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2001 Trip Report - Calico Area

Calico Mine Area December 15, 2001
by Robb Anderson

When I woke up early Saturday morning, I was hoping that the weather was good for a trip out to the desert. I opened the window and was greeted by clear blue skies. Ana and I met Annie with her blue Jeep at Cajon Summit at 8:30 and continued on to the Barstow Museum to meet the rest of our crew at 9:30.

We arrived a few minutes early, so the three of us bought fuel at the Chevron station across the street. As I swiped my credit card at the pump, an exotic vehicle pulled up behind my 4Runner. It was a 1985 Mercedes Benz 280-GE Wagon! This had to be the vehicle Ana's friend and new member to the DE club had just purchased! And it was. Joe McCormick and Patty Heidman got out and greeted us, and in the same sentence, they said they didn't even know how to shift the darn thing into 4 wheel drive! I told them that this was to be an easy trip and that we should be able to figure it out. What I was thinking, was why do "they" always seem to show up on my trips? At least they were very enthusiastic.

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Across the street, we found Gordan Lohan and Jim Proffitt, patiently waiting for the sign in sheet and for the trip to begin. Alright, everybody who signed up for the trip is here on time, the sign in sheet is complete, all radios are working on channel 13, I am the lead and Ana is the sweep... LET'S GO!

As we lined up in order and started to pull out of the museum parking lot, there was this desparate cry for help on my CB. "My car won't start! Wait for me! My car won't start!"

Oh great, let me guess, the exotic Mercedes is broken right? Wrong! It was my sweep...yes, Ana's 4Runner was dead! "You know I'm gonna have to report this in the write-up don't you?" I laughed! She gave me an angry scowl as I dug out my battery cables. After getting my sweep running, we lined up again and we headed North on I-15 to Yermo.

We hopped off the pavement and onto a nice flat dirt road where we aired down and did the hubs and swaybar tango. We drove through the hills for several minutes and then admired the brilliant colors of the mineral deposits. The colors are so intense, that Artist's Pallet of Death Valley comes to mind.

I was glad that there was very little shooting going on where we drove. The sound of gun fire and sight of discarded ammo shells laying in the sand kinda takes away from the natural beauty of the desert environment.

Soon, we came to our first bump in the road where we actually needed 4 wheel drive. Jim's Toyota FJ-40 had a little trouble at first and so did Gordon's Bronco II, but a second attempt put the obstacle behind us. What about the Mercedes you ask? That thing crawled up the moguls like a billy goat! I guess Joe and Patty not only figured out how to shift into 4WD, but also how to use the front and rear lockers the 280-GE comes with! So much for beginners!!! They were becoming seasoned veterans in a hurry. The smiles on their faces told me they were having a great time too. We crawled up some more hills and down some rocky canyons. "The mines are just ahead along with lunch", I said over the radio.

A short steep hill covered with loose, no, very loose rocks lead us up to the longest of the mines we were to explore. This mine was approximately 700 yards to the end. Everyone came prepared with lights and we even found a lonely hibernating bat hanging from the ceiling! Very cool!

At the next stop, we ate lunch. Ana and Patty explored some of the mines there. We left shortly there after and were airing up and once again doing the hub and swaybar waltz. With lots of thank you's and more conversation, the pavement greeted us by 3:00 PM. I would like to thank all those participants on the trip for coming, especially Joe and Patty. The two of you did a fantastic job and I'm glad you had such a good time.   It really was a very good trip and I'm glad I had a part in it.