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| Joe DeKehoe & Deb Miller Marschke | Trip Reports

2009 Trip Report - Bristol Dry Lake

Bristol Dry Lake  “He said, She Said”

October 17 – 18, 2009

By Joe de Kehoe and Debbie Miller-Marschke

He said: Our group on this trip could not have been a more  likeable bunch of people – what a treat - and included a 12-vehicle convoy of  Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Marilyn Martin and her son Kevin, Mary and Charles  Hughes, Brett Henrich, Glenn Shaw, Steve and Deb Marschke, Mignon Slentz and her  friend Jenny, Bob Rodemeyer, Bob Jacoby, Nan Savage, Daniel Dick and Bobbie  Sanchez, Bob and Sue Jaussaud and Joe de Kehoe.

We met in the parking area in Ludlow on Saturday morning  under a cloudless sky and after a round of saying hi to old friends we headed  out on old Route 66 after taking a spin through Ludlow’s former Main Street,  past Murphy’s store, the site of the old post office on Main Street, Lee Yim’s  General Store, and the 2-block area of rubble that was once the town’s business  district. 

She said: Joe surprised us right off the bat when he passed  out bound folders containing photographs and supplementary educational materials  detailing our trip. Every vehicle got a copy to take home and enjoy! This was  really awesome, and I continue to look back over Joe’s materials now that the  trip is completed. Thanks Joe, you really do it with style!

He said: For the remainder of the morning we made stops at  Siberia, both the service station and the depot, Dish Hill volcano, Bagdad, the  calcium chloride mine on Bristol Dry Lake and arrived in Amboy for lunch about  12:30.  At this point we had only lost one car – at Siberia Mignon’s car lost  power, but she was able to restart it and limp into Ludlow with Sue and Bob  Jaussaud as escorts.  Mignon called a tow truck from Bullhead City and the  Jaussauds rejoined the group in Amboy.

She said: Every stop we made was a complete pleasure. Joe  took us to many places we were familiar with already, but he gave us a fresh  look and new information at every stop. Joe is a geologist by occupation, so he  wowed us with examples of the semi-precious gem Peridot at Dish Hill. He even  gave us geology sample bags to encourage our collecting!  Joe attracted some  “unintended celebrity” at Bagdad. We had stopped and were congregating at the  site of Bagdad when a mini-van rolled up. We heard a giddy woman exclaim “Oh,  look, it’s JOE!” .The side door flew open and out poured 5 spunky retired gals  who quickly surrounded Joe with admiration and ardor, much to his delight AND  horror (yes, both of these, I am not making this up). He had met the 5 sisters  the day before at the Route 66 Museum in Barstow, and they had bought Joe’s  book. The ladies were very fashionably dressed, and all of them included bright  lime green in their ensembles. As they continued their journey cross county to  Minnesota, they were reading Joe’s book and spotted our group. This scene was  absolutely hilarious, and Joe insisted that he was NOT a chick magnet! Further  down the road, we were all interested to learn that those turquoise blue pools  on Bristol Dry Lake were not just brine ponds, but a “pickle juice farm”. Del  Monte uses the liquid for their food products.

He said: After having lunch under the shade trees at Amboy  we backtracked slightly to drive through Amboy on the dirt road that was once  Route 66, past Mary Benjamin’s cottage and over to the church to see the mural  on the back wall that was painted by Paul Salopeck about 50 years ago.

She said: After the group had all entered the Amboy church  to admire the mural, we enjoyed a real enchanting treat. Marilyn Martin stood at  the rear of the church and sang Amazing Grace. The excellent acoustics and  Marilyn’s wonderful voice made us all pause in wonder. It is magical moments  like these on our DE trips that I will carry with me for my lifetime –  absolutely priceless.

He said: We drove out of Amboy on one of the early  alignments of Route 66, past the Amboy Cemetery, and rejoined National Trails  Highway at Saltus Road and stayed on the highway to about the Roadrunner Café  where we detoured north to get back on the earlier (pre-1918?) alignment of  Route 66.  We popped out at ‘North Chambless’ at what was once Mac McConnell’s  Eight Ball Ranch.  When Mac retired from working for Santa Fe at Cadiz he build  the Eight Ball Ranch out of railroad ties and stone cobbles, and his grounds  included a grape arbor, plants of all kinds, citrus trees and a swimming pool in  the shape of a figure eight.  The group enjoyed scrounging through the rubble in  the yard for a while before we pushed on east, through Chambless, to Cadiz  Summit, a brief stop at the roadside Kiosk and then to Danby.

She said: The flagpole at the Amboy cemetery had fallen  over. Unacceptable! Steve, Jaussaud, and Charles immediately repaired the  flagpole, refortifying it. At the Eight Ball Ranch, there was so much  interesting stuff that it seemed likely our group would never move along.  The  house was lovingly built with decorative flair using logs, local minerals, and  bottles in the walls. A charming place, indeed.

He said: We left pavement at this point as we turned south  on Danby Road and headed for Old Danby.  There are only two of the original  wooden miner’s shacks remaining in Old Danby, and one of them is very close to  collapse – several of the beams supporting the roof are badly cracked and are  unlikely to survive the next big wind storm. From Old Danby we headed south  toward Skeleton Pass and made camp in the pass on a large patch of desert  pavement the west side of the road. For a while it looked like Deb might win her  own contest to see who could remove the most mylar balloons from the desert, but  it seems Sue and Bob Jaussaud get the prize for having retrieved 5 of them! 

She said: Yes, it is a pet peeve of mine when I see those  mylar balloons defacing our desert. I have decided that, though I can’t pick up  all the trash I see, I can pick up all the balloons I see. The most I have  picked up in a weekend trip is 13!

He said: On Sunday morning we were on the road by 8:30.   The first stop was at the Rice-1 well, adjacent to Skeleton Pass Road.  From  there we went to the Black Metal Mine and, from a distance, viewed the site of  where the Old Woman Meteorite was found.  Time was running short so we elected  to bypass the Udsogn Mine and headed for Chubbuck.  We toured the town site for  a bit and then drove to the mine where we had lunch amidst the outcrops of white  marble.

She said: Again, Joe produced samples of the gemstone  Epidote that he had taken from the Udsogn Mine and passed them to us. What fun!  It was particularly interesting to stand below the impact site of the famous Old  Woman Meteorite while Joe described how the Marines removed it with a  helicopter. You can read that story 100 times, but it really comes to life on  location. It did not take Joe long to convince us that the impact canyon is more  work than it’s worth to climb up.

He said: From Chubbuck we headed north on Cadiz Road,  stopped briefly at the Archer, and arrived at Cadiz at about 2:00 pm.  Cadiz  road is in the worse shape any of us can remember.  A recent rain in the Ship  Mountains has turned sections of the road into a cobblestone wash.The tour ended  with farewells in Cadiz, everyone promising to see one another again on future  trips.

She said: We didn’t want this trip to end! Congratulations,  Joe, you educated and amazed us with your knowledge of this area. No wonder you  wrote a book on it!

Joe & Debbie