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Wandrin 2005

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by Lloyd Treichel





Dateline: November 22, 2005 -- Palm Springs, CA

Future Travel... Headed to San Diego.

Holbrook, AZ ... is on Old Route 66 where the Wigwam Motel can be found. Still in operation, the wigwams have beds. Sleeping on the ground is not required. With vintage cars from the 50s, the parking lot is a snapshot of the past.


Unusual RV... with Colorado plates was spotted driving through Arizona. The RV seemed to be a creation of a vintage 1930 auto and a bus of an indeterminate origin.


Rhyolite, NV... From the gold strike in 1904 to the closure of the post office in 1919, the town was a bustling city for a short time with a peak population of about 4000-8500 in 1905-1910. Foundations and walls for some buildings still exist. However, the only intact structures are the train depot and the bottle house. Since bricks were at a premium at the time of construction in 1908, Tom Kelly used bottles in the construction of this house.

Death Valley, CA...

Scotty's castle is located at the far north end of the park. Essentially built from mining the pockets of his close friend, Albert Johnson, this castle became a retreat for Johnson and his friends. Unfinished when building stopped in 1931, today it can be toured to hear of the lives of Scotty and Albert Johnson and see the desert castle with its original furnishings.
Within Death Valley, place names like Badwater, Devils Golf Course, Furnace Creek do not sound very attractive. Why go to this hot and desolate place. Because it is beautiful. I spotted a bumper sticker in the park that said it best: "Time is Art". Death Valley's beauty is the result of eons that it took to create the beautiful scenery found throughout the park.

In the two weeks that I was in the park, I explored a very small portion of this three million acre park

The Ubehebe Crater was active and formed about 700 years ago.
There are numerous slot canyons throughout the park. Some are wide enough to drive a vehicle through. This very narrow slot was found at Mosaic Canyon.
Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells
The content of various minerals give this scene its name: Artists Palette.
The salt flats at Badwater.
At 282 feet below sea level, this is the lowest point in the western hemisphere. The lowest point in the world is at the Dead Sea where it measures 1450 feet below sea level. As I stood here admiring the view, I was overjoyed that some land developer hadn't figured out how to turn this into beach front property.
This may look like a small grove of trees, but it is nothing more than some plants that measure about a foot in height. It reminded me of Midwest fall foliage.
There were pictures of twenty mule teams, but there were no teams to pull these original wagons to the railway about 100 miles south. No water on the trail also meant pulling a tanker with water for the mules.
Death Valley 49ers hold an annual bash the second weekend of November to celebrate the California gold seekers on their journey through Death Valley. Through the five days, there is musical entertainment, art competitions and parades.

After five days of riding and camping out at night on their way, about 100 horse back riders rode into camp to be greeted by the 49er celebrants. This rider was one of the few authentic looking cowboys -- at least by my mythological standard. (With the possible exception of his boots.)

Leaving Death Valley with one of the beautiful sunsets.


Camping round the world.... In my travels I have met many very interesting travelers. One of the more unusual were Dot and Jim Jones. They are on an eight year journey around the world when I met them at the SKP park in Pahrump, NV. They started their dream in Wales where they remodeled a city bus (including the right hand drive) into a camper. With their trail bikes loaded in the rear, they are prepared for local and off road explorations. Not only do they ride the bikes for pleasure, but Jim rides competitively (started 50 years ago) whenever there is a chance. Their web site: http://www.beady.com/roundtheworld/.

No sledding allowed....
Doesn't that look like people two people on a toboggan? Actually the stop sign is left over from a movie that was made where the terrain at China Ranch was a "stand in" for a Middle East location.


Laundry time... This is a date palm oasis at the China Ranch Date Farm near Tecopa, CA. The "laundry" covers clusters of dates to keep birds from doing date tastes. After a hike (a little exercise) a date shake is available. In addition, the store offers dates, baked goods and other unique gifts.

Note: Thanks to Betty Prange for the picture captions -- "No sledding" and "Laundry time."

Interesting people on the road... Speaking to an elderly gentleman, we chatted about many subjects. When I mentioned that I had once lived in Denver, he told me of his memory of Denver. His grandparents lived in Denver and while visiting there in 1939, his older brother took him (he was nine at the time) to a theater in Denver to see the latest film rage: "The Wizard of Oz".

A weak moment... I had stopped at Lake Meade National Recreation Area when I passed from Arizona to Nevada. I was hiking the nearby hills when I had the notion that this area might be a good place to stop for a couple of months. One thought lead to another and I had an application filled out to volunteer at Lake Meade. After evaluating the pros and cons about this momentous decision, I realized the biggest negative was committing to 32 hours a week out of my play schedule. The application went into the waste basket.

Hiking and Exercise... The best way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more. I can't seem to get either one correct.

Cinnamon Rolls...  Didn't look for any.

Vanity Plates...

SUNBURN -- on a yellow Corvette convertible

DZRTRAT -- on an SUV

HORCTOW -- pulls a horse trailer!


19THOL -- a 19th hole golfer


Some Latest Reads...

"Made In America" by Bill Bryson. The history of development of United States English from the Revolutionary War to present day, this book is filled with the origins of words and expressions that we use in our every day conversation. Told with humor and -- at times -- with anecdotes that have nothing to do with the subject of the book, it is a most delightful read.

"Alexander Hamilton" by Willard Sterne Randall. Although he is not given a whole lot of print when histories are written about the United States, Hamilton was very influential in the formation of the country's constitution, banking system and today's modern corporation. Well researched without being academic, it is a compelling read to the end while knowing that the hero dies in the closing chapter.

"Uncle Tungsten" by Oliver Sacks is a scientific memoir. His life is wrapped around chemicals, chemical experiments, photography and his fascination with the periodic table. The book may be memoir, but it is also an abbreviated history of chemistry and its pioneers.

"Travels With a Tangerine" by Tim Mackintosh-Smith. Ibn Buttatah, a native of Tangiers, traveled the mid-east and beyond over a period of 30 years in the middle of the 14th century. The author, an Arab scholar living in Yemen, on his own travel journey, visits some of those places that Ibn Buttatah visited to view changes that have occurred over 600 years in that Islamic world. Although told with some humor, for me it proved a difficult read due to the author's use of infrequently used English words, other foreign words, references to unfamiliar England locations and Arabic words and spellings.

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