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2021 Trip Report - Inbound from Turquoise Mountain to Goodsprings

Inbound from Turquoise Mountain to Goodsprings

By Joeso

From the top of Turquoise Mountain one can see just about forever. In the 1950’s AT&T took advantage of that fact when they constructed one of their “Long Lines” towers there. “Long Lines” was a coast-to-coast microwave link which carried most of our long distance telephone calls and television programs. Kennedy’s assassination and Nixon’s resignation were broadcast through Turquoise Mountain and “Long Lines” was in operation into the 1990’s, when it was gradually phased out with fiber optics. The military also had communication lines on Turquoise Mountain using a system called AUTOVON. During the Cold War of the 1960’s, these facilities were reinforced to withstand a nuclear attack and remain operational.

We were on Turquoise Mountain as part of our Inbound Trip for the 2021 DE Rendezvous in Pahrump. Our group had elected to take the old historic back roads to Pahrump. We’d met at Halloran Springs and checked out the spring and some petroglyphs nearby before heading toTurquoise Mountain. Our group was 16 strong and included Marian Johns, Sunny and Jean Hansen, Ed Jack, Bill and Julie Smith, David Hess, Bruce and Shelly Barnett, Pat Nelson, Mignon Slentz, Dean Linder, Dave Burdock, Ron Lipari, Sue Jaussaud and yours truly.

According to the late historian Dennis Casebier, the road from Halloran Springs to Francis Spring is one of the oldest in the Mojave Desert. Travelers from Los Angeles, who wanted to access the new gold fields in the Ivanpah and Good Springs areas, would follow the Mojave Road to Soda Spring then turn north to Halloran Springs and continue from there to the next good water at Francis Spring.

A few miles past Halloran Springs we left the really old road and followed the 1950’s paved road to the top of Turquoise Mountain. Later, after descending from Turquoise Mountain, we located what Casebier describes as the early auto road from Silver Lake (not the trendy community in Los Angeles but a small town that was about 8 miles north of where Baker is today) toward Salt Lake City and followed it a short ways. The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad (T&T) was constructed between 1905-07 and Silver Lake, being on the railroad line and the old Salt Lake wagon road, became the area focal point. What would become the town of Baker remained just a siding on the T&T until the new road (that would become I-15) was graded through Baker in 1925. Thus it seems that prior to 1925 the principal auto roadpassed Turquoise Mountain on its north side. After locating the old road, we followed it until it joined the Halloran Springs route just south of Francis Spring.

From Francis Spring we headed across Shadow Valley to Kelly Field, an intermediate airfield on the 1930’s airmail route between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. From the old airfield, we went over the Mesquite Mountains via Winter Pass to access the town of Sandy and the whimsical Ripley Cemetery. Our last destination, before heading to Pahrump and “happy hour”, was Goodsprings. The historic Goodsprings Saloon was creatively decorated for Halloween but sadly only open to patrons of the restaurant next door.

The final route to Pahrump over Wilson Pass was long, dusty and bumpy but I didn’t hear a single complaint. It was a great group. Thanks to all who came along.

~ Joeso


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