De Ja Vu?

My son invited me to camp with him and a group of his off road enthusiasts slash friends.  About seventeen people showed up and four or five RV trailers.  This OHV park is a huge piece of the Mojave desert wilderness known as Wagon Wheel in the BLM wilderness aka Spangler Hills.  It is about 30 miles South of Ridgecrest, CA.  and a little Southeast of Death Valley.  GPS: 35 33′57′North, 117 30′55′West

We left San Jose on Christmas Eve, December 24.  Talk about redundant, whew, Christmas Eve and Dec 24th.  Sorry.  My daughter drove her own car while my son Todd and his friends were driving big toy hauler rigs full of not Christmas toys but rather Off Road toys: dirt bikes, quads, and RZRs.  Christa arrived first, then me and then Todd.  We selected one campsite as it was dark and just need to land someplace.  The next day we scoped out the area and located a better place to park a group of RV trailers.  After settling in, the rest of the rigs started arriving and setting up.  

On Sunday, we discussed a OHV ride over hill and dale, to what was suppose to be a Ghost Town.  Boo, did Iscare you?  On Monday, we gathered around, saddled up our Reindeer (OHV's) and with the leader in sight, we took off for Randsburg, CA, about a 40 mile rond trip over only dirt trails.  We did this bundled up as much as we could as the temperature was ranging in the high fortys. You can also get to Randsburg by automobile but that's way too easy. ;=)

Randsburg is self proclaimed to be the worlds only "Living" Ghost Town.  I guess they never heard of the "oxymoron" their self named city creates, as well. Notice how they have recreated the ambiance of a "Ghost" town with a fluorescent "Open" sign and a poor paint job.  I did get an authentic dime bottle of "Black" Cherry soda circa 2015 and a two authentic nickel bags of peanuts for a paltry sum of $4.73.  A nice mid-day snack for sure but it didn't make me nostalgic, that's also for sure.

We hitched up our 9 dirt bikes, a Quadzilla and an RZR (also four wheeled) and strutted on into this wanna be authentic saloon to have a burger with frys (that's how they spelled fries back in the day) and a shot of Sasperilla.  The White House Saloon as pictured, was also well decorated by fluorescent's from the 21st sentury, er century and a fifty state flag of the USA.  

A side note; of our group of eleven machines, four of the dirt bikes were ridden by two wives and two teenage gurls.  Nobody arrived back in camp without making a dash for the shower.  A drawback of well traveled DIRT roads.  It sucks not be in the lead in a group ride like this.  Kind of like being a sled dog in that only the lead dog gets a view.

At least this store didn't have any modern attachments save for the outdoor electric light with conduit running on the outside.

This wasn't open so I don't know if it actually was a working "INN" or not.  Adorned with a bunch of antiques that had some apparent authenticity to them.

I can't tell you how many Cowboy movies I have seen where the cowboy is soaking in a tub, in the middle of a room, smoking a cigar with a naked lady pouring more hot water into the tub.  (I added the naked lady, The are really not shown in the movies. lol)

An old time gas pump similar to one I actually used in my errant youthful days, at our local family run store in Point Pleasant, CA.  First, you pumped the glass bowl full of gas, then you gravity fed as many gallons as you wanted to buy, into your tank.  The fish tank bowl had a measuring stick inside it with 1 gallon at the top and ten gallons at the bottom.  If you only wanted five gallons, you would stop at the five gallon mark, go back inside the store and then pay for 5 gallons x 17.6 cents.  Since I did odd farm jobs for $1.25 (minimum wage back then) per hour when I was 16, that 5 gallons cost me almost a full hour of work.  It's strange and peculiar to me, that five gallons of gas still costs approximately an hours worth of work, at the now minimum wage.

I was surprised that they didn't have a sign offering employment to a teenager to dust their display items.  Maybe the dust is part of the wanna be Ghost Town display ambiance.  

Old time insulators on the top shelf, the kind used on old telegraph lines running besides the railroad tracks, between railroad stations.  

In the real olden days, if the Indians wanted to mess with the Telegraph, they would cut the wire and then reattach the two ends with a piece of rawhide (leather). So, if you were a lineman trying to find and fix the break, you wouldn't be able to find it unless you were right underneath it.  Who said Indians didn't have a sense of humor? I would laugh to see them get shocked if they happened to cut the line while somebody was actually using the telegraph.  [... ---... (dot, dot, dot, dash ,dash,dash, dot, dot, dot) is SOS in morse code, the code they used on the telegraph.] 

As a kid, these insulators made great target practice for my six shot bolt action 22 rifle, as well.  They wouldn't break when hit but the bullet would ricochet off of it making all different kinds of Cowboy movie whistling noises.

Lift the lid, deposit your coin (usually a dime) then slide your selection to the release opening, and then pull your selection out.  Unattended vending!  Nineteen fiftys style.

A "Radio Flyer" wagon from the olden days.  Need any spare parts?  Or a rock to throw at a Coyote?

An ore car from the mining days of the almost "Ghost" town of Randsburg.

In spite of Randsburg's almost Ghost Town authenticity, it was still fun to have a OHV destination that was somewhat peculiar and interesting to descend on with all of our obnoxious Off Highway Vehicles (OHVs).  I have never, ever traveled that far in an OHV, so a new experience, even for me.  We crossed a couple of asphalt roads but the rest of the trip was over some really bone jarring, brain juggling, knarliest bumpy dusty dirt roads and trails that you can ever imagine.  Dirt roads and trails that Disney Land would have charged extra to travel over.  An "E" ticket ride, so to speak.

All the above photos were taken with a Canon EOS 5D MKii camera body, a wide angle zoom: 24-105mm L IS 1:4 USM lens and a 100-400mm telephoto lens.


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