughout the history of mining in the West.
Then on to Klare Spring, where we stopped to look at the petroglyphs.
Finally, we wound our way through the Titus Canyon Narrows where the canyon was only a few feet wider than our vehicles, but several hundred feet high. It is almost unphotographable but you can see an Ansel Adams picture of the end of the Narrows on http://www.wickiup.com/ in the Death Valley Gallery.
A short drive down the alluvial fan brought us back to blacktop and back to Panamint Springs.
I had a fun day and hope everyone else did, too.