Rondy Inbound Boron to Randsburg
By Sue Jaussaud
Our original plan was to lead this inbound trip as an exploratory, but when the number of participants went beyond 20, Bob and I could not imagine getting lost in front of that many people. We urgently needed to prerun the trip!
So bright and not so early on the Thursday before the Friday trip, we drove to Boron to begin our prerun. Skirting the huge Borax Mine tailings, we checked out 2 cinder quarries and some modern day ruins. Yawn. Things did become more interesting as we continued north, though. We found a long abandoned USAF radio site on a remote hilltop. There was a huge modern mural on one side of the building. Bob felt the vivacious young lady depicted riding a bomb looked a lot like Marian Johns.
Moving further north, we encountered the remains of a few homesteads and eventually located Castle Butte Well and more interesting art work. From the well we junctioned with 20 Mule Team Parkway and followed it to Galileo Hill.
There is a curious development on the north side of Galileo Hill named “Silver Saddle Ranch and Club”, complete with paved streets, landscaping, ponds, a petting zoo (are those llamas?), a golf course and a club house. It felt as if we had just entered a time warp. A lady at the reception desk was real enough, though, and graciously gave us permission to bring our group by the next day to use the restrooms. Silver Saddle Ranch was originally developed as a real estate venture by Nat Mendelson in the 1950’s. He was evidently hoping to create the next Los Angeles. The place has changed hands a number of times and has a colorful history.
We were starting to lose daylight, so Bob and I worked our way northeast on the Randsburg Mojave Road, took a quick look at the abandoned dwellings around the Blackhawk Mine, then skedaddled for our motel room in Ridgecrest.
It rained in Ridgecrest Thursday night, and the wind was howling the next morning. Heading south to meet our group in Boron, clouds of dust filled the air. Four wheeling in this stuff would be bad! Then inspiration struck. We had been told, by long time DE member David Mott, about a “20 Mule Team” mural at the abandoned prison north of Boron. No time like the present to check it out! We drove into the prison past many derelict, heavily graffitied buildings and finally located the mural, which was in surprisingly good shape. Our reaction was that everyone would enjoy seeing this and we needed to include it in the inbound. The beginning of “Plan B.”
Continuing our rush south on Highway 395, Bob remembered visiting a very cool antique collection in the old metal buildings at Kramer Junction. Arriving at the junction, we saw a side door was open and Bob dashed in to ask if it was possible to bring the group by. As luck would have it, the friendly owners, brothers Jim “Tinker” and Dennis Darr, were there and said the group would be welcome to visit. Another part of “Plan B” fell into place.
Pete and Janet Austin, Jim Watson and Linda Stevens, Dave Rehrer, Ron Lipari, Mike Vollmert, Mignon Slentz, Deb and Steve Marschke, Terry and Eileen Ogden, Bruce Barnett, Ellen Miller, Bill and Julie Smith, Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Glenn Shaw, Neal and Marian Johns were all waiting for us at the 20 Mule Team Museum in Boron. The weather was miserable and everyone was enthusiastic about our “Plan B.” Danny and Norma Siler, with their friend Paul, joined us for the first part of the trip.
We all drove back to Kramer Junction, to the huge private antique collection. It was great to see so many wonderful old things and be out of the wind and dust. After an interesting hour, Bob was Þnally able to pry folks away and our group
headed north to visit the prison and 20 Mule Team mural. The mural was done by the prison inmates sometime in the early 1980's. The Boron Prison was active from 1978 to 2000 and housed approximately 540 minimum security prisoners. The facility was originally established as a Radar Command Station in 1952. Thanks to David Mott for providing us with this information.
From the prison, we were able to resume the prerun route of the day before. Thanks are due to Ron and Mike for being a big help as "sweep" during the whole trip. Also thanks to our trip photographers:Vicki Hill, Janet Austin, Bill and Julie Smith. It was a good day with a great group of friends! ~ Sue