2012 Rondy - Inbound to Needles
Friday, April 13
Leaders: Dave Given and Bob Rodemeyer
The trip started with breakfast at the Ludlow Cafe in beautiful downtown Ludlow, CA. The weather was overcast and intermittent sprinkles were experienced as we left the Cafe and traveled through Ludlow to the site of the Murphy Brothers Store. Beginning operation in early 1880, the brothers bought the store from "Ma Preston", known as the Queen of the Desert and one of the many characters of the East Mojave. The store had Murphy Brothers Store painted on the side of the building and over the door was painted "Ludlow Mercantile Co. 1908. The building was heavily damaged during the Hector quake and unfortunately may not be standing for too many more years. Next stop was at the Ludlow Grave Yard. The owners of Ludlow have spent some time recently providing upkeep to the graves.
We departed Ludlow on Old Route 66 heading east while discussing the early railroad operations and the various old stations, sidings, and watering stops that were located along the present day railroad tracks. Old railroad locations were passed with the interesting names such as Ash Hill, Siberia, Klondike and Bagdad. A shot stop was made at Bagdad to compare old picture of the adjacent town that existed at this location well into the 1970's before it was abandoned and the buildings were torn down. Bagdad had a gas station, store, motel, and a Highway Patrol office.
Moving on down the road we passed the famous Amboy Crater and made a short stop to discuss the old prank conducted by teenagers in the 1930's that made world news headlines. The prank involved starting an old car tire and trash fire in the Amboy Crater, which produced much black smoke. The smokey fire was mistaken for an eruption of the crater for several days and caused automobile and train travels to be delayed along the National Trails Highway until the prank was discovered.
A tour of old town of Amboy including the graveyard resulted in some great photo opportunities for everyone. Time was taken to compare old photos of the town with the existing structures. Chambless Camp or Junction and Cadiz were visited next including the old location of the Cadiz train station, and the siding of the Arizona & California Railroad that runs between Cadez and Matthie, Arizona across the Colorado River between Earp and Parker.
The town of Danby (old Danby on the rail line and new Danby located on Old Route 66) were visited next, with a lunch stop at Old Danby located on the BNSF rail line. A discussion about the history of the court house at new Danby was conducted with information about the old Amboy-Ludlow Judicial District Court and the Justice of the Peace for the area, Johnny Neilson. The district operated well into the 1950's and many a speeder on Old Route 66 paid their fines at this facility. Old Danby was the location of a mine milling operation, railroad station originally built in 1880. General Patton used Danby as a Division Laundry facility for the WWII Desert Training Center.
After lunch we traveled to the town of Essex and visited the old WWII site of Camp Clipper and Camp Essex, including the military airfield at Camp Essex. Diagrams and pictures of Camp Clipper were compared to the existing terrain today. The airfield was large enough to handle fighter aircraft and medium bombers that supported training operations at the Center. Camp Essex was a sanitation support facility mainly shower facilities and a supply siding on the railroad line.
The group continued traveling on Old Route 66 towards Needles, a short drive on I40 exiting to Highway 95 for a side trip to one of the East Mojave's many mysteries. The side trip went to the Ibex Mine which was very interesting in itself, but the mystery involved a building near the mine on what might be an old alignment of an unpaved segment of old National Trails Highway. This building looks very much like a cafe, but its location is well off the normal vehicle roads through the area. It is rumored that the building might have been moved to the area by person or persons unknown at sometime in the past.
Participants on the inbound trip who braved the intermittent wet weather were Leader, Dave (Big Bird) Given; Dana (Big Bird's pit crew and personal mechanic) Manjarrez; Bob (Lost Again)Peltzmann; and Sweep, Bob (Sir Bob) Rodemeyer. We arrived in Needles with everyone present and in time for the potluck.