Two Day Rondy 2015 Inbound
|The folks on the two-day inbound trip met at the Barstow Harvey House bright and early Thursday morning. After the greetings and hugs, we headed out in the wrong direction and were immediately lost. Seems the leader’s GPS had decided to keep all the trip waypoints in some secret, unreadable cache. We were back in the dark ages, leading with a compass and a topo.|
After tossing the GPS out the window (not really, just metaphorically) we somehow managed to work our way out of Barstow in the right direction. Several wrong turns later, we actually found our first site, the elusive XB-70 crash site in the middle of nowhere. If you can choose between being good or lucky, definitely choose to be lucky. Our luck did improve and we managed to visit a rock house, an old mining camp complete with arrastra, two springs, an abandoned ranch, an abandoned airfield, a couple of rock tanks and Coolgardie. Our last stop for the day was for a group photo perched in an abandoned sailboat, again in the middle of no where. We camped Thursday night at a pretty little site near Black Canyon. Many thanks to the campers, and especially Ron Lipari, for a wonderful happy hour and potluck.
We left camp earlier than usual Friday morning so that we would have time to visit the Desert Research Institute, a remarkable place beyond my ability to describe here. Suffice it to say that it was hard to get everyone moving on again to meet up with the Friday trip participants at Hinkley. After donuts at Hinkley, we headed west through Harper Valley. Oh joy, the GPS was alive again! It led us down some hardly ever used roads to the site of the Howard Hughes Hanger on Harper Lake. After finding some artifacts from the D2 (Hughes’ experimental WWII plane) we moved on to the Harper Lake wildlife area, complete with duck pond. Next, we passed through the old town site of Lockhart which has been totally covered over by a massive solar facility. The now trusty GPS led us on to McDonald Well and a goldfish pond in that same old place we love, the middle of no where.
At McDonald Well, we met two friendly motorcycle riders. We encountered them again several times during the day and it was always great fun. They knew a lot about the Motorcycle Monument we visited above Bird Spring. We lunched at Earthscope before taking the wilderness corridor road through Grass Valley, where we saw the most spectacular wildflowers of the trip, including the rare Desert Candle. There still are a lot of remains at Blackwater Well on the Twenty Mule Team Route, where we ran out of time to explore. A few bumpy miles later we reached Johannesburg and followed Hwy 395 to Lone Pine, friends, camp and wine.